September 2, 2005
By: Team Goon forum leader Buzzweenie

© Skate Scene Media

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This was a very special show, as it was a one and only lifetime chance to see and hear Castration Squad play a reunion show in tribute to the 25th anniversary of death rock (punk rock with a doom and gloom theme). To make it even more special, Castration Squad printed up custom made program books with lyrics to all the songs for the show along with handmade armbands to commemorate the evening.

After what seemed an extremely long wait, Castration Squad gleefully appeared on stage wearing all black clothing adorned with red Castration Squad armbands that were custom made by Alice Bag herself. With the exception of lead vocalist, Shannon Wilhelm, who sadly passed away, all original members of Castration Squad were present for this very special event.

Present members, Mary Bat Thing (aka Dinah Cancer) took over lead vocals for Shannon Wilhelm, Tiffany Kennedy played bass guitar, Tracy Lea on lead and rhythm guitar, Alice Bag handling  keyboards, and Lisafer (45 Grave) sat in on drums. This was the first and last time in 20 years that Castration Squad ever played or will play live again. Mary Bat Thing started the show by reading the Castration Squad manifesto and giving a memorial tribute to Shannon Wilhelm. The girls immediately launched into “Cadaver Dog”, and then went straight into “No Mercy”.

Every song featured an overhead video screen displaying the song title along with various images, pictures and related themes. Next was a song called “Piece of Me”, after which they launched into the dark and eerie “A Weigh About You”. The group played confidently with a hard driving bass and melodic keyboards, which added nice little touches to every number. After this we were treated to the heavy throb of “A Date with Jack”, which was a song about having a date with a dead President by the name of John F. Kennedy. Next was “Sheila”, a song which incorporated several elements of heavy, slow and fast tempos, melodies and rhythms. Lastly, the group capped the show by playing the death rock party themed “Bat Thing”, which was a dark and humorous tribute to the old Troggs song, “Wild Thing”.

A total of seven songs were played for the audience. I was in awe as I had felt that I just witnessed punk history in the making. This will never happen or be repeated again. After the show, I asked Alice Bag if Castration Squad had any plans of reuniting for shows in the near future. She responded to me with only one word…“Never”. I sincerely wished more people could have come out to witness this very special show. It was truly something that will be forever burned in my mind until the day I die.  As a special treat, the Team Goon editor gave me an original set list from the show. Thanks, I will always remember your thoughtfulness.

                                                           Skateboard mailorder for the independents!

Next was Voodoo Church, a death rock band from 1982 who has played with such bands as the Super Heroines and Thee Undertakers in the early days of L.A. punk.  They played bottom heavy death rock music that churned along at a pile driver pace. Many in the audience present were familiar with several of their songs. The group wore all black while the bass player had on full white skull make-up along with a long black leather coat and boots. Original vocalist, Tina Winters, wore a black vinyl full length dress. The stage was adorned with various candles and crosses that glowed with the “Voodoo Church” name. I was impressed by this band and would have purchased a CD if they had one for sale at the merch table.

45 Grave took the stage with a ferocity that I have never witnessed or heard before. They played hard, fast punk rock with their usual dose of death and horror imagery. They played several songs including “Dream Hits”, “45 Grave” “Procession” “Riboflavin” “Surf Bat” “Phantoms” “Wax” and “Black Cross’.

The pit was a full on slam frenzy with people getting knocked down, including one guy who had his mouth busted open and another who had his piercing ripped out of his ear. A little blood didn’t bother these guys though. They enjoyed the music which was all that mattered that night.

At the end of the set, Mike the drummer starts to throw all of his drums off the drum riser and then heads for the audience for a dive. Mike is super stoked to be playing with this band and does a killer job on drums. We can only suspect that he was just over the top haveing played one of the best 45 Grave shows to date.

Eva O is a living legend who has a long history in punk beginning with the Speed Queens, Super Heroines, Christian Death and Shadow Project. She has now evolved as a solo artist. In addition to being a singer, she is an exceptional guitarist who plays with a unique heavy slab of music that actually vibrated throughout my body. Her vocal style was operatic and deathly beautiful with a power and intensity that is unmatched. I had never seen her before and was totally in awe at what I had witnessed. I looked around the audience and saw faces staring in awe at what I can only describe as mind boggling. Midway through the set an eerie figure adorned with a death mask and cloak walked slowly out to the stage and presented Eva with a tray of apples. She proceeded to pull people from the audience and stuff the apples in their mouths. The apples were filled with a blood like liquid which she jammed in their approving open mouths, resulting in a mess of spilled blood and bodies all over the stage. The stage was all out mayhem as people attempted to get on stage so that Eva could feed the bloody apples to them. After this she played an intense barrage of metal tinged death rock that left me reeling. She then left the stage amidst a wall of distortion and noise created by the bass player and drummer. The audience was left standing in utter amazement at what they had just witnessed. I too left the Key Club with the knowledge that I had just witnessed one of the greatest punk spectacles of all time history.

Remember what Castration Squad said…miss this show and die!

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