Notes From The Past…”The Ringers @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa 4/13/2009″

In honor of the RIDICULOUSLY banging time that we had Saturday night courtesy of the Viper Room’s “10 Days in 2010” show series, Saturday night’s main attraction….THE RINGERS!!!

The Ringers @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa 4/13/09
Mayhem-lite ensues and I live to tell about it.

I have a confession to make: I was frightened. The kind of frightened that makes you question whether or not your health insurance covers self inflicted acts of mayhem. Do you know the California penal code definition of “mayhem”? I do. I know a lot and I also know that I don’t want to lose an earlobe or a piece of my lower lip just to fill a rock/punk jones and admire the ass of a guy in tight, low riding jeans three sizes smaller than what I wear.

Anyhoo, asses aside, it’s all about the music, it’s all about the art, and it’s all about the performance.

Bless those fucking Ringers, it’s all about the performance art of the music.

First: The Detroit Bar is a lot of things; it’s low brow, it’s in Costa Mesa and tucked inside of a strip mall walking distance from some rather satisfying after-hours tacos and donuts; it’s like the OC’s version of what used to be Safari Sam’s. To be honest, it’s a bit ghetto but that’s an integral part of its charm as a venue even if I am loath to put my elbows on the bar. The Detroit Bar’s vibe is so basic that nothing about the joint makes you feel uncomfortable or as if you require qualifications to be there. Just be there. Just be there when raucous musical shit goes down like a balls-to-the-wall performance by The Ringers, who are pulling residency duty at the Detroit Bar this month.

There’s no law that says that all of the good bands, regardless of media-induced genre labeling, come from LA; it’s just a factual statistic that many, many good bands live there because it’s prime real estate of “the scene”. The Stooges didn’t hail from LA but if in some shape or form they were to be reborn to the 00’s for the sole purpose of harnessing a new wave of raw rock power, they would be called The Ringers. How flipping appropriate.

Second: Am I supposed to take this shtick seriously? Everyone but the drummer is named Joe. The bass player sported a mullet and a sleeveless Valient Thorr t-shirt proudly, and I do mean proudly (when I saw him roaming the room earlier in the eve, I thought he must be kidding; he wasn’t). The singer has “Ringer” tattooed vertically on his serratus. Does the semi-stoned Nordic rock god-ness named “White Gold” pimping moo juice look familiar? Dear God, yes he does (he’s the star of those “Got Milk?” commercials that are the sheer essence of “Spinal Tap”) and if I didn’t know any better- which I don’t, so who’s to say- I’d swear that Jesse Hughes had an illegitimate half brother running amuck intent on shedding his inhibitions and taking yours with him.

Tonight’s performance artistry included Joe, the singer, manhandling a female, leading a male fan around by his pink tie, fending off imaginary beasts with a bar stool ala Siegfried & Roy, tossing a sweat soaked t-shirt over my head, and ripping off some loud and loose guitar chords to get in touch with his and your inner punk. At its heart are tales of filthy love, loud music, and good fun to encourage you to commit the act of partying and what The Ringers do, which is bound to garner repeat offenders show after show, is take the earnest thrash of a haphazard genre and float it out with hook after rocking hook. So even if blood is spilled or a tooth gets loosed, chances are you will have been clapping your hands and singing/yelling a catchy chorus right before it happened. “Scene You See” has an elementary bounce rescued by punches of Ramones-esque “Hey! Hey!” and yes, “Holy Zipper” is about wanting to get busy with what’s underneath a foxy nun’s habit. Not kidding, but it’s all a beautifully controlled madness even though they are notorious for their unpredictable stage shows (what will they wear, do and who will they do it to?) as Joe, the guitar guy, goes after some feedback while singer Joe struts, bellows, and shakes his tiny ass while marking the room as his animal playground. All of this feral and quite sweaty dramatic flair would be little more than shtick if the music were lacking but it’s not. The band is a tight outfit with loose swagger and energetic stomp filled rock. For exemplars, see their latest CD “Headlocks & Highkicks” which are two things you may either witness or wind up in at a show. The Ringers follow in some well worn footsteps as what they do has been done before and will surely be done again. Not everyone can be an innovator (and not everyone need be) but then not all innovators can rock their balls off like The Ringers can.

Said headlock

Enjoy the rest of their Monday night residency at the Detroit Bar through the month of April or catch them when they come to a city near you. It won’t hurt. Much. I promise.

The Ringers are: Joe Hursley (vox, guitar); Joe Robinson (lead guitar); Joe Stiteler (bass); Patrick Hursley (drums).

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