A few months ago, local musician/artist/stained glass revisionist/good guy, Davey Hooligan and I were sitting at the bar in Sluggos waiting for a show to begin when all of a sudden….out of nowhere….we started talking about……music. We talked about some crazy stuff and some crazy people, but one of the most interesting things I remember from our conversation was his statement that Bloomington, Indiana is now the home to an exploding punk scene.

And just a few months later, one Bloomington outfit and another band representing Austin, Texas brought their tour  to the stage of Sluggos in Pensacola, Florida for a diverse mix of Russian surf music Texas cooked punk and local genre exploding hip hop lyricism.

“Crisis Hotlines” started the night with fast songs and quick-witted banter with the audience.  Carried by Dave (bass) and Rhett (drums), lead singer/guitarist Cory seemed to have just as much fun talking with the audience as they did playing for them. The set finished on a serious note as Dave organized a group hug with audience and band members to share his wish that everyone keep a close friend who was involved in an accident in their thoughts and prayers.

Following the Austin trio were Bloomington’s very own, “Moscow, Moscow, Moscow.”  Dressed in red, white, and black themed attire replete with white sunglasses and matching ushankas, the Indiana duo cranked out a set of USSR inspired surf music. Think Dick Dale and Stalin with a healthy sense of humor. While “Red Sonja” fired away lyrics on her microphone and commandeered superior control over her tank-beast Rickenbacker guitar, drummer, “Dennis The Red Menace” pummeled away at his kit. In the style of true rock n roll performers of the past, The Red Menace would give a brief (yet loud) introduction to every song they played that night. The Cold War has officially left the building.

To put a wild exclamation point to the night, the show concluded with Pensacola’s own Paul the P Funk Fresh and his crazy rapping talents. Having seen Paul perform in “The Preemies” in the early part of the millennium, I was well aware of his entertainment skill. In an audience where the women outnumbered the guys by, at least 4 to 1, Paul knew how to deliver the goods with his own brand of charm, insane humor and flow.

– Michael L. Smith