Blood Brothers: enduring punk 

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The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, Blood Brothers
Bubba’s Bowling Club
Wednesday, June 8

When Blood Brothers bassist Morgan Henderson first watched The Locust a decade ago, the angular haircuts and ironic vintage T-shirts and skin-tight jeans favored by the seminal San Diego band and their following were a fresh take on the punk tradition of dressing obnoxiously. Today, any adolescent within spitting distance of punk culture is sporting vacuum-sealed denim, reprinted classic rock T’s and white vinyl belts. “That’s just the cycle of teen culture,” Henderson laments.

In the past eight years, Blood Brothers have taken up residence with The Locust and a handful of other indie bands that manage to transcend the trends they start. Their most recent album, 2004’s Crimes, is a cacophony of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Sassy but substantive, the songs spasm, explode, stumble and lurch while vocalists Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney screech lines like, “Take me to the pit of celebrity pregnancy, I want to wear the skin of a magazine baby.”

“Johnny, he likes to write his lyrics in that collage way in that he free writes it out and puts them together in a collage way,” Henderson says. “You’re basically taking these abstract words that might not be a complete idea and piecing them together later and giving them meaning.” Henderson argues that the latest lyrics are actually the most direct that Blilie and Whitney have written. The lyrics on Crimes are often topical: “Trash Flavored Trash” takes on network news, “Teen Heat” tackles the sleazy aspects of the music business — but obscure compared to most major label fare.

Blood Brothers aren’t a protest band, but they are more ideologically motivated than your average rock band, even if all five of them can’t agree on an ideology. Whereas the lyrics may leave room for interpretation, the band throws its weight behind issues the members feel are important. In January, Blood Brothers played an anti-Bush inaugural party that benefited a group that has been providing health aid to Iraqis since the Gulf War. Henderson says that the average kids in attendance aren’t there for politics, “but there’s a political reason behind the show.”

There’s no political reason behind the Blood Brothers show at Bubba’s Bowling, but if you track down Morgan Henderson before the Brothers’ set, he’ll be happy to rap at you about Noam Chomsky. Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and Big Business are opening the show.

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