It was a night of glam and slam on stage this past Wednesday as two of punk rock’s founding fathers showcased their new creation, Batusis, at the Beachland Ballroom. Despite the deaths of Dolls greats Arthur Killer Kane and Johnny Thunders, and the Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators, the surviving leaders of those two bands are more than alive and kicking as they paid homage to their fallen comrades.
Legendary Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome and New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain showed why they are still rocking three-plus decades later. The two were joined by onetime Cult drummer Lez Warner and Joan Jett bassist Sean Koos, performing a mixture of old punk classics along with all four songs from the debut Batusis release during a raucous hour-plus set.
Chrome, known for his buzz-saw guitar attacks and carrot-top appearance, looked even more menacing than the old days with his chrome dome, while Sylvain sported his funky hat and neckerchief with glam flare. Most important, despite only having been touring for a few weeks, the set came off for the most part very tight despite a lackadaisical response from the audience.
From the Bastusis EP, Sylvain sang the more streetwise NY Doll-esque “What You Lack in Brains” while Chrome offered up vengeful vocals on “Bury You Alive”. The other two EP cuts, both instrumentals (“Blues Theme” and “Big Cat Stomp”) gave the two guitarists the opportunity to spotlight their veteran guitar chops.
Sylvain also sang Dolls’ classics “Trash”, Jetyboy” and the Johnny Thunders’ “I Wanna Be Loved” and Chrome sang the punk anthem “Sonic Reducer”. For an encore, the band performed the Batman Theme punk style where the birth of the Batusi dance began.
In all, Batusis is a formidable rock supergroup that has a wealth of old punk classics to pull from, and their upcoming debut full-length release should further that rebirth of raw, unbridled brash punk music. They could most assuredly teach today’s alternative bands a thing or two.