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Murder Weapon, Werewolves on Wheels, Lead Stiletto

Music seen, Geno's, August 28, 2008
By DAN CLARK  |  September 5, 2008

Geno’s, long known for being Portland’s home for original — and local — rock, served up three distinct varieties of rock and/or roll, with mid-coasters The Murder Weapon, Lewistonites Werewolves on Wheels, and Portland’s own Lead Stiletto. Despite a thin crowd, each band was in fine form. The Murder Weapon even attempted some audience participation via a retro-clad go-go dancer, but, alas, there were no takers on her offer to cut the proverbial rug.

Undaunted, Lead Stiletto took the stage with a unique brand of bluesy doom rock (think ZZ Top meets Black Sabbath and you’re nearly there) with the added twist of an all-female lineup, a feature sorely lacking in rock music today. Their sound is anchored by the hyperkinetic drumming of former Sinferno beat-keeper Brandye Devine and the boozy wail of vocalist Rachel Henthorn. Caitlin Landau’s catchy riffs and raspy slide tone were somewhat buried in the mix by Jamie Gore’s thunderous bass, but the hooks still shone through. Just in their first year, look for Lead Stiletto to make a big mark on the local scene.

Werewolves on Wheels take their name from a 1971 B-movie about bikers, Satanists, and, well, werewolves, and their sound reflects that genre. Gristly punk tunes about fast rides and faster women, filtered through an R&B swagger, and delivered with reckless abandon were on tap for their high-energy set. Songs like “Black Charger” and “Devil Dinosaur” got fists pumping and heads banging, and they even threw in a cover of The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach,” much to the crowd’s delight.

From 1971, we dial the Wayback Machine to the ’50s, where power-trio The Murder Weapon find the core of their sound. Psychobilly is the name of their game: fleet-fingered rockabilly played with punk’s ferocity and volume. Even with the aforementioned go-go dancer, it was bassist D. Murder’s doghouse theatrics that stole the show. Watching someone stand on his garishly painted upright, swing it through the air, and twirl it on the floor all while pummeling the strings is truly a sight to behold.

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