Live Reviews

The Rip Offs – Live

Wurlitzer Ballroom, Madrid

I’ll admit, I wasn’t too keyed up on The Rip Offs but some of my learned brother-in-arms advised that this San Francisco quartet is ‘legendary’ live. A bit of background research beforehand revealed that, after all amount of trials, tribulations and infighting, this is the bands first trip back to Europe with their original line-up in about 12years. I figured I better hot rail it down to the Wurlitzer, and see what the deal was.

And the deal was this; after a couple of so-so support bands, The Rip Offs stormed on to the stage and laid in to 60+ minutes of filthy and raw stripped to the bone Punk RocknRoll, as tight as it was chaotic, with relentless taunting and baiting of the rammed frenzied crowd… (“ya fuckin’ Mexicans” proving to be a popular refrain) It was the day before a long weekend in Madrid and the punters were up for it big style, with the insults flying thick and fast from either side. Tension and adrenaline was at a premium. At one point guitarist Shane White is dragged off the stage, there’s an altercation, and he furiously swings his guitar above his head, preparing to take someone out… in a flash bassist/frontman Greg Lowry steps in to calm things down before we get a blood soaked re-enactment of Sid Vicious at Randy’s Rodeo, San Antonio.

And talking of Greg Lowry, the sometime Zodiac Killer, a man who clearly has a ‘thing’ for serial murderers, does have something of the night about him too, looks about as creepy as a guy dressed in black wearing a stocking mask over his head can do. On the far side of the stage from where I’m checking out the action is guitarist Jon Von, still going hard at it. I’ve not seen him play since Mr T Experience played at The George Robey, London Town back in the 1900’s. And holding it down at the rear, the grinning Shane White beats the “worst drum kit he’s ever played” to a pulp.

Equipment is broken, bottles are smashed, much beer is spat, spilt ‘n swallowed… and after 2 encores The Rip Offs finally depart having well and truly destroyed Madrid. It was a total blast. So, yeah, go on then… Legendary!

Pete Craven