Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Best of the Horrible 

Five reasons to check out Now That's Class' annual noisefest

For noise aficionados, Horriblefest is more than just an underground music festival — it's almost a way of life. The four-day celebration returns to Now That's Class this week for its seventh outing. And it's not just Cleveland fans of punk, garage, and assorted other clatter that come to have their senses assaulted by more than two dozen bands: More and more people from all over the world are making the pilgrimage to the near-West Side club every year.

This year's lineup — which will play the club's stage as well as its parking lot and a wonderful Lakewood bowling alley, starting on Thursday — includes bands from Buffalo (Brown Sugar), Chicago (Claw Toe), Columbus (Cheater Slicks), Detroit (Easy Action), New Orleans (Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat), New York City (Liquor Store), Philadelphia (Watery Love), and, of course, Cleveland (Plain Dealers, Puffy Areolas, and Obnox, among others).

Fighting the urge to join in the spirit of the fest, we offer five not-so-horrible things some notable bands at this year's Horriblefest have done over the years.

Underground comic book great Daniel Clowes drew the cover of an early Cheater Slicks album. The garage-punk trio, originally from Boston, tapped Clowes — best known for Ghost World, which was made into a 2001 movie that introduced the indie world to Scarlett Johansson — for the cover of its second LP, 1991's Destination Lonely. It's typical Clowes, fraught with sweaty, sexual frustration — a perfect complement to the band's horned-up blasts of bluesy punk.

The Hookers were founded by a guy who used to play drums in Nashville Pussy. Adam Neal was in Kentucky cowpunk pioneers Nine Pound Hammer with Blaine Cartwright. When Cartwright left to form Nashville Pussy with his wife, Neal went with him. At the same time, Neal formed his own band, the Hookers, who play a scuzzier version of the hardcore punk that's usually kicking around Nashville Pussy's songs. Neal left Nashville Pussy before their buzz started.

Even though they've burned through 20 members in five years, LiveFastDie haven't missed a beat.Since 2007, these Stooges disciples have released a series of hard-to-find CDs, seven inches, and split singles on various labels. They've broken up a couple of times. And it seems like half of their native New Hampshire has played with them at one time or another. Through it all, songs like "Camero Shit the Bed" and "Fat Guy With an iPod" sound remarkably consistent.

Quintron, of Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat, invented the Drum Buddy. The music made by this performance-art duo falls somewhere between dance clubs and outer space. Guiding most of it is Quintron's light-activated invention, which is kinda like a percussion-minded theremin (Laurie Anderson and Wilco's Nels Cline are fans). The New Orleans Museum of Art even exhibited a few of them in 2010. Quintron's latest invention is a synthesizer played by the weather.

SQRM will headline a special afternoon show that includes balls, pins, and cues. The Massachusetts hardcore band tops a six-group bill at Mahall's Twenty Lanes at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Your $10 admission includes as much bowling and pool as you can cram into four hours. If that isn't enough incentive to get out before the sun goes down, SQRM's elusive singer, who now lives in California, is coming to town especially for this gig.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Andrea Bocelli @ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Kellen Erskine @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Louis C.K. @ Agora Theatre

    • Thu., Dec. 2

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation