Live Review: A Bunch of Jerks at Midway Cafe in Boston, MA

Material: Ever wondered what happens when a band’s Give A Damn breaks? Study this posse of jerks for the answer. Built for fun, the self-described kitten rock quartet bleeds loud, fast and louder punk without a speck of concern for decorum. From morbid opener “Dirtnap” to screechings about pitbull acceptance, everything about the band encapsulates the glorious righteousness of not giving a shit.

Musicianship: It’s not that they’re bad players. It’s more that virtuosity isn’t key to their flavor. Rather, their sound comes marinated in the pure elation of spreading a fabulous cacophony. That is not to say their beats remain stationary; many of their most arresting moments come with an unexpected tempo shift or electrified guitar bridge soaking up the spotlight. Despite persistent incomprehensibility, tattooed sex kitten Stabby elicits bewitching vocals and, most potently, a mesmerizing stage presence. How she moves in high heels is nothing short of miraculous.

Performance: While Stabby wins the award for best poses and lunatic mugging, honorable mention goes to guitarist Mike, who draws the eye in his sensible skirt. When the axesmith faced a technical snafu, the singer made an admirable effort at providing amusing patter as he scrambled for a fix. A sign taped to an amp proclaimed their name, yet the vocalist could have used that moment to identify the group’s individual players. After their final song, the sparse, snow storm-braving audience (evidently filled primarily with friends and family) called for more, resulting in a two-song encore.

Summary: Music is to be enjoyed by everyone, including the players; therefore, A Bunch of Jerks has their hearts in the right place. With no fucks left to give, they’re doing exactly what they know best—cutting loose among friends. It’s a refreshingly real lack of calculation that can’t be knocked. The flipside is that they come unwashed, more partygoers with instruments than seasoned performers. But, as with all things punk, to expect otherwise is to be square. Just bathe in the noise and smile.

Contact: jerk@abunchofjerks.com

Web: abunchofjerks.com

Players: Stabby, vocals; Mike, guitar; Bat, bass; Ethan, drums