Tom Heinl, Hot Drama, and The Underlings at Sam Bond’s Garage; December 3, 2010
Tom Heinl really is funnier the second time around. If I wasn’t laughing the first time I saw him perform it’s because I didn’t want to miss a single word. The best part of Heinl’s gig is that the audience giggles like schoolchildren in anticipation of their next favorite line, and then roars with laughter because his eye expressions and slight bodily descriptions pull the entire thing off seamlessly, again. He has The Bob and Tom Show written all over him, and with ditties like “Glenwood Folk Can Survive” he will always be a hit with both Eugene and Springfield fan bases. Best suited for audiences who don’t take their musical tastes too seriously and who know clever comedy when they hear it.
Hot Drama was next, and so was my first martini. I opened my mind to appreciate the gender role reversals being played out – primarily trying to appreciate “Sassy’s” embracement of talking about sex onstage (usually more accepted public practices of men.) But when she screamoed FUCK throughout most songs and in between all of them, the sexual enlightenment appeal began to wear off. I finished my martini with a giant gulp when the Hot Drama groupies started shouting the only word the band seems to be familiar with into an extra mic. This open invitation for sex with Hot Drama would have been liberating when I was 15 and it still wasn’t ok to talk about sex in front of large groups of people, only because not everyone was having sex yet. When groupie “Joe” started banging on a cowbell, I got a fever. The only prescription was more martinis. Between shouts of “Con-dams” and “Who wants to fuck?” I noticed that the intros to most of Hot Drama’s songs I had heard before. That’s because they were the intros to Blur’s “Song 2,” The Killer’s “Believe Me Natalie,” and Eugene band Black Delaney’s “Ordinary Men.” I felt like I was on a bad trip and had boarded the wrong train – a train headed towards an S&M orgy at the Hot Drama after party. In the end this was the wrong scene for Hot Drama, which was made clear when the only round of applause they received was after they desperately handcuffed Heinl onstage. I may have been more “in the mood” at a roller derby venue or Castle Megastore.
The Underlings lucked out playing third on the bill. The best marketing tactic for a band like this is to follow a horny girl band that inevitably made most men soft when raspily screaming/asking the crowd if they wanted to have sex tonight. The Underling’s harmonized “whoa ohs” and predictable lyrics were a breath of fresh air, and reminded me that raunchy tongue-in-cheek band humor is best suited for groups like this with a Sam Bond’s audience. Hot Drama is like Lisa Lampanelli: wonderfully hilarious in small doses; terrifying at night.