BY BILL PRINDLE
Cambridge, MA -- Touring behind their surprise summer hit "Is This Love or Just Bad Gas?" The Bangin' Boomers took the stage Tuesday night at Club Elysium and ripped through two solid hours of voice-shredding, middle-aged anthems of what they call "mock 'n' roll." Although playing to a younger crowd that was mostly there to see the opening act, Consensual Sext, the wrinkled rockers won over those who stayed to hear the band's take on the increasingly popular niche of Mock Rock.
Lead singer, keyboardist, and former insurance agent, Bill "Gimme Shelter" Nichols, explained that the Boomers took the concept for their music from Ringo Starr's encounter with a reporter in The Beatles' film Hard Day's Night.
"When she asks Ringo if he's a Mod or a Rocker, Ringo says, 'I'm a Mocker.' That resonated with us because we like to make fun of everything. If we didn't at this point in our lives, we'd probably kill ourselves. We're ready for the fame bubble to burst and to become hard-core unemployables again. Bitch goddess of success and all that."
Continuing with selections from their new CD, In Bed By Ten, the Boomer's opened their show with the speed metal tune "Four-Hour Erection" segueing smoothly into the thumping reggae beats of "Restricted Diet." The band had the crowd singing along with the chorus of "My doctor says more roughage in my diet/I love my cheese, don't want to try it." They closed off this set with the existential lamentation "I'm Not Too Old For You" selected from the oeuvre of Mock Rock pioneer Root Boy Slim. Former Papa Gino's manager and bass player, George "Hot Sauce" Rabinowitz, noted that "Root Boy's original line was 'When you turn 17, I'll just be 32,' but we updated the numbers to 22 and 65. Seemed more realistic and hopefully less litigious."
While the other members of the band took a break to rehydrate, lead guitarist and former real estate agent, Jeff "Underwater" Rivers, ripped into the crunching opening chords of the swamp blues cri de coeur "I Hate Your Music." Drummer and recently-laid-off English teacher, Tony "Pop Quiz" McDonald, harmonized with Rivers on the chorus of "Lady Gaga's infantile/Music for a half-wit/You'll be deaf at 23/Think I'll give a shit?" Rivers really stretched out on the driving Chicago blues tune "No More Bean Dip" and capped off the set with "My Ex-Wife Had a Mustache."
When the rest of the band returned, the Boomers playfully rolled up the legs of their trousers and launched into an up-tempo singalong, based on Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." "I grow old, I grow old!" the Boomers sang a cappella, to which the crowd sang back: "I shall wear my trousers rolled!"
"I love playing in Cambridge," said Pop Quiz after the show. "They get all the literary allusions, although we tripped them up last year with some of Ezra Pound's more obscure cantos. Actually all of Pound's shit is obscure. But it's all good fun, except for the Nazi stuff."
The Boomers didn't want the fun to end on a literary note, so they cranked up their amps to 11 with four raucous, politically-tinged rockers: "This Is Not A Normal Cold," "Skipped My Pills Today," "Finger Up My Ass," and the bluntly satirical "Mitt Romney Is A Fucking Twat."
Although two of the Boomers looked tired at the end of the show and it was getting close to their bedtimes, the crowd wouldn't let them go, so they came out and sang a send up of The Who's "My Generation." "People say my hair is thin/And my breath always stinks of gin/Spend my day sittin' on the john/Hope I die 'fore the money's all gone."
As the band piled into their tour bus, the few autograph seekers reflected on the concert. "They sure make getting older sound awful," said a somber Tiffany Douglas, a junior studying social media at BU. "On the other hand, for a bunch of unemployed old guys, they still rock out. Even though he's old enough to be my grandfather, Pop Quiz could be kind of hot in the right light."
Bill Prindle wrote a humor column when he was in high school. Since then he’s worked as a teacher, community organizer, waiter, graphic designer, producer, marketing executive, and publisher, but it has only been recently that he realized that he should have probably stayed with writing. Or not. You can reach him at email@example.com.