Jeff Smith, lead singer for The Gay Sportscasters (and also seminal cow-punk outfit the Hickoids), put on no pretenses about his nine-piece camp-punk “stuporgroup.”
“`It’s` strictly for fun,” he said before mounting the stage at Nightrocker on San Pedro. “The whole concept behind the band was I wanted to have t-shirts with Howard Cosell with a dick microphone.”
And so The Gay Sportscasters was born. The band is comprised of three guitarists, a Peter-Jackson-looking keyboardist, a bassist, a drummer, Smith on vocals, and two “Lollygaggers.” The band’s press release calls TGS a “motley collection of highly closeted heterosexuals accompanied by go-go dancers.” This nonsensical nonet blended funk, country, glam, and camp into their ear-splitting brand of hard punk.
Taking the stage in a red jacket and yellow dress shirt with an oversized collar, Smith looked more like Tom Petty circa 1989 than a sports commentator, but he wailed as the scream-singing frontman, receiving frequent back up from guitarist/hypeman “$3 Bill” Wise. Even with three electric guitars stacked on top of each other, Smith still managed to penetrate the mix with his maracas and tambourine. Keyboardist Jacob Schulze’s organs seemed entirely extraneous and, because they added to the chaos, became all the more necessary.
“C’mon, you pedophiles!” screamed Wise, before the group broke into “Dirty Tailgate Party,” a medley of “Dirty Water” by The Standells and their own “Tailgate Party.” Most originals incorporated material from the likes of KC and the Sunshine Band and Huey “Piano” Lewis, but the real gem was a roof-blowing, audience-participating version of “Rock and Roll” by Gary Glitter.
Then there were the Lollygaggers: dancers who Smith claimed were both ex-girlfriends. Michaele Anne McCarthy and Adrienne Rocha were glistening by song two in the set, but kept up a constant improv of gyrating hips, squeezed boobs, and pantomimed blowjobs. More than twice, Smith pretended to violate either lady with various instruments. Hooray for our post-feminism world.
In its entirety, the ESPN mic-wielding Gay Sportscasters were a welcome relief to the sometimes too-serious Say Town punk scene. They’re a fun reminder that when you incorporate costumes, effects pedals, bridges and, uh, jumblies, you know the genre still has its pranksters in the ranks.
The Gay Sportscasters
Sat, Sept 11
605 San Pedro Ave