Album Review

Nervous Gender – “Live At The Hong Kong Cafe ” – [Self Release]

Thurston Hunger   11/22/2006   A Library, CD

This bootleg gives a swift kick in the rear of today’s legions of
synth-punkers, by returning to the source of self-proclaimed “techno
punk” and quirkier than queer, geekier than genius Nervous Gender.
This took place at a sit-down restaurant back in 1979?’ Still despite
the murky fidelity and the occasional crowd chatter, this squirms
solidly. Sure the machiney drums sound sorta buried alive in dirt,
if not in “Mommy’s Chest” but the rough sound seems to only amplify
the overdriven quality of the synths; plus the vocals shared by
everyone feel even “shoutier.” I don’t think it is possible for punk
to have the confrontation and shock that it did back then (recall
records being burned!!), and I wonder if it is possible for musicans
to live so leanly on the margins of society. But this is more than a
time-capsule study, the songs are exuberant in their irritation, and
well just infectious. Frankly speaking, Phranc sounds in fine form as
part of the confusing, but never confused, Gender here. Sheesh, I
read online a disparaging re-printed review of Phranc’s guitar on
“What Can I Do”…add 27 years and it sounds tremendous to me. Also
“Diptheria” which comes with some stage chatter connecting Katherine
Hepburn, Chuck Berry and Dr. Toni Grant…eventually becomes super
infective. The synths, the sins, the attitudes!

-Thurston Hunger

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