IC Noise goes to a pop-punk show

LIPSTICK HOMICIDE, w/ Shocktroopers: 5/12/2014 @ Gabe’s (Iowa City, IA)

Last night I listened to two similar-sounding bands for a free show on the bottom floor of Gabe’s: Local pop-punk trio Lipstick Homicide was the headliner, with a band called Shocktroopers (from Wyoming) opening the show.  A third band was listed on the flyer (The Dead God’s Concussion), but they didn’t show up for whatever reason.

Twenty years ago, the Green Day album Dookie became a hit.  I think the first song I heard from it was “Longview”, which had a really catchy bass line and lyrics that spoke to bored teenagers.  Eventually I got a chance to check out the whole album, but I found it to be extremely repetitive and formulaic.  I can’t remember if I even made it through the whole thing.  A couple years later, there was a tear in the space-time continuum that caused some people to like both throwback ska and swing music for a limited time, but that’s another story…

Anyway, why talk about Green Day now?  Judging from last night’s show, it seemed both bands were influenced by West Coast pop-punk music.  Both bands’ guitarists played all power chords when they weren’t playing occasional solos.  Bassists for both groups mostly stayed on the roots of the chords.  And both bands used the famous I-V-VI-IV chord progression that got so much mileage back in the ’90s (featured on Green Day’s “When I Come Around”, Bush’s “Glycerine” and Blink 182’s “Dammit”) and even in the ’80s (Misfits’ “I Want Your Skull” predates them all).  Last night’s bands both played their own versions of the “I-V-VI-IV” song last night.

The singer for Shocktroopers had a higher-pitched yelp to his voice that I thought was okay.  There were a couple moments when the rhythm broke down, but they were mostly solid throughout.

Lipstick Homicide features two ladies (guitar, bass) and a guy (drums).  The power went out on their second and third songs, which made me think of the last time this happened at a show I attended (L7 @ Hairy Mary’s in Des Moines back in 2000).  A lot of their songs relied on variations of the tonic, dominant and subdominant chords.  My favorite song of their set was one right before they played a cover song (not sure what it was).  The bassist was a little more adventurous on this particular song, too.  Other than that, I found the set to be pretty repetitive.

Pop-punk is not a musical style I really enjoy all that much, but I definitely wanted to check out Lipstick Homicide as others have been talking about this group lately…and there was no cover charge!  Also: The sound system for the bottom floor of Gabe’s is decent.

P.S. (Pain & Suffering): While doing research for this article, I rediscovered Vitamin C’s 2000 song “Graduation (Friends Forever)”, which does not use the I-V-VI-IV chord structure as I had incorrectly remembered (I hadn’t heard the song in a very long time), but actually rips off Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D.  I believe the sole purpose of it’s release was for the recording industry to take money from gullible upcoming high school graduates of that time period, and I submit this as a strong candidate for “worst pop song of all time”.


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