schoolyard heroes with Vendetta red and Bayside at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, August 18). $10. 416-777-1777. Rating: NNNNN
Neatly outfitted in crested sweaters and blazers, Seattle's Schoolyard Heroes look better prepared to convene a student council meeting about hiring a band for the prom than to rock any club themselves.
But plug them in and stand back. These prim and proper kiddos will rip the place to shreds. And once sweetly smiling singer gal Ryann Donnelly starts screaming bloody murder, you'll understand why this fiendish foursome is known as the No Doubt of horrorcore.
"I dunno about that," says Donnelly, leaving Chicago, "but I guess anything's better than being labelled 'screamo.' What's up with that? I mean, I don't mind the scream part, but I'd like to stay as far away as possible from anything emo."
A quick scan of the song titles from their recent Fantastic Wounds (The Control Group) disc - Funeral Parlour Tricks, Nightmare At 20,000 Feet, The Girl Who Was Born Without A Face, Panic In The Year Zero - suggests that the Schoolyard Heroes draw serious inspiration from weirdo sci-fi and horror flicks, probably some of the same Z-grade trash that warped Glenn Danzig's mind back in the Misfits days.
"We love the Misfits! Actually, it was Jonah (bassist Jonah Bergman) who introduced the rest of us to their stuff, and he's the one who got me to sing Last Caress.
"After practice, we'd always go over to Jonah's place and watch all these scary movies, like Blood Diner and Dead Alive. They turned out to be a really good source of ideas for writing creepy-weird song lyrics. The metaphorical possibilities are endless, and besides, writing about strange creatures is a lot of fun."
Victims' rights activists may not see the humour in a Schoolyard Heroes song called Serial Killers Know How To Party. But so far the group hasn't had to face any angry protestors at their shows or deal with a boycott threat.
"Oh no, that would be terrible. I guess we're just not a big enough band that people would feel compelled to organize a protest over one of our songs. Maybe one day - if we're lucky - we'll be popular enough for something like that to happen."