Rock City Morgue

One Eyed Jack's

September 11, 2004

I’m not surprised Rock City Morgue is opening for The Cramps Sept. 29th at The House of Blues. They didn’t have The Cramps’ comic book look Saturday night at One Eyed Jack’s, but they possessed the same punk approach, sideways grin, and cinematic/kitschy feel. Rock City Morgue was fun. They presented themselves as dead people sent from the grave to rock, and it was really just a matter of the audience playing along or not. They played along. The music was too good not to.

Bassist Sean Yseult was believable with her customized coffin-shaped guitar, platinum blonde head-banging, and nihilistic death stare. Ditto for guitarist Johnny Brashear, who stood stoic with a similar zombie stare. Don’t forget his black eye make-up and suit. The master of theatrics last night was vocalist Rik Slave, who sported a tight tuxedo and sung through an old-school microphone. Slave shook and rubbed his face anxiously, swiping sweat from his face with a red handkerchief every once and a while. At one point, he did some old-timey dances for no reason. The audience laughed, and Slave couldn’t help but break out a smile. Then there was drummer Keith Hajjar, who kept the band tight.

For most of their songs, they definitely had a punk sound, but Brashear’s high-pitched wails showed their metal influence. Yseult and Hajjar were spot on with one another, and they created a rock hard groove. The band’s sense of melody was more important than their connection, though. These were not dumb rock songs. When the band went into ¾ time, their swing was accompanied by Slave’s croon. He had a clear and mighty voice. Yseult switched to synthesizer as the band slowed things down for two songs. Her work on the keys gave the music a creepiness the faster songs couldn’t. Then again, if I didn’t get past the fact Slave was singing about his lover’s blood on his body as one of his lyrical subjects, the keys probably wouldn’t have bothered me.

The crowd loved the band. One guy tried to start a circle mosh pit at one point. No takers.

Yseult and Slave, both native New Orleanians, formed the band in 2002. They’ve released two EP’s, and they’ve finished pre-production on their first album. They will be recording in October at Balance Studios with Daniel Rey and J. Yuenger. See them with The Cramps or at Voodoo Fest.

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