There is BC and AC – before Cramps and after Cramps. You either know or you don’t know. If you know and you were in NY, you were there last night. There is no better live experience.
After a few tracks of rockabilly were on the PA and the stage was all lit up in blood red, the band finally took the stage at 10:45. Lux came out in his trademark big black bug sunglasses with his 2 bottles of red wine and looked fantastic. He gets better with age and looks lean and mean. Ivy of course looked fierce in her fish net stockings, her short waitress-looking skirt and her classic Gretsch guitar with the flame strap. Harry Drumdini is no longer with the outfit and there is a new older-looking rockabilly creature that fits the band perfectly and keeps up the Cramps tradition (no hi hat on this drum kit). The latest bass player is still an eye sore, but who cares? I mean, did I really ever take my eyes of off Ivy and Lux?
Opening with one of my all time favorites "Mad Daddy" from the first record, Songs the Lord Taught Us and ripped into the zebra rug-covered stage. And if I didn’t almost hit the floor during that, they immediately followed this with "Rock On The Moon" from the same record. The energy was sick. So was Fred Schneider from the B52s who was standing right next to me.
The crowd, as usual, drew all walks of life and death. The mosh pit had rockabilly cowboys complete with their hats, green, red and blue mo hawks and girls dressed as Ivy right down to the devil horns from the Date With Elvis album cover. One woman in full costume made it to the stage but then got dragged off by security, but not before getting a love tap on the ass from Lux.
Lux was brilliant in his announcements in between songs. You couldn’t write better material. The guy is smart. He told everyone to vote for him and he would make sure there was “a pound of dope in every pot.”
Other set highlights: "Let's Get Fucked Up", "Primitive", "Big Bad Wichcraft Rock" all sounding great. Even the classic cover of "Lonesome Town" was lovely.
The stage antics, as usual, were like nothing else. Before introducing "TV Set", Lux read from the TV Guide what we were all missing that night. This was some of the best and funniest material I have ever heard (of course made up.) Then he threw the TV Guide in the crowd with the pages going everywhere while going into the song. The red wine was flowing all over the place including on the 3 gorgeous zebra rugs. Lux was interacting with everyone up front even so far as to tell one young gentleman that he was hiding pounds of cocaine in his hair. Lux also proceeded to tell the crowd that we were a bad influence on him. The mic was constantly down Lux’s throat and he ended up bending the mic stand by the end but never letting it go – even as he preceded to climb the walls of Irving Plaza and sing from atop the monitors. A highlight for me, as always, is when Ivy takes off her shoes and plays her guitar with one and gives one to Lux. Lux worships the shoe, licks the shoe, attaches it to his mic then eventually plants it on one of the drummer’s tom toms. You can feel the ecstasy in the shoes.
Rounding off the set with oldies and new ones such as "Dames Booze Chains And Boots" and "One Way Ticket" killed! They sound and look great after all these years. There is no band like this period. WARNING –this is not ordinary music !!
My only disappointment – NOTHING! Don’t miss this tour or their new album How to Make a Monster with 2 discs of classic early demos , bootlegs and 2 live gigs with a crowd shrieking with madness.