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Subhumans Invade the Casbah

Subhumans bring hardcore U.K. punk rock to San Diego



    The British are coming--and they’re bringing their punk rock.
    The buttflap and steel-toed boots you’ve kept on retainer since high school are about to get their renaissance. On Nov. 4, Subhumans, one of the ’80's greatest hardcore punk outfits to come out of the UK, are moving in on the Casbah. And though the group may be older than in their heyday, the Subhumans’ 2007 release, Internal Riot, shows only that they haven’t slowed - still capturing the anarchistic fantasies of a subversive, secretly hopeful youth that swore to never grow up.

    More than 30 years ago, a crew of first-name-only Brits--Dick (vocals), Bruce (guitar), Trotsky (drums), and Phil (bass)--came together to vomit sociopolitically charged lyrics with little if any finesse over hard, and riotous, instrumentals. The band’s prosaic contradictions--charged with anti-smoking allegories spewing from the mouth of a chain smoker, both promoting punk solidarity and abusing alleged poseurs--only added to their appeal. These were the young punk’s people, the sweat-spitting lead singer just as confused, pissed off, and indignant as the kid moshing to his every word. It was the ideal, a family of strangers, and the first five years of Subhumans’ career proved iconic enough to carry their name, silk screened on countless flags, patches, and badges, for decades longer.
    Songs like “Mickey Mouse Is Dead,” an anti-consumerism sprawl punched with systemic disdain, break into manic drums that cajole concussion-causing headbangs while chaotic guitar and bass inspire arms to dislocate in fist-pumping madness, all beneath air-moshing crowd surfers. It’s the most enjoyable beating you’ll ever take. A chance to experience the golden age of punk rock, before emo or pop were ever a part of the terminology, a Subhumans show promises to inspire the sort of esprit de corps that brings the dying back to life. So mosh away--because punk never dies.
    Subhumans @ the Casbah, Monday, Nov. 4, 21+, $15. Bumbklaat, Sculpins, Records with Roger open.