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last night's gig

Butthole Surfers, Playing With School of Rockers, Incite Anarchy Just Like Old Times

Haynes in the U.K. last weekend.Photo: Marc Broussely / Redferns / Retna


Last night at Webster Hall, the Butthole Surfers left us with a (slightly assy) taste of their legendarily chaotic early shows. A little over an hour into their set — the final one of their reunion tour, which, amusingly, featured students from the Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars — vaguely paunchy singer Gibby Haynes was pulled off stage by two-black-shirted bouncers. He'd been cajoling the sound guy to up the volume all night, which was only appropriate, given that this was a Butthole Surfers show, and apparently the confrontations became physical. There were conflicting reports from various drunk, testosterone-pumped witnesses (we weren't in the proper line of view to see exactly what went down), but things climaxed with Haynes either shaking this heathen soundman by his lapels (perhaps it was a dirty T-shirt) or actually punching him in the face. It also seemed that Haynes squirmed away when one of the Fascists escorting him off stage tried to twist his arm behind his back.

The band went off shortly afterward, to booing, demands for “Gibby! Gibby!” and, probably, some accidental vomiting. Scenes of bloody car wrecks from Faces of Death III played on the screen at the back of the stage. It was positively anarchic, until the orderly filing out of the crowd down the stairs. But you can't say the folks didn't get their money's worth. Up until his yanking from the stage, Haynes was the perfect disaffected burnout, randomly wandering around, sometimes wielding a bullhorn in one hand, beer in the other, and manipulating his shouted vocals at a small bank of electronics to the right of his mike stand. The School of Rockers, ushered onstage a couple at a time, seemed not to screw anything up, though Haynes did sort of wrestle one guitarist back from the edge of the stage, and tell another, who'd been flailing wildly as an imperious Haynes stood over him guzzling a beer, to “Learn to play guitar.” All wry humor, we assume — he also said of that latter student, “Book his room at the rehab in advance.” —Nick Catucci