Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Richmond, VA Rockers RPG


When it comes to metal the West Coast has the reputation of flash guitar, flash pots, and lots of hairspray, while the East Coast is slower, heavier, and louder. Richmond, Virginia’s RPG is the metal equivalent of a moonshiner’s stripped down transport car and no; RPG doesn’t stand for rednecks playing guitar. It’s from the military meaning rocket propelled grenade, an apt name for a group dealing in three chords, and two minute cloud of dust reductions. Watch out or you’ll get some sonic shrapnel in your ass.

RPG formed in 1999 deciding to play the kind of rock and roll they wanted to hear – really loud and simple songs. They’ve been touring the country ever since spreading a blue collar stoner work ethic touring with Zen Guerilla, GWAR, Orange Goblin, Bad Wizard, and long time friends Lamb Of God. They put out the CD Fulltime last year and it has been picked up by Arclight Records who are reissuing it along with a bonus disc DVD High Performance.

Reference points for Fulltime are the MC5, Stooges, Motorhead tempos and some Grand Funk Railroad thrown in for good measure – “Stand Still Blues” has that kind of good time party vibe. One of the best things RPG has going for it is the vocals of Matt Connor. He also plays guitar and became lead vocalist by default, and he gets by more on attitude instead of vocal chops. He slurs and drawls his way through the songs like he’s got a mouthful of chaw instead of the mouthful of gravel method so much preferred by so many metal acts these days.

Tony Brown plays bass with rock solid precision; a necessity for RPG’s punk pacing. John Partin joins Connor on the twin guitar Big Muff pedal fuzz assault. The group’s anchor is the Chief Michael Marunde who is an absolute beast on the barest minimum of drum kit. Marunde also is a highlight reel of his own in the High Performance DVD proving that the drummer is the craziest person in the band cliché is not dead.

Some highlights of Fulltime include “Untuck It” which reminds me a little of Texas metal band Young Heart Attack, “Paralyzed” since it shows that RPG do know that such a thing as dynamics exists, and “Early ‘72” with its AC/DC like riff which also features some sweet guitar licks doubling the melody of the song. The disc clocks in less than 30 minutes so nothing ever grows tiresome. It’s a punk metal ethos that is pure compared to the punk metal crossover sound from the late Eighties.

RPG is loud, long haired, and probably on drugs if the High Performance DVD is accurate. They play the kind of music mothers used to call dangerous back in my youth. It’s probably even more dangerous in today’s music scene of studio perfection pop and fake rebellion. The danger is that they rock. Be sure and go see them when they come to your town.

Spring tour dates:

MAR 19 S Austin, TX @ Headhunter's

MAR 20 S Little Rock, AK @ Juanita's Cantina Ballroom w/ ATP, RWAKE

MAR 21 M Birmingham, AL @ The Nick w/ ATP

MAR 22 T Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero w/ ATP

MAR 23 W Hickory, NC @ Wizard Saloon w/ ATP

MAR 24 R Greensboro, NC @ Ace's Basement w/ ATP

Thurs 21-Apr Columbus, OH The Revari Room

Friday 22-Apr Chicago, IL The Note

Sat 23-Apr Lawrence, KS

Sun 24-Apr Ft Collins, CO

Mon 25-Apr Denver, CO

Tues 26-Apr Salt Lake City, UT Burt's Tiki Lounge

Weds 27-Apr off

Thurs 28-Apr Seattle, WA The Catwalk Club

Friday 29-Apr Tacoma, WA Hell's Kitchen

Sat 30-Apr Portland, OR

Sun 1-May Arcata, CA 330 Club

Mon 2-May off

Tues 3-May San Francisco, CA Hemlock Tavern

Weds 4-May Glendale, CA The Scene

Thurs 5-May Los Angeles, CA 1269 Warehouse Party

Friday 6-May San Diego, CA Scolari's

Sat 7-May Phoenix, AZ

Sun 8-May Albuquerque, NM Atomic Cantina

Mon 9-May Denton, TX Rubbergloves

Tues 10-May San Antonio, TX Tacoland

Weds 11-May Austin, TX Emos

Thurs 12-May Houston, TX Rudyards

Friday 13-May New Orleans, LA

Sat 14-May Atlanta, GA Star Bar

No comments: