WINDY CITY TIMES
||MUSIC Bent Nights
by Vern Hester
This article shared 2052 times since Wed Oct 8, 2003
Turbanegro at the Metro, Sept. 23
To be fair, I walked into this one without a clue. Though Turbanegro has been around for 10 years, I'd never heard of them. Fronted by one Hank Van Helvette, the band, a mostly gay sextet from Denmark, is a thrashing amalgam of crunchy noise and sex. Everything great rock and roll should be, but with a difference. Van Helvette is a bear, a big sloppy jolly bear, none of that 'Queer Eye' froth. By the time the band roared into their third song, he stripped off his shirt and let his gut hang. Pretty? Depends on your taste. Galvanizing? Without a doubt.
Touring behind their new Scandinavian Leather, Turbanegro is, according to their Web site, 'Dangerous gay rock performed by dangerous dudes.' Van Helvette may be plump but the rest of the band ( Happy Tom on bass, Euroboy and Rune Rebellion on guitars ) are whip thin and pretty with a sprinkle of glitter on their faces. But this wasn't retro glamit was furious metal at a fevered clip. Turbanegro is the sound of a thousand industrial toilets flushing in concert. Which is why the mostly straight crowd ate them up.
Van Helvette has a lot to do with it. His between-song patter gave the show charm. Whether commenting on the Cubs or 'those silly Sox' or deprecating his girth ( he blamed Hurricane Isabel's aftershock on his 'wide ass swimming' to these shores ) he played his queerness as an enchanted jab. With that accent of his, his ramblings just got sillier by the minute. But his patter had the charm of a seasoned drag queen and his accent gave him a distinctly personable bent. The result: a showman who was glib enough to crack wise without being nelly or grating. Or to put it politely, pleasantly queer.
Musically Turbanegro is anything but polite. Introducing 'Sell Your Body ( to the Night ) ' as a prescription for America's economic ills, the group charged into a high-octane assault full of gnarled guitars and vicious backbeats. Van Helvette, despite his charm, has a great metal voice somewhere between Steve Tyler and Alice Cooper. With him as cheerleader, 'Gimme Some' and 'Get it On' reached ecstatic levels of glass-shredding fury. 'Good Head' was the best of all worlds. Brutal and catchy, it would make a great AM single ( the irony of course is that it will never be an AM single ) , dripping with porno swagger and high-octane raving. Who says glam metal is dead?
This article shared 2052 times since Wed Oct 8, 2003
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