DS Show Review & Gallery: Heet Deth, Lollygagger, The Cult of SpaceSkull, and Hail Alien in Chicago (01.13.2023)

Liar’s Club, on Friday the 13th, brought the heat of Heet Deth, the acidic humor of Lollygagger, the spooky drama of The Cult of SpaceSkull; and in place of Hail Satan, it was Hail Alien. All of this added up to an entertaining way to spend a few hours on a crisp winter evening.

Heet Deth returned to Liar’s Club as headliners. We were excited to first introduce the duo to our readers last year. Julia Bards and Laila Eskin were dressed in their uniforms of red overalls with the band’s name slashed in white across the back. The black and red grease paint on their faces rendered them looking like slightly less deranged first cousins of the late Heath Ledger’s The Joker from The Dark Knight. Different color scheme but similar mood. In the case of Heet Deth, they don’t want the world to burn, just the stage on which they perform. And burn up the stage, they did. Blasting through its set, Heet Deth gave the crowd not just a visual wow, but an auditory one as well. The band directs its anger at those who put profits over people and the environment. In “Bootlicker” the band addresses those supporting politicians caging kids:

How’s this for progress? I’ll set the stage We’ll flip the script, throw you in there How you think you’re gonna like it Bootlicker.”

Borrowing from cinematic history to make a point in “Planet of the Apes“:

We’re not here to be put in our place

To praise the demagogues of a fascist state

Here is just one solution, reverse the institution

There is no master race This is the planet of the apes

The group’s set also included “Blood,” “Big Bang Boom,” and “We Should Have a Party.” Heet Deth pulls no punches and the ferocity of its music and performances stick with you for days. Put this band in your ears, in front of your eyes, and on your “must see list.” Or for some, your “must see again” list.

Speaking of flames, Lollygagger’s fiery performance got pulses racing. Matthew Muffin, Kinsey Ring, and Michael Sunnycide tore up the stage with abandon. Sunnycide, as he typically does whilst drumming for Lollygagger, was sporting a leather chest harness and ball gag. This added a bit of cheekiness to their time on stage. A few days post-show, Sunnycide revealed to me the inspiration for the getup:

The chest harness and ball gag is just for fun. Because the band name is Lollygagger, the ball gag is quite literally and figuratively a gag. Just embracing my inner Judas Priest.

But simply being humorous is not all there is to Lollygagger. The band members suffer no fools. In fact, they name the fools out loud. One of the biggest fools of all being Roger Stone, the infamous Republican political consultant who would fit well in Dick Tracy’s Rogues Gallery. Stone served no time for his 2019 felony convictions for witness tampering, obstructing an official proceeding, and making false statements to Congress due to being pardoned after commutation by his crony, the twice impeached ex-president, Donald Trump. In “Stone.” Lollygagger rails against the over the top real-life character who, yes, does in fact, have the visage of another impeached, ex-president inked on his back. That being Richard Nixon of course.

Disinformation and American Pride
The shortest ladder to the top of the slide,
You slide down to the bottom then you’ll be back at the top again
A little bit of this and yea a little bit that,
A little bit of shit and yea a little bit of scat,
There’s more than one way to disembowel the American cat

The band also blasted through “Sick Semper,” “My Boss is a Dick,” and “Mighty Methuselah’s Salami.”

However, it was the first song of Lollygagger’s set that lit the fuse. “Liar’s Club,” is a tribute to the very venue in which this event took place. Those who know about the legendary West Fullerton Ave dive bar will know immediately to whom the song refers:

Fashion annihilation!

Your pretty face will be crushed by Gary’s leopard boots

Lipstick and Leather

you know that I know that this place it just fucking rules”

Liar’s Club manager Gary Kessler and his epic shoe collection rule as indeed does the venue and Lollygagger itself. Check them all out ASAP.

If there is a punk rock version of LARPing [Live Action Role Playing], The Cult of SpaceSkull can surely be described at doing that. That’s not a bad thing. This band, from Detroit, is horror punk, with a dash of performance art. The band “characters” go by stage names. Led by Red Witch on vocals, the rest of the band members were almost fully covered by long red hooded robes and corpse face masks, bringing to mind demonic Monks. But there’s more, as in sword fighting, an inflatable black and white skeleton tube man, and an unnamed red and black glitter-covered creature. In addition, Red Witch has a nemesis who tries to destroy her. The troupe ran through a set which included, “Fucked Up,” “Red Bitch,” “SpaceSkull, and “Satan’s Slut.” Red Witch told me, post-show, that they often change up characters and storylines but for this event the arch nemesis dress all in black, was known as Beserker. It’s a unique experience to say the least.

Hail Alien, from Metro Detroit, kicked off the show with a kinetic performance. Spencer Rogers and Sean Tarolli’s solid set got the crowd revved up for a terrific night of music.

SPECIAL NOTE: Heet Deth has yet another reason to celebrate. The duo is nominated for best rock band in Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago 2022 poll.

Dying Scene readers will recognize several other nominees in various categories. Reigning champ for best Dive Bar, Liar’s Club is, again, nominated for that category. Gary Kessler, the manager of Liar’s Club, the king of cool, and owner of an epically fabulous shoe collection is reigning champ for Best Music Venue Bartender, and, again, nominated in that category (Ok, I am a bit biased. Liar’s Club has been my “home bar” here in Chicago for most of my coming up on 14 years (!?!?) here after all). Lastly, Chicago punk/post-punk legends Naked Raygun, veterans of DS coverage, including an extensive interview I conducted with founder/lead singer Jeff Pezzati a few years back, the reigning champ for best punk band is, again, nominated in that category. And of course best musical festival reigning champ is Riot Fest, which our team Chicago has covered extensively for several years is, once again, nominated in that category. But there are quite a few other DS covered nominees in musicians, venues, festivals and more, we have not mentioned here as well. So please check it out the link above and vote for your faves, whoever they may be, or just use it as a visitor’s guide to the Windy City.

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Check out more photos from the show below

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