Scatterbrain helps keep thrash out of the trash



By Steve Newton

I don’t go to a lot of thrash-metal gigs—the overall effect is just too monotonous and ugly-sounding for these ears weaned on the melodic hard-rock of the ’70s. But once in a while a band with a strong thrash element comes along which is also highly inventive and humorous, and New York’s Scatterbrain is one of those.

Its sound?

Imagine a twisted mix of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica, and you’d be on the right track.

Formed from the wreckage of the avant-garde crossover band Ludichrist, Scatterbrain (named after the Jeff Beck tune) recently released its debut album, Here Comes Trouble, which boasts an incredible array of heavy styles and primo musicianship.

At Club Soda on Monday (July 9) the band showed its comical side with hardcore-tinged tunes from the LP such as the first video/single “Don’t Call Me Dude”, and Cheech and Chong’s “Earache My Eye”.

Remember the last time you heard that one?

The band’s versatility came through on “Down with the Ship (Slight Return)”, which steals signature licks from Yes’s “Roundabout”, Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”, Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love”, and numerous Zeppelin tracks—not to mention the U.S. national anthem and the Porky Pig cartoon theme.

And guitarist Paul Neider proved himself a possible successor to the Satriani axe-wizard throne with a fret-melting revamping of Mozart’s “Sonata #3”.

Unfortunately the Club Soda crowd seemed more interested in itself than the band. “If you like us—cheer,” coaxed lead singer Tommy Christ. “If you don’t like us—boo. But don’t sit there!”

It’s too bad the Vancouver club-goers didn’t appreciate Scatterbrain more in an intimate setting, because I don’t expect the band to stay on the club circuit for long. The next time it hits town it might just be arena material.

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