SXSW Music: Grammy Museum's 40 Years of Ramones Tribute
Flash covers traverse time, age, and ilk
By Neph Basedow,
10:20AM, Fri. Mar. 18, 2016
Forty years ago, a bloc of Forest Hills outcasts debuted via a self-titled LP that sculpted punk rock for the ages. Thursday night, the Ramones’ catalog endured 18 acts’ own renditions.
L.A. garage-pop foursome Regrettes arose more wholesome (outwardly, at least) than the Queens quartet whose songs they covered. Their youthful abandon and spunky spirit echoed their subjects’ plainspoken rock essence nevertheless. With bare feet, teenage singer Lydia Night bopped her band through “Rock & Roll High School,” channeling Diane Lane in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains.
Know-how surfaced with San Antonian Nina Diaz. The Girl in a Coma singer rendered a brooding, synth-spun take on 1989 single “Pet Cemetery.” The 15-minute flash sets stacked up quick, the assembly-line format spawning some yo-yo energy. Acts inserting originals into their allotted time, energy periodically pinged, ponged.
Boston’s Air Traffic Controller relayed their indie-folk variant on “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.” Nashville’s Wild Feathers charmed next with crowd pleasers “The KKK Took My Baby Away” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” Ohioan Lydia Loveless clowned around with her bandmates during “Questioningly,” never forfeiting the grip on her Lone Star.
As the Grammy Museum’s tribute progressed, the edgy rock vibe for which the Ramones were known swelled. When Toronto’s Magic! depicted the group’s biggest hits – “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Sedated” – the evening’s mission materialized: The Ramones’ tunes traverse time, age, and ilk.