Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Rocket From the Crypt

Soul-punk dance party teaches its children well

“In our day, we knew how to do festivals,” teased John Reis, reviving his guise as Speedo, leader of reborn San Diego garage-punk kings Rocket From the Crypt. “We had big foam hats, love beads, and bell-bottom pants. Good to see you kids take it to the next level.”

Photo by David Brendan Hall

As a pal noted, RFTC are following a wise game plan for a band you might not have seen since Eric Hartman owned Emo’s: Break up after a strong 15-year run, lay low with other projects for a decade, then come back on the festival circuit to ensure yourself three times the audience you enjoyed in your heyday. It helps having most of the classic lineup intact.

And there they were, all right, Speedo on guitar and vocals, guitarist ND, bassist Petey X, the horn section of Apollo 9 and JC 2000, and drummer Adam “Atom" Willard. Fantastic to see the band that brought matching outfits and soul revue choreography to Nineties punk in black western wear the Mavericks could have sold them.

Powering through a brace of vintage tracks including “On a Rope,” “Middle,” and “Born in ‘69,” Rocket From the Crypt has lost none of its thermonuclear energy and taut, massive R&B grooves. Fun Fun Fun Fest’s Black stage hosted the most torrid dance party in town on Sunday, with Marshall guitar logic and middle-aged men in black teaching a new generation how it’s done.

Check out our complete Fun Fun Fun Fest coverage.

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Rocket From the Crypt, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014, Emo’s, Eric Hartman, John Reis, Mario Rubalcaba, Off!

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