Crossing Rocket From The Crypt off my musical bucket list in Brooklyn

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Image Credit: Brigitte Engl/Redferns via Getty Images

At this point in my career as a guy who writes about music, I have crossed off almost everything on my bucket list or allowed for the fact that it is impossible to do some of those things. For example, I always wanted to see Metallica—one of my favorite bands of all time—in as small a room as possible, and I did in fact get to do that last year. On the other hand, I allow that my window for interviewing David Bowie has almost certainly closed (and my chance to talk to Kurt Cobain was gone before I ever got started).

However, sometimes I get lucky. San Diego punk band Rocket From The Crypt’s 1995 major label opus Scream, Dracula, Scream! is one of my desert island discs. It’s a phenomenally potent 45 minutes of horn-smacked stomp-alongs, and it’s probably the best combination of punk energy and songwriting the band has ever achieved. When they were peaking, they developed a reputation as an incredibly charismatic live act. Sure, they played their songs with vigor, but they would also coordinate their costumes and stage game shows during performances. I missed them though, and they broke up in 2005.

But last year, band leader John Reis got the band back together for another run on the road, and last night at Brooklyn’s Bell House, I finally got the chance. It was slightly more subdued than I was expecting—there was no game show—but each member of the sextet was wearing the same shirt, and Reis did go on a long diatribe about how the handful of people who wanted to start a mosh pit should take their shirts off to let people know. Several slam dancers complied, though one guy was reticent, which led to Reis leading a chant of “Take it off!”

They also played some songs, all of which blew the crowd’s collective hair back. The stuff from Scream, Dracula, Scream!especially “Born in ’69” and “On a Rope,” stood out best with their sweet sing-along melodies lurking beneath the raw power. Reis is an incredible frontman and can still sing-growl his snotty lyrics with aplomb even at 44, and extra props go to drummer Mario Rubalcaba (known on stage as Ruby Mars) for laying down some remarkably thick, relentless backbeats.

So I can now say I’ve seen one of my favorite bands who made one of my favorite albums. But let me ask you: What’s on your musical bucket list? Is there a band you want to see? A music-based place you want to travel to? A star you want to meet? Let us know in the comments.


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