Rocket From the Crypt opened their über-secret reunion show on Sunday night at Bar Pink in San Diego with the instrumental “Pushed” from 1995’s Hot Charity – and they continued to push throughout the night.
The group (singer-guitarist John “Speedo” Reis, guitarist Andy “ND” Stamets, bassist Pete “Petey X” Reichert, saxophonist Paul “Apollo 9” O’Beirne, trumpet player Jason “JC2000” Crane and drummer Mario “Ruby Mars” Rubalcaba) pummeled the 150 people in attendance with a fierce 80-minute set of material that spanned most of the band’s catalog. (Only selections from 1991’s Paint as a Fragrance didn’t make the list.) It was a widely anticipated show; other than reuniting in October 2011 for an episode of Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba!, Rocket From the Crypt had not performed since Halloween 2005.
However, nothing about the Sunday show suggested a lapse in the band’s momentum. Reis told the audience that his voice had gotten lower since he last sang tunes such as “Young Livers,” “Straight American Slave,” “A+ in Arson Class” and “Don’t Darlene,” but said jokingly that he was going to try to sing the songs just like they had been immortalized on MP3s. During those moments when the crowd wasn’t drowning out the frontman’s gravely howls, he sounded loud, powerful and in complete control.
Reis remains a rock & roll shaman; he shook a can of Tecate and drenched the sweaty audience before explaining that he did so because he needed to work on his beer-spraying skills. Other unscripted comments included a reference to why the band’s first reunion tour will take place in the United Kingdom (the money is greater) and a five-minute diatribe during the bass-and-drums breakdown of “Come See, Come Saw” in which the singer riffed on a Danzig VHS video and how “the groove” had entered him, O’Beirne and O’Beirne’s neighbor’s dog.
After the show, Reis took off his guitar, picked up the microphone and held a copy of the 23-song set list (opener “Pushed” wasn’t officially included) to ask fans what they should have played and what they should remove for the upcoming European tour. Before anyone could answer, though, he suggested they not play “Ditch Digger” – a song he earlier said he did not like – before Stamets explained that they should not play “Glazed” because it has “a weird ending.” Whatever they decide before they cross the pond, Rocket from the Crypt’s ferocious second act is only beginning.