Butthole Surfers / 400 Blows Rickshaw, Vancouver BC September 3

Butthole Surfers / 400 Blows Rickshaw, Vancouver BC September 3
Brains turned to mush both literally and figuratively at the Rickshaw. Hailing from LA, 400 Blows provided a dose of vitriol-laced punk sludge. The drum and guitar combo rocked hard, with singer Skot Alexander looking like John Belushi, wearing a puffy vest with his perspiring, cherubic face peering through Blues Brothers sunglasses. Alexander talked more than sang, leaving much to be desired from a frontman, but the band had something going for them: energy.

With the '80s pop aesthetic gripping the world over the past few years, it makes sense that the '80s pop backlash would also make a come back. Though Butthole Surfers haven't released an album in a decade, they still live up to their name and reputation. Seeing their show was, indeed, much like surfing a butthole, only with a the addition of graphic visuals like heads being ripped in half, limbs being cut off, unorthodox lobotomies, prolapses and eviscerations.

Not content to merely play their songs with vigour and skill, the band wore the Rickshaw down into a mosh-filled sweatbox with their heavy brand of perverse, paranoid psychedelic punk. Their visuals were an incessant barrage of money shots from all the greatest '70s and '80s horror and sci-fi films, laced with VHS and early computer effects, creating an assault on the senses and sensibilities that made focusing on the actual band nearly impossible.

Though Butthole Surfers may have been using similar visuals for many years, they still played like it was all on the line. Main man Gibby Haynes switched between vocals, saxophone and bullhorn, using effects with and on each to create one of the most distinctive parts of their sound, next to the razor-sharp guitar work of Paul Leary. But again, their skill was difficult to appreciate with such nauseating and unceasing gore flashing behind them at all times. Too much adrenochrome, man.