PRONG / DEATH RAY / ABACINATUR
Saturday, December 26, 1987, Club Pizazz (Philly) by Tony
[Originally published: Issue #6, circa 1989]
Christmas had come and gone, but there was still one gift left unopened PRONG’s first appearance in Philadelphia! But, as we all know, good things don’t come easy, and this was no exception.
The first band, DEATH RAY (from New Jersey), appeared on stage with colored nylon stockings covering their faces, and proceeded to deliver a short set of slow, doom, and gloom type stuff. They had neat little gimmicks, like a strobe light, a smoke machine (cough! gasp! wheeze!), and scary names. While I didn’t really like their music, I will admit that it was fun to see some sort of stage show once in a while. I have an awfully strange feeling that this band will soon develop a small but dedicated cult (and I do mean cult) of followers I doubt I’ll be one of them,
Speaking of followers, (ABACINATUR (from N.E. Philly) had their throngs of worshippers present, including the cast from the musical “Hair!” (I had to get that one cheap shot in. Sorry!) and 14 year old girls would scream for more even while the instruments were being tuned. Even though ABACINATUR seems to be very musically talented, I couldn’t really get into them. The fast parts were total noise and they just stood on stage no energy (or maybe just first-time nervousness). I will say that I that I might have liked them if I was familiar with their material and if the vocals were louder (neither of these are the band’s fault.) One song they did, “The Blitz,” really sounded good to me. Local thrash-guru Scott Helig thought they were great, and they seemed to get their people into it, so maybe I just got a bad first impression. It would be interesting to hear their demo, and then take it from there.
The ABACINATUR fan club quickly departed, but the small crowd that remained was treated to one of the finest live performances Philly has ever seen: PRONG’s Philadelphia debut. Here’s a band whose remarkable talent as musicians (both composing and playing) is so powerful on vinyl yet even better live. Very original very tight, very breathtaking. Despite the near-empty hall, PRONT still went all out. It’s a pity that they were put on a thrash-metal bill I’m sure that if they played with some local HC bands, the response would’ve matched the effort. Check out their first LP, “Primitive Origins,” and the new one, “Force Fed.” And by all means, go not miss PRONG live!