Genki Genki Panic is wicked instrumental fun with masks
I love music. I love playing music, I love writing about music. I have the best job in the world as far as I’m concerned. Doing what I do, I get to hear some truly amazing stuff. I have yet to review a band whose music didn’t have some unique quality, something original to that group of performers that I could talk about.
Sometimes there isn’t enough space to write about all that’s fresh and original with a group, other times it takes a little more digging to find that kernel of creative spark that only band X has, but everyone has their own voice.
However…unique voice or not, certain genres tend to dominate a given market, and after a while you find yourself longing for some variety, so it is with great pleasure that this week’s feature is about something very different.
Genki Genki Panic self-describes as “instrumental horror surf” music, and that’s precisely what it is. Imagine that Dick Dale or the Ventures had partnered up with Ed Wood and you’ve got a good idea what the boys are about, although you may need to throw in some video game themes and vintage cartoons for the full effect.
The band is a three-piece, featuring “Chancho” on guitar, “El Fatsquatch” on drums and vocals (vocals being an easy gig in an instrumental band) and “Larde” on bass. The fact that they appear in public exclusively in luchador masks should come as a shock to no one, ever.
This is the point where I’d offer an analysis of a few tunes, but here’s the thing: There is no analysis of surf music, horror or otherwise. It’s straightforward fun, and that’s it. The drums provide a frenetic beat, the bass thumps and the guitar is sonic amphetamines winding its way through exotic scales. That’s it. It is minimalist and it is magical.
Don’t get me wrong—I love singer/songwriters and socially conscious bands, but once in a while it’s good to leave all that baggage behind, crank up the volume and just enjoy the sound and that is what Genki Genki Panic is for. It’s music for road trips on hot days, for being 17 again and shredding on a skateboard, for bouncing and pogoing and moshing in a crowded bar on a sweaty night while pounding cold beers.
As there are no lyrics or hidden agendas, the music is accessible to everyone, but there are Easter eggs for the initiated in terms of song titles. They tend to be sly puns, inside jokes or references to famous horror icons. “HPV Lovecraft” is both a rocking tune and a title that makes me giddy. “Sexting the Dead” takes a serious look at drunk dialing your deceased ex via Ouija board.
“Your Body is a Wasteland” is self-explanatory. If Oderus Urungus hadn’t snuffed it, I could easily imagine these guys opening for GWAR and if one of them doesn’t have a shrine to Vincent Price somewhere in the basement, I’m getting them one for Christmas.
The fellas have some ambitions. I’ve already heard one gorgeous album’s worth of tunes (Ghoulie High Harmony)and in a few weeks they’re headed back in to the studio to record a new one (rumored to feature a special appearance by an Elvis impersonator…or is he?).
They’re looking to start a bi-monthly surf show in the area. Kudos to the first bar owner clever enough to jump on that. In the meantime, you can catch the fellows this weekend at the all-new Granfalloon on Saturday, June 13 at 8 p.m.
They will also be appearing the following Friday (June 19) at Ziggy’s at 9 p.m. with special guests Silver Tongued Devil and the rockabilly/surf heroes Get Hot or Go Home. Go out, forget about the wide, wicked world for a while and turn on to some wicked fun instead with Genki Genki Panic.
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Keep up with the Genki Genki Panic via their Facebook page and website, genkigenkipanic.com