There are some deep political thinkers who seem to be suggesting that the English punks and their music might have something to do with that country's recent riots. Be that as it may (and it may or may not be), one thing is fairly certain -- the newest wave of English "punk" groups is definitely revolting.
Holly and the Italians' show last night at the Bayou was a rebellious mass of clanking chords and clamorous vocals. While the group went far to further its image -- and Italian flag was draped at the back of the stage and Holly sported an "Italian stallion" T-shirt -- the musicians seemed to be less concerned with being, well, musicians.
Holly shrieked and shouted her way through a series of songs that sounded much like Elvis Costello throwaways, and the black-leathered blokes behind her added vaguely punkish solos and rhythms. There were a few isolated interesting moments -- oddly pleasing backup harmonies and electronic guitar flourishes -- but Holly and the Italians never rose above what has become (for many English groups) a highly predictable boorishness.
Not to be outdone, the good ol' U.S.A. matched the banality of the mother country's rockers with a brief set by Great Buildings. This California group has taken old rock 'n' roll cliches to a new level of nondescriptness. Great Buildings rests on a very shaky musical foundation.