After school special

Scary Monsters + Perennials, Great Scott, March 20, 2007
By ELLEE DEAN  |  March 21, 2007

BE AFRAID: Scary Monsters scare our pants off!

When the Perennials played a waltz last night — a slow evening at Great Scott — lead singer John Flax’s eyes rolled back in his head, and the crowd of a dozen or so swayed back and forth. Flax then mounted a speaker — he rode it like a horse — and bass player Brandon Phillips, in checkered lumberjack top and neat afro, took a slow swig from his PBR. The openers admitted they had nothing to sell; this was Scary Monster’s CD release party.

Scary Monsters looked like skinny monsters. Jokes aside, the kids were good — so good, it didn’t matter they looked like a high-school rock band. Lead singer Jed Rouhana’s alabaster neck craned over the mic like a thin bird’s would. His mouth hung open, slack, like a kid playing a video game. But he sang loud, one part Marilyn Manson, one part David Bowie (if Bowie wore a jet black wig). And in song, the smallish boy wasn’t a boy anymore.

Rouhana’s pale cheeks shuddered as he belted a chorus with a voice like Cher. The band then slowed it down with a new song. “It’s not dancy and hyperactive,” Jed warned. But it’s not a slow song either.

At show’s end, I cornered the drummer, who wore a white undershirt over muscles, and told him I liked the new song. “You liked that one?” he asks. “It’s fucking “Elephant.” Like big fucking elephant,” he explains, demarking it from others like “Fast Money” and “Liver” (and I wonder: why can’t kids today think of other fucking adjectives?)

So the night’s over. The band is young yet, and who can say they’ll last? But we clapped after every song, and in the end, wished those skinny kids would play for us a little longer.

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