There are some things in life that you just can’t shut up about. Take for example, spookshow-carny metal like San Diego’s VICTIM. Spookshow-carny metal? If this sounds like familiar content around here, well, that’s because it is. We’ve even showcased this band before (also in October, mind you) and not to regurgitate the same content as prior years but an incident the other night left me with a new outlook..
Quick story. At a concert recently I spotted an ageing rock fan probably in his 50s or so. He had a platinum-blonde, true-blue mullet and a leather trenchcoat with…ready?…a massive AIRBRUSHED painting of Iron Maiden’s ‘Eddie’ mascot on the back. The airbrushing was PURE sleazy-neon-boardwalk style and I was floored to say the least. I meant to shake this guy’s hand, offer to buy him a beer, ask him what bridge he sleeps under at night and possibly take a photo of the jacket…but I forgot, and now live with regret. Sure, the image of this triumphant trenchcoat is burned into my brain but there’s no actual tangible evidence – and that’s a problem.
The point is, to avoid regret sometimes you just gotta’ go for it. This brings us to VICTIM, a band who released an album in 1982 called ‘Power Hungry’ that we definitely can’t shut up about any longer. Before today, we only featured one of the band’s songs on 2013’s Death to False Vamps mix. Right now it’s time to revisit this tough-as-nails performance video of the boys slicing and dicing through this incredible song.
If that video violence doesn’t give you goosebumps, you better check yourself for a pulse. The graininess of the video even adds a layer of dusty filth that you simply couldn’t create these days with a camera. Beyond the title track, VICTIM deliver a leather-clad slap to your face through every track on ‘Power Hungry’ with their oozy blend of spookshow-carny metal, as we like to call it. Just a friendly reminder for folks who might be confused, this genre we coined isn’t a category that’s a reflection of lyrical content but rather the vibe when hearing it that just evokes that gut-punching, butt-head rock blaring on loudspeakers outside funhouses during the closing hours at your local carnival…when all the managers and security are long gone. After hour activity at a traveling fair/carnival/boardwalk can be dangerous, seductive and can make for memories to be made by those who dare to venture inside. Similar to what happens in Santa Carla on the boardwalk once the sun goes down, most people flock away from these places once nighttime comes. TNUC & family are completely the opposite. We wait until the witching hour to arrive, when all the families have gone home and all that’s left are the vampires, drifters, mutants and detention-hall-delinquents — roaming the amusement rides and blasting music from boomboxes. This is when obscure bands like VICTIM are discovered booming from the stereos of local carnies.
At the end of each October – after listening to favorites by Dio, Dokken, Grim Reaper, WASP, Fastway and even the Halloween 3 and Creepshow soundtracks – these records start to grow cobwebs and this is when I turn to obscure bands like VICTIM. I highly recommend galloping into the night tonight and finding ‘Power Hungry’ from your local record dealer or guy who sells LPs and cassettes from the back of his van. If locating the vinyl LP ends up being too difficult, the cheapest and easiest way to own it is purchasing the digital version on iTunes for the little cost of $6.93. Hell, with cheap prices like that you’ll have enough money leftover to grab one of TNUC’s new merch items (t-shirts, gloves, prints & more) in our store!
The good news about traditional spookhouses, funhouses, creepshows, dark rides and wacky shacks is that these places haven’t really gone anywhere! You can still find them at most carnivals or fairs and even the classic airbrushed artwork remains most of the time. During my younger years I thought the artwork was almost too good for the actual inside attraction, but growing up has made me wise and appreciative of everything the spookhouse has to offer. While certain ones which guide you by a mechanized cart are sometimes wobbly and questionably safe, that’s part of the thrill. That cardboard Dracula spitting stale, chlorinated water in your girlfriends face? Accept it. Cherish it.