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Review: Vyndykator - Show at Connections-Clifton, New Jersey
Show at Connections-Clifton, New Jersey
Venue: Connections
City: Clifton, New Jersey

Show date: December 21, 2002
Guests: Cooper's Dignity

Rating: None/5

Review online: December 25, 2002
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Show at Connections-Clifton, New Jersey

Rated 0/5 (0%) (0 Votes)

After some 8 and a half hours driving down to New Jersey from Canada, I eventually found the renowed bar "Connections" in Clifton. I must stress that this is with NO help from the city of Clifton, which seems to have a very small budget for street Steve Ratchen and Bob Mitchell signs. grmbl. I arrived a couple of hours before the show and immediately ran into Bob Mitchell and Steve Ratchen of Vyndykator. Hehehe, it was time to pick up that freshly-pressed picture LP of Vyndykator's first album, "Heaven Sent From Hell". Buy or die, weaklings! After meeting some more people and still waiting for the show, I made an interesting observation... Well, interesting if you're a male: Many guys rave -with reason- about the women at metal shows in Montreal... Hmmm... Well... Stop by "Connections" if you're ever in that area, you'll see that the Montreal chicks are only average after all. And I'm not kidding you. OK, enough with that, let's get to the show...

Cooper's DignityThe first band that went on stage I believe wasn't really scheduled to play, rather it was just some musicians who got on stage to warm up the crowd - there were a couple of members of Vyndykator playing, for example one of Vyn's guitarists was on drums while the other one took care of the vocal duties. Good stuff. They didn't play very long, just a few songs to put people in the mood. It is after that that I could not believe my eyes, the first band, "Cooper's Dignity" got on stage, with the frontman wearing an eyepatch, a Santa hat and with a puppet in his hand. This band plays covers of a bunch of 80s classics by such bands as Dio, Motörhead, Judas Priest, etc... Very well-played, but the band's main attraction is the frontman... What can I say, the guy is fucking nuts - in a good way. I think their show can most easily be described as a combination of stand-up comic and heavy metal. How could one Cooper's Dignityforget the headbanging puppet? :) The frontman's antics, harrassing his bandmates with the puppet, his hilarious comments delivered in a serious tone kept the crowd laughing from beginning to end. It's the first time I see such an act on stage, and I must give them a 11/10 for entertainment value. "Cooper's Dignity" - mark this down, and if you ever get a chance to see these guys play, do not hesitate for a second, even if you have to sell your little brother to pay the cover charge and beer. Little brothers are annoying anyway - just ask my older brother.Cooper's Dignity

I thought Vyndykator were going on stage next, so I was hanging out with the guys up front when I realized another band had gone on stage (Connections is separated in two rooms, and if you're in the front room and don't pay attention, you won't notice that a band is on stage.) I get there, watch a couple of minutes, then run back to the front room, desperately looking for something to shoot myself with. The guy was rapping. That's right, we're talking the ultimate crime here! ARGH! Yet, most of the music was pretty good, so after a few minutes I went back to the back room and kept on watching. After several songs, they started playing some old Slayer (Raining Blood) and old Metallica (Kill 'em All and Master of Puppets era). OK so the singer can actually sing, that's good! :) He was wearing a Santa hat, a fake beard and glasses, and I still wonder if that wasn't the same guy who fronted Cooper's Dignity.. He said on stage that he wasn't.... Hmmmm.... Anyway, I don't know the name of the band, but it's the other band of Vyndykator's drummer.

Unfortunately, these guys played a little too long. Vyndykator were supposed to hit the stage at 12:30am, but only started around 1:20am. While the place was packed during Vyndykator the previous act, now more than half the people had left (I'm told many bars in NJ close at 1:30am, so maybe some of them thought the night was over...) I don't know if the band was disappointed, but I sure was, as Bob & Co. played one hell of a killer set (and, as usual, I forgot to ask for the set-list...) While the crowd was much smaller, they were pretty enthusiastic, many of them already familiar with the New Jersey boys. Bob Mitchell, being his usual self, was smiling from beginning to end, obviously happy to entertain their faithful fans. He had a bit of a problem getting people to react to several calls for more noise, not unusual when crowds get smaller, I think most people are too shy to make too much noise if they can be identified (I know I am... :)) Don't worry Bob, everyone was enjoying every minute of it. :)

VyndykatorThe band played most (all?) of the material off the new album (which, I must stress again, you should buy or die), as well as the classic Attacker song "(Call On) The Attacker", which is played as a tribute to all the Attacker fans who are still out there (for those not in the know, Bob Mitchell was Attacker's vocalist on the band's first album, some 20 years ago.) Bob and bassist Steve Ratchen were the ones moving the most around the stage set, while the two guitarists pretty much moved slightly around their positions on the left and right of the stage (shy? :)). Vyndykator played for about an hour, and soon after the doormen from hell started doing their dirty deed. The end.

An excellent show that was definitely worth the long drive. I also recommend stopping by Connections if you're in the area, very cool bar with good, varied music - plus the Vyndykatorwomen: hellllloooo! The sound in the back room where the bands play is surprisingly good, but not too deafening either. A good thing, because as I was snapping pictures of Vyndykator, I realized I was standing right next to a huge speaker. Oops!

See more pictures at:


Cooper's Dignity:

Other related information on the site
Review: 3-song sampler from Heaven Sent From Hell (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Heaven Sent From Hell (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with Steve Ratchen (bass), Bob Mitchell (vocals) and Bill Pena (guitar) on October 8, 2002 (Interviewed by Michel Renaud)
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