Thee Hibachi Stranglers

The Circle Bar

February 13, 2004

Ever since El Matador lost its way and I started seeing their old talent booker hanging out at The Circle Bar, louder rock bands El Matador used to feature have been showing up at the more intimate and reserved Circle Bar. Baton Rougeís Frigg A Go-Go and Mobileís Thee Hibachi Strangler both destroyed the place with their loud sound and irreverent energy. It was funny to have an out of town band invade the bar without knowing the usual atmosphere, only to alienate and maybe even crash into people who were just looking to have a talk over some background music. When frenetic Thee Hibachi Stranglerís bassist Matt plunged into the crowd standing in front of the band on Friday night, it seemed he was sending a message: If you want to chat, donít sit in the front row of a rock and roll show.

Thee Hibachi Stranglerís played Hellbilly, for lack of a better word. Their fast, angry and anxious rock had a Texas country twang. Lead singer/guitarist Neilís movement from screaming to an Elvis/Jon Spencer-like mumbling and sneer paid homage to Big Blackís Steve Albini and Husker Duís Bob Mould. It made the music insane and out of control, but the sometimes jumping beat was kept tight and straightforward. It was reminiscent of punk and garage rock. Their three minute songs were inventive and well-structured. Neilís guitar solos were melodic, but they could move the sound into straight noise rock. Mattís swift note flourishes were also appreciated. The band was well-rehearsed, and they flew through their 10 plus song set in 45 minutes with only one break for a broken string.

When itís all said and done, like right now, Thee Hibachi Stranglerís played good, fast, and sweaty rock ní roll.

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