Rocket From The Crypt Fly High In Concert

SoCal punkabilly band drives crowd into frenzy.

SAN FRANCISCO -- John "Speedo" Reis of Rocket From The Crypt

played the role of a partying Pentecostal preacher Monday night at the band's

Great American Music Hall gig. Although he whipped the crowd into a righteous

frenzy, it was of the secular variety -- more good-time rock 'n' roll than old-time


Speedo, RFTC's lead singer, stayed true to his punkabilly calling. He pumped

his fists, clapped his hands and, as a matter of course, did everything in his

power to assure that the attending faithful were having a good time.

"Are you ready for the dance party? Are you ready for the dance party?"

bellowed Speedo in his gravelly tone, as the throng roared its assurance. "This

ain't about moshing. Right now, it's about shaking your fucking ass."

Touring to promote their fourth album, RFTC (to be released Tuesday),

the San Diego six-piece took the stage with trumpet player JC 2000, drummer

Atom, bassist Petey X, saxophonist Apollo 9 and guitarists Speedo and N.D., all

clad in shiny, maroon rayon button-down shirts and black pants.

As Speedo led the Rocket crew through "Dollar" from 1993's Circa: Now!

LP, the crowd jumped to attention, pogoing and pressing against the metal

barricade separating them from the stage.

RFTC have honed their raucous sound over the course of their previous three

albums. At the Music Hall, the sextet played new material such as


">"Break It Up" (RealAudio excerpt) and


"Lipstick" (RealAudio excerpt) that stretched further into the horn-heavy

territory hinted at on its last disc, 1995's Scream, Dracula, Scream!.

After blitzing through "Young Livers," Speedo again regaled the crowd. "Are you

with me right now? Are you with me right now?" he asked, goading the

enthusiastic bunch into rhythmic clapping that lasted well into the next song, a

blistering version of "Come See, Come Saw."

Chris Nisi, a 30-year-old food-wholesaler from Sunnyvale, Calif., made the trek

up to the city and spent a frantic night jostling around in the small but frenzied

mosh pit in front of the stage. He emerged with a T-shirt reduced to white,

ragged scraps.

"I think they're the most powerful rock 'n' roll band that ever plays in San

Francisco," Nisi said. "I like that Speedo sweats. Everybody's got the same shirt

on, but he doesn't wear a shirt underneath, and halfway through the show, he's

covered with sweat and his shirt turns black."

After Rocket From The Crypt finished their explosive set, a true Rocket rarity

occurred. The San Diego six returned for an encore, romping through "Don't

Darlene" (which featured Speedo lifting his guitar mid-song and spitting on it,

then continuing to play it with the drool running down onto his leg).

Then, it was "Glazed" and the show-closing "Killy Kill," before Speedo stepped

off the pulpit, leaving the flock to wait for the band's next time through.