Genki Genki Panic join with Russia’s Messer Chups for a surf showcase
There is a soft place in my heart for local bands that play an underrepresented genre. On the plus side, you’re the only ones doing what you do. On the negative side, you’re the only ones doing what you do. See, if you’re the only Slovakian folk band in town and people want to hear Slovakian folk music, they come see you.
On the other hand, the general awareness of Slovakian folk music may not be enough to generate the kind of interest you need to be a working band for very long, so you spend a lot of time and energy building a market for yourself. If you succeed in doing that, more bands will follow, and that’s a very good thing.
I mention all this now because Chattanooga’s premier Surf/Horror band, Genki Genki Panic, has been hard at it trying to up the stakes for the genre locally. They’ve been working on establishing a steady, recurring “surf night” for some time now and have gone to great lengths to bring in outside talent but it appears this time that they’ve scored one of the biggest “gets” that can be gotten, save for having Dick Dale himself show up (and I won’t be too surprised if that comes to pass.)
This Sunday at J.J.’s Bohemia, Genki Genki Panic is sharing the stage with Messer Chups, one of the ten best surf bands in the world, all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia.
The trio consists of Oleg Gitaracula on guitar, menacing laughter and video, Zombierella on bass, vocals and screams, and Dr. Boris on drums.
No ordinary surf band, Messer Chups are an experimental group, incorporating everything from animation soundtracks to electronica, jazz, musique concrete and the Theremin, all beautifully layered over the driving base of surf music.
There is no doubt that the group is inspired by the same sort of B-grade horror and science fiction pulp material that fuels the creativity of groups like Genki Genki Panic.
What isn’t immediately obvious though, and what makes it that much cooler, is that while those of us who love that sort of thing grew up with bad sci-fi and cheap horror flicks (I miss UHF television) that material is much harder to come by in Russia, or was until the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. How wonderful that in a country that produced Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky there are those who happily, lovingly embrace Ed Wood, Roger Corman and Betty Page.
It bears mentioning that this appearance really is kind of a big deal. These kids are internationally famous; they’re only playing ten or so gigs in the U.S. this time around and one of those just happens to be over on MLK. Of course, anyone whose head isn’t firmly lodged in a dark, dark place has already come to expect this kind of thing from J.J.’s, it being a genuine local treasure.
To get a better idea of what you’ll be missing if you fail to catch this world-class surf band from Russia, check out their enormous discography on YouTube. I recommend Surf Riders from the Swamp Lagoon, the album I’ve been listening to this evening.
While you’re at it, stop by Genki Genki Panic’s soundcloud page to listen to their latest track, “Ghouls on Film,” from their upcoming Litanies of Surf EP.
Once again, the men in the masks have upped the ante with this new installment coming across harder, faster, creepier and more wonderful than ever. Listen to this track and you can keep Halloween in your heart all year round, Pookie.
All this and Eddie Bridges too (probably) at J.J.’s Bohemia this Sunday. As they say in the tractor pull commercials, be there!