Fast, furious, and funny as all hell, Darkbuster aren't just the winning punk act of this poll, they're one of the best live bands in town. And well-oiled guitarist Lenny Lashley, who almost lost his playing ability this year to a serious on-the-job accident that damaged his hand, is a classic frontman - half mad genius, half entertainment pro. "We don't fit in with the dedicated punk cats," Lashley told me last year when I met the band for beers at the Cambridgeport Saloon. "We're not gonna tell you who to vote for, what to think politically. You won't catch us beating our chests. We might play a song inspired by the sound of early hardcore or the Ramones, who are a big influence, but we also slow it down and play a ska tune with a nice vocal melody. We take our influences from everybody, from the Clash to Van Halen, and we don't care what anybody thinks about it."
Their latest album, A Weakness for Spirits, runs that stylistic gamut. There's the smooth-ass ballad "Rudy" and the dead-on catchy "Cell Phone," as well as the blustering howler "Balls the Size of Cantaloupes" and "Grandma Was a Nazi," inspired by a picture of Hitler on the wall in a portrait of a buddy's German granny. But slipping through the cracks of the punk scene won't stop 'em. Certainly not if bruised spines and fractures and cuts already haven't. And despite a diet of tequila, gin, beer, whiskey, and just about every other liquor, their livers still keep pumping.