After a nearly 16 year hiatus, the trailblazing indie rock quartet, Thee Volatiles, which came of age in the late 1980s underground East Village DIY club scene, has been rocking again with disarming energy and intensity.
Their best songs (“All About You“, “Sally“, “Kids Again”, “Home Alone”) scripted the self-deprecating middle-class vulnerability of the ’80s and 90s just as sharply as Dylan sketched the pretentious middle-class dreams of the ’60s.
And seeing them live after all these years, still doesn't have its equal.
Returning to form is Kevin Delaney, the take-no-prisoners lead guitarist who 20 years later still favors thrift-store capes and spray paint. Delaney plays Shakes the Clown to singer and rhythm guitarist Dewar MacLeod’s half-assed Pagliacci.
On stage, Delaney petulantly refuses to play a solo, then spews out some grossly beautiful racket—equal parts Kiss babyfood-metal, Robert Quine art-mangle, and pure-pop trash. And MacLeod himself, an aloof fuck-up much like Delaney, inevitably smirks and lets loose his trademark live rasped, heart-wrenching, no-future-in-frontin’ soul yelp.
Momo Blandino, just 13 when she joined, still rocks her airborne rock star poses and thumps punkily, flashing her I’m-too-young-to-know-better glance at college boys.
Sitting in for the now deceased Remy Martin is Dave Fink, a dead ringer for an ABC After School Special “loner,” hunched over his drums, slight frame pounding away like somebody was chasing him. He was still in short-pants the first time Thee Volatiles took the world by storm.
There was never much tawdry glamor with Thee Volatiles; just raw nerves, and thankfully, we can all start scratching that itch once again.