SAN FRANCISCO Seattle hard-rockers the Supersuckers brought an appropriately cheeky attitude Tuesday to their U.S. tour opener, reflecting the tongue-in-cheek title of their latest LP, The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll.
"We play rock 'n' roll for people who have embraced rock 'n' roll as their personal savior," singer/bassist Eddie Spaghetti said backstage after the show at Maritime Hall.
But at times during the band's raucous, country-tinged 45-minute set such as when Spaghetti said, "I wanna see a sea of middle fingers in the air!" and the audience obliged en masse it was hard to tell whether the guitar-driven four-piece was saving souls or sending them straight to hell.
Devil's-horn hand signs sometimes referred to as "the goat" were gleefully displayed in the audience, and songs such as "I Want the Drugs" (RealAudio excerpt) jokingly set out to strike fear in conservative parents' hearts.
While paying their tongue-in-cheek tribute to Satan, Spaghetti and bandmates Dan "Thunder" Bolton (guitar), the Heathman (guitar) and Dancing Eagle (drums) blasted through such songs as "Gone Gamblin' " looking as if they were in heaven. They still have sympathy for friends stuck in hellish situations, as "Going Back to Tucson" (RealAudio excerpt) attested.
Backstage, Spaghetti espoused some down-to-earth musical values. "I like simplicity and honesty," he said. "Words that mean something. A lot of people make music to fit into a genre, to make it marketable. I'm not into that."
The Gaza Strippers opened the show with a punishing set of juiced-up tunes. Singer/guitarist (and former Supersucker) Rick Sims shouted out send-ups of rock slogans: "It's good to be back in San Francisco, Colorado!"
During songs such as "Throttle Bottom" (RealAudio excerpt), from their album Laced Candy (1999), the hard-charging quartet sarcastically struck classic rocker poses, and guitarist Mike Hodgkiss (sporting a Kiss T-shirt) used cigarettes to create his own cloud of stage smoke. They ended their set with the ready-made rock goodbye: "San Francisco! We! Love! You!"
Prior to releasing The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll, the Supersuckers purveyed power-chord punk on such albums as 1995's The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers, which included the track "Bad Bad Bad" (RealAudio excerpt). In 1997 they took a left turn into country with the disc Must've Been High.
The quartet is scheduled to play the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, Calif., on Saturday (Oct. 23) and the Lava Lounge in Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday (Oct. 24) before they head to the Midwest for more dates, according to the band's official website (www.supersuckers.com).