New York started falling off the radar for touring rock bands a long time ago, before this blog even existed. But once in awhile one of the really great ones comes to town, and that’s happening this Saturday night, Oct 1 when one of the world’s great horror surf groups, Beware the Danger of a Ghost Scorpion headlines at Otto’s at 11 PM. In case you haven’t spent much time in the East Village lately, bring your passport. The club was an early participant in the World Economic Forum digital ID scheme, and they use an ID scanner mercilessly. Digital scanners don’t work on passports…yet.
These sepulchral Scorpions’ latest album is a searing concert recording from The Worthern in Lowell, Massachusetts on July 28, 2017 and up at their Bandcamp page as a name-your-price download.
They open the show with the grimy, surprisingly bluesy twin guitar attack of Boris Frankenstein’s Nightmare, complete with trick ending. Then they hit their signature chromatic menace with Caught Dead – it isn’t long before one of the guitarists, who go by goofy stage names, starts shedding toxic sparks of tremolo-picking.
They ease their way into Texas Blood Money with a drifting, muted psychedelic interlude before they hit the song’s grim trail-riding theme. They mash up some Led Zep-style riffage around an evil snaky surf theme in Straight to Darkness, then blast their way through I’m Shy, which is anything but and has some tantalizing twin lead riffage.
As Hot As Hell, with its luscious web of chords and intricate counterpoint, is the best song in the set and underscores the level of craft in these guys’ songs: never mind the horror film shtick. The set’s next number, Red River Tombstone Hustle is sort of a syncopated pseudo-redneck Munsters Theme.
The masked foursome careen further off the rails in She’s Howlin’ over one of the snappier basslines in the set, with a twistedly sarcastic blues breakdown toward the end. They go back to a pretty unhinged noir bolero chordal intertwine in Planet Slime and follow with Haintmaker, a catchy pastiche of minor-key blues riffs awash in reverb and a little feedback. They close the show with a pretty desperately charging take of the the title track from their killer debut ep, The Legend of Goatman’s Bridge. Grab this macabre gem while you can.