I saw Polkacide many times in the 80s and 90s. I wasn’t sure I would still like their punk version of polka, since I’ve been playing polkas myself lately, and may have developed a more, umm, mature outlook on the genre. I thought of reasons not to go: they’ll be too loud, too ironic, too goofy. But it sounded like I had a date, so I bought tickets, and I’m glad I did.
There are photos of the show in this article on SF Gate, about how music venues are threatened by the tech boom in SF. It’s true, everything is threatened, and there is no easy fix. Go hear a band while you still can.
I actually liked all three acts a lot. Pachuco Cadaver, described as a Captain Beefheart cover band, had plenty of originality; the tunes I recognized were greatly changed. The 2nd band, Black Cat Grave, was a duo made up of a bearded singing guitarist and a very energetic drummer. Rocking!
Polkacide did several of the same tunes that we do in BlowMusik, but they were showier, louder, and ironic. They opened with Helena Polka, as they normally do. I heard notes of dixieland, free jazz, saturday morning cartoons… it was fun and manic. The Chicken Dance was ridiculous. Slow, fast, “La la la La, la La, la LA LA!” Yes, I danced! The Beer Barrel Polka started super slow and sexy: Roll… Out…. the Barrel…
Who Stole the Kishka had horns playing all the minor key melodies that it needs.
My date didn’t go, in the end, which is too bad because I’m hoping to get her to like polka music. For her, polka is Laurence Welk. But polka is also Polkacide, Karl Hartwich, Romy Gosz. Punk is a lot of things, but Polka is a beat, and it happens to be the punkest of beats. The dances styles are different, but I maintain that polka and punk rock are virtually the same thing.
non-commercial? check. no extended, self-indulgent solos? check
Do It Yourself? don’t let your lack of talent, training, or qualifications stop you? check
Play your music with passion and directness, don't worry about what's popular? this is in all kinds of good music.