Concert Review: Ex Norwegian, The Freakin Hott, and Zombies!Organize!! at Propaganda's Grand Opening Celebration, August 15

Ex Norwegian, The Freakin Hott, and Zombies!Organize!!
At Propaganda's Grand Opening Celebration
Propaganda, Lake Worth
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Better Than:
The grand opening of the new El Dorado near my house a couple months back.

The Review:

You all know we've been dropping some serious ink on Lake Worth's on-the-money music joint Propaganda for some time now. So, you might ask, what's all this hullaballoo about a grand opening week at this already established venue? According to the place's booking and promoting sensei, Steve Rullman, they were awaiting final approval and placement of the location's snazzy new sign before officially kicking things off. Well, what better way to celebrate prominent new red lettering on J Street than a week-long party replete with free booze and great bands?
Fuzz-pop Miami trio Ex Norwegian began the final night of the week's festivities with some challenges, having to overtake the voluminous clatter of an audience three hours into free PBRs and well cocktails. Lead guitarist Roger Houdaille's chunky riffs and penetrating choruses on "Don't Bother" were barely audible over the crowd's chit-chatting. The group persevered, however, and unveiled a string of infectiously impressive new tunes like the dub-infected "Mind Down" and the jerky "Turn Left." The highlight of the set, though, was "Something Unreal," a tune primed for college radio success. Featuring meaty hooks that sound straight out of the Lemonhead's modern rock classic It's a Shame about Ray, this was the song that commanded everyone to shut the fuck up and sing along.

Self-proclaimed saviors of rock 'n roll, The Freakin Hott, didn't fall short of that billing with their full-throttle set of monstrous riffs and sultry vocals. There is definitely no sensitive indie mumbo-jumbo to be found from this Palm Beach County trio. The Freakin Hott specializes in pure, unadulterated balls-to-the-wall rock, built on Maggie-Marget Dove's enticing chants and Aaron Gentry's thunderous guitar playing. Gentry's rock-man swagger was undeniable as he belted out T. Rex-size licks on song "Cokane and Sokke;" it's like the guy was born to play the axe. Meanwhile Dove, fiercely pounding the tambourine on her well-proportioned hips and unleashing some feisty vocals on "Brass Snatch," was hardly the second fiddle.

Boca Raton's Zombie!Organize!! provided a campy, kitschy ending to the night. The trio uses an assortment of keyboards and keytars to produce old-school "Planet Rock"-sounding loops and spooky, horror-movie style synths. The group always entertains; and Saturday night, as always, group member MF Mars' helium-pitched rendition of Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" was a crowd-pleaser. Then there was the tender ballad "Sweet, Sweet Blood," a duet between Mars and sister Laura Licious about their unrelenting desire for munching brains. "Policemen are delicious, as are conservatives," the two gently crooned.

Okay, so it took nearly six months to officially cut the ribbon on the place, but the folks over at Propaganda couldn't have done a better job lining up the best local talent around to celebrate. And hey, the free drinks didn't hurt, either.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias:
Is it really a party without some Pabst Blue Ribbon?
Random Detail: Ex Norwegian will be rocking their sugary indie-pop on NBC 6's South Florida Today on Wednesday.
By The Way: For the Miami set (because I know you don't like traveling past the Golden Glades Interexchange), you can catch two of the three acts, Ex Norwegian and Zombies!Organize!!, next Saturday, August 22 at Churchill's.

-- Alex Rendon

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