“Whoever tells you Tiger Army isn’t psychobilly, tell them about this show! Tell them how we’ve been doing it since ’95,” screamed Nick 13 on stage at The Fonda Theater this past Friday night. Tiger Army has crept up over the years, their career being reminiscent of the old tortoise and hare story. Slowly but surely, Nick 13’s early vision of Tiger Army is morphing into a psychobilly empire, this year being the 5th anniversary of the band’s Octoberflame tour, and Hollywood hosted one of it’s six shows.
Thousands of dedicated fans, donning their tiger-bat tattoos and outlandish Halloween costumes, squeezed their way through the streets of Hollywood on a Halloween weekend, and piled into The Fonda. All their hard work and dedication in doing so was rewarded with a great show indeed. SuedeHead and Exene were wise choices as openers. The first was an unconventional rock-a-billy act that set the crowd up with good spirits using up-beat vocal melodies, horns, and chompy strikes of the keyboard. The second was a female-fronted punk act, one that holds all the characteristics a great chick-punk band embodies: fierce lyrics, and stellar punk arrangements. It also may have to do with the fact that it’s Exene Cervenka from LA punk icons X.
Tiger Army was next to take the stage, the room was filled with Halloween heat, and potential energy. As The Fonda Theater stage curtains were drawn up, the main event ensued, and the energy turned kinetic. Tiger Army’s special brand of punk, 50’s pop, country, and rock, created chaos right out of the gates. The sound was crisp and the band was tight–it’s obvious that this lineup is Tiger Army’s most continuous lineup, because the chemistry between the three musicians is very solid.
The band was having a lot of fun on stage, and there were moments of swirling emotions throughout the show. During the song “Pain“, the body slams in the mosh pit magically turned into bro-hugs, and before the song “Moonlite Dreams” began, Nick laid down his deep appreciation for the psychobilly scene and how grateful he is to be part of it’s roots. He should be grateful. Back in ’95, Tiger Army may have been considered the stereotypical, young group of rabble rousers from California, but now the band exudes true class and professionalism. Tiger Army is on their way to being a veteran in the music industry, and they’re doing it right.
It’s no wonder why the Octoberflame tour has been a success thus far. So much of a success that, according to Nick’s Tumblr account (http://nick13.tumblr.com/), his recent solo video was voted as the number 4 video on the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown this past week. Yes they’re working hard, and it’s having certain effects. What effects? Well, Tiger Army’s music is getting the recognition it finally deserves, and it’s causing fans to salivate at the thought of another Tiger Army album (wink wink).
–John Kovacic, KROQ-FM Los Angeles