‘Psycho Motel’ Liverpool – live review

Raw Bones, El Toro!, Zombina & The Skeletones
Psycho Motel, The Kazimier, Liverpool
Friday 7th October 2011

Out come the freaks…

Liverpool is busy; the streets are thronged with Uni freshers seeking another cheap drink, others are heading to the waterfront enormo-dome to watch Rihanna who apparently caused an international stir last week by getting her tits out in an Irish field; not sure what else she does”¦
However if you stepped into the darker recesses you would see a steady stream of people heading for The Kazimier ”“ they too are noticeable, the majority wearing long heavy overcoats, though their footwear perhaps hints at something a little more exciting.

Once inside The Kazimier; a once grandiose cathedral to tacky 80’s disco, complete with mirrored staircase’s, faded chrome, subtle black and grey décor topped with spinning mirror balls which tonight has become The Psycho Motel, they defrock to reveal an interesting selection of fetish wear, spike heels, ball gags, whips, chains, PVC clad nuns, oh, and a bloke in a furry suit!

This was advertised as a charity gig; to be precise this one was advertised as a ”ËœCharity Ball-gag’ with the words ”ËœThe theme this month is kinky/fetish/bondage — NASTY HABITS! So we expect to see plenty of transvestitism, dominatrices, gimps, furries and those weird baby-people turning up’

So without revealing my own choice of outfit”¦.

The DJ was setting the tone; goth, EBM, punk etc when The O’Fishel Jazz Band took to the stage ”“ apparently funds raised from the night were going to a chap described as “a true appreciator of the form” ”“ Jazz isn’t my thing, but I can recognize musical ability, and this lot had it in abundance. Led by gifted keyboard player David Fishel (apparently he discovered Annabella Lwin!) they played controlled, pacey numbers that certainly got the crowd moving.

Next up was Raw Bones; a 6piece fronted by a Keith Morris look-a-like (Black Flag, Off) and backed by twin drummers ”“ any band with twin drummers scores on my chart, but get this; these were twin cajón (box) drummers, flanked by a double bass and a twin guitar assault. Opened with the most depraved and twisted version of Buddy Holly’s ”ËœRave On’ I have ever heard ”“ the lead guitar totally dominating ”“ the plundering of the rock’n’roll depths continued though it was hard to identify the source tracks such was the extent Raw Bones had stripped them down to before spitting them back in your face ”“ people have compared them with The Cramps; they certainly have an element of early Bryan Gregory era Cramps, but add to the that the disemboweled blues of the Inca Babies with the delivery of The Birthday Party- frankly a glorious, raucous cacophony of primal noise.

‘Psycho Motel’ Liverpool – live review
Raw Bones - defiling rock'n'rolls past

With ear drums suitably buzzing we welcomed El Toro! to the stage, who once again turned the pressure up ”“ LTW have previously heaped praise upon these Liverpool based surf punks (Chickenstock review), and tonight’s performance further justified the plaudits. Opening with the mouth organ shredding ”ËœBut Him’ before taking us on a journey into their octane fuelled world of twisted garage/surf punk ”“ drummer Ben pummeling his kit, his face a fixed 1000yrd-stare as guitarist Chris Luna piles the echo effects up, the sound building through ”ËœThe Note’, ”ËœThe Boss Sound’ and into ”ËœDown To The River’ – the larger Kazamier stage affording the band room to express themselves, front man Jimmy O crouching low then launching himself and the band into ”ËœDo The Pile Up’. El Toro! – the aural equivalent of a beach assault; riding a tsunami of sound that decimates all who oppose.

‘Psycho Motel’ Liverpool – live review
El Toro!

Which brought us to headliners Zombina and The Skeletones; Zombina and Co. try hard not to follow the rock”Ëœn’roll conventions, essentially they play a distorted horror punk but to pigeon hole them is to fail them for they add rock ‘n’ roll, ska, doo-wop even.
There is no mere ”Ëœwatching the band’ – with Zombina, you get a full on spectacle; splashed with gleeful humour ”“ its like an audio visual skull fuck; Zombina herself dressed up as a male office worker complete with 5 o’clock shadow, the male guitarist in a blue lamé dress, and on a giant screen above them a selection those old 50’s B&W B-movies, and warped 60’s low budget films made by acid casualties, always with naked nubiles strapped to stakes!!

Zombina must have a coverted record collection for they draw influence from The Ramones, The Cramps, The Rezillos, Nuggets to Dick Dale; they have clearly seen way too much kitsch TV ”“ from ”ËœHappy Days’ to ”ËœBack To The Beach’.

‘Psycho Motel’ Liverpool – live review
Zombina & The Skeletones

Where they excel is that they are merely influenced; Zombina dispite her diminutive size having both the presence and vocal range to dominate the stage and to dispel any lazy comapaissons. With track titles like ‘Astroboy’, ‘Zombie Hop’ and ‘I Was A Human Bomb For The FBI’ you get the idea where Zombina are coming from; each song is played with passion, with energy and a whole dollup of twisted macabre humour.

Tonight despite a few technical problems with a failing effects unit Zombina brought together the fetishists and the un-dead ”“ truly an un-holy alliance, and certainly a spectacle I would rather see above Rhianna, even if she does flash her bits.

Lastly the LTW fashion staff awarded ”ËœOutfit of The Night’ to the bloke chained to and being led by his partner who had made his entire ensamble from that black binding tape (I believe) you get in Anne Summers.

‘Psycho Motel’ Liverpool – live review

This was more than just a gig; Psycho Motel have successfully created events, the venue was suitibly decorated, maybe that should read desicrated, as each band took to the stage, they were formally introduced by an immaculately attired accordian player – it’s this level of effort that makes a difference. Next time you are in Liverpool, ignore The Hilton etc; book a room at The Psycho Motel!

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. FYI, it’s bondage tape – a special tape that only sticks to itself, favoured by the fetish community.

    And only suckers buy such things from Ann Summers ;-)

    Sharky (the bloke in the tape)

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