When the clock struck midnight at the Beachland Ballroom, a new year began as a career ended. Beachland co-owner Mark Leddy led a countdown to 2003, then the New Bomb Turks tore through their final numbers as a band, closing their farewell show with the chestnut "Crying in the Beer of a Drunk Man." Through it all, Turks frontman Eric Davidson was in fine form, snatching people's glasses from their faces, stuffing baseball hats down his pants, and wagging his tongue as if it were on fire. Soaked in sweat, beer, and champagne, the Turks were dangerously electric, tearing through scorchers like "Point A to Point Blank," "Dress Up the Naked Truth," and "Defiled" with authority. With the cocksure Davidson perpetually sucking in his cheeks and puffing out his lips, strutting enough to make Iceberg Slim proud, the man looked like Mick Jagger on Botox and Budweiser. Drummer Sam Brown was equally expressive, pounding his kit with rubber face and arms, while guitarist Jim Weber and bassist Matt Reber slobbered enough riffs to drown most of their peers. The crowd responded by hurling beers, stagediving, and bellowing for an encore. The Turks obliged, then stalked off the stage quietly, offering a fitting contrast to a legacy as loud as almost any American punk band.
After landing a slot on Malt Soda Records' killer D.R.I. tribute last year, Cleveland hardcore favorites Victory Flag have contributed a cut to Transparent Records' "Mechanized Death," a double 7-inch tribute to the mighty Accused. One of the most underrated metal/punk bands of the '80s, the Seattle band brought the underground to new levels of sickness, severity, and sarcasm. The Flag tackles the seething "Deception," a track it laid down some time ago; it's finally available at www.transparentrecords.com.
For headbangers, this summer should be hot as Gwar's stage gear, based on the early lineups for two area rock fests. First up is the fifth installment of the annual stoner-rock bacchanalia Emissions From the Monolith, held over Memorial Day weekend at the Nyabinghi Dance Hall in Youngstown. Always one of the most fun, ferocious events of the year, Emissions boasts Alabama Thunder Pussy, Halfway to Gone, Stinking Lizavetta, Disengage, Keelhaul, and more than 30 others. Also in the works is the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles Six Pack Weekend, to be held June 13 and 14 at the Odeon. According to Blabbermouth.net, reunited doom-metal forebears Trouble have been confirmed, as have Swedish avant-death pioneers Hypocrisy, Canadian hyperblast fiends Kataklysm, Wolf, Elegy, and Beyond the Embrace. More acts are forthcoming, as is a serious beatdown from this promising fest.
Local rockers Dirt are in talks with Elektra and Wind-up Records. The band is also in contention to land a cut on the upcoming soundtrack for the WB show Smallville.
Cleveland pop-punk champs the Unknown are finishing up work on their latest effort, Radio Lied to Me, due out this year on Boss Tuneage Records. The band recorded at Closer Look Studios with the help of producer Tommy Rich.