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Sometime in the early 1990s, the Holy Terrors were playing at CBGB when an earnestly keyed-up Dee Dee Ramone stuck around and told the guys he loved their music. Dee Dee's reaction seems to have been widespread among those who witnessed the Holy Terrors in the flesh; by all accounts, they were really something else, especially when playing live.
Last Saturday at Churchill's was a good night to see what the fuss was all about. The Terrors reunited for one of their occasional, anticipated live shows around town. And for the first time since 2000, the band's original drummer, Interpol's Sam Fogarino, joined his old mates for an extraordinary evening of raw but intense virtuosity.
The guys took the stage around 1 a.m., while the PA was fittingly playing the New York Dolls classic "Trash." The substantial audience, which included local luminaries such as Rat Bastard and the Postmarks' Christopher Moll, began to gather around the tiny stage, awaiting that old live guitar Terrors' grind. The opener, "Mantovani," guided by Fogarino's bombastic drumming, simply rocked, and the energy only increased from there, with Dan Hosker's simmering guitar and Will Trev's ample bass making a fully realized sound collage. From the power and raw emotions of "Lisa's Last Word" to their quintessential anthem "Shine," the Terrors made it clear there's nothing nostalgic about these old songs, which sound as relevant today as they did back in 1993.
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No one seemed more aware of this fact than frontman Rob Elba, who gleefully chatted with the audience throughout the set. It was refreshing to watch the usually acerbic Elba genuinely smile and, of course, tease the crowd about its true motives for showing up. "How many are you here tonight 'cause you're Interpol fans?" he asked, pointing at some Interpol-looking kids standing by the front.
Happily, most folks in attendance were there to see the Terrors, and after finishing their last song, the brutally fast "Fixed," the guys left the stage with their reputations intact. Here's hoping there will be another reunion, as well as new recordings, very soon.