If one could imagine the way the Cramps got together, it might be something like this: On a summer afternoon in 1965, an amateur rock group practiced in its parents' garage. Suddenly, the gas from a lawn mower mixed with fumes from the house paint, creating a fog that sent the musicians into suspended animation. They awoke years later as the Cramps.
The Cramps, who performed at the 9:30 Club last night, aren't a campy revival of a mid-'60s rock band -- they are a mid-'60s rock band.
Blasting, tremoloed guitar chords, shouted vocals and pounding, monolithic rhythms combined with strobe lights to produce a show that was obnoxious, nostalgic and infinitely exciting.
While borrowing freely from such groups as the Count Five and Music Machine (among other late and barely lamented '60s groups), the Cramps have infused their music with a kind of punky panache that grates on the intellect but galvanizes the body. Distortion, feedback and giddy lyrics of such inept precision have not been heard in rock of ages.
Throughout their performance, the Cramps were spat on and were frequently hit by objects thrown by their admirers (the punk equivalent of a standing ovation). They certainly deserved it.