The Flesh Eaters at the Crocodile 01/23/19
The Flesh Eaters rolled into Seattle for the final date of their West Coast swing with high expectations as their new album “I Used To Be Pretty” hit the streets. Now the Flesh Eaters are not your typical Americana roots band per se, with the dark poetic lyrics of Chris D ripping your heart out, but the cast of characters that make up this version of the band have cultivated their own unique brand of blues and rock.
Back in the early 1980’s, the Flesh Eaters were a part of the Los Angeles punk rock scene that emerged with the likes of X (featuring Exene, John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake), The Blasters (featuring Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, John Bazz and Bill Bateman), and Los Lobos (featuring Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin). Between these three bands, Chris D brought in Doe & Bonebrake, DA and Bateman and Berlin to record the album “A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die” which became a classic album in its own right.
Following that seminal album, Chris D would have different incarnations of the Flesh Eaters and Divine Horsemen that recorded off and on for the past 20 years. Back in 2017, Chris D brought back the 1981 line-up to hit the road for selected dates on the West Coast to perform and it proved to be the catapult to get the band back into the studio to record some new songs.
So, with the release of their new record, the Flesh Eaters took the stage following a great set by the Tom Price Desert Classic opening at the Crocodile. Kicking off the set with “See You In The Boneyard” and “Pray Til You Sweat” from “A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die” the groove was in full throttle. What is really amazing in this band is the guitar thrashing by Dave Alvin.
Dave Alvin for the past several years has been on a blues revival of sorts, collaborating with his brother Phil Alvin on a couple of blues albums featuring the songs of Big Bill Broonzy, and with a classic blues and country record with Jimmie Dale Gilmore this past year to critical acclaim. Dave’s playing in the Flesh Eaters is a sonic explosion of shredding rifs that would tear the face off of any metal heads.
Then there’s the honkin’ that Steve Berlin brings to this music. A cross of free form jazz and blues that carries this music to another space. The combination of Bill Bateman on Drums and DJ Bonebrake on Marimbas adds to the sexy allure. John Doe holds down the driving bass line and vocals that compliments the soaring vocals of Chris D.
Chris D has his own style and flare. His dark and haunting prose gives you the chills as he rips into his songs. The combination of his singing and the bands sonic assault makes this performance a pulsating euphoric experience.
The Flesh Eaters will be continuing their nationwide tour into February and March with stops in the South, Midwest and East Coast. Link to Set List.