I ALWAYS FIGURED Vikings to be total queers. They went for extended vacations together on big wooden ships (entendre alert!), were always ready to plunder, and were no doubt positively turgid with testosterone. And, like pirates, what were Vikings after? Booty. Duh.
But Vikings didn't reciprocate. Turbonegro, on the other hand, are happy to be your top and bottom stud. Like the Vikings, Turbonegro hail from Norway, and with more than 30 rabid chapters around the world, the band's fan club, Turbojugend, makes manic boy-band fans look limp. This death-punk-founding man-band and its heathen disciples give new meaning to the term "bad-ass."
Earlier this year, Turbonegro's highly revered contributions to music, Ass Cobra (1997) and Apocalypse Dudes (1999), were given a proper re-release by Epitaph, who also issued the band's new album, Scandinavian Leather, and together this musical triumvirate dominates the listener as assuredly as a 400-pound biker named Tiny, with fast, hard guitar assaults and nimble, penetrating (ahem) solos. The songs beseech sing-alongs in dark clubs the same way the "Star Spangled Banner" does in baseball stadiums. Try Dudes' Southern boogie, "Prince of the Rodeo": "Fornicator of the lasso/Sperminator of the asshole." It's as catchy as "The Hokey Pokey," only you won't have to turn yourself aroundTurbonegro are happy to do it for you.
Like 'N Sync and B2K, what really drives the crowds mad is Turbonegro in the flesh. Not even Rob Halford has the sheer panache of lead singer and lovable cockalorum Hank von Helvete. He looks like Dennis Franz sporting Alice Cooper eye makeup, a cape, and a top hat, and he swivels his bulging stomach like a little girl playing hula hoop. Hank may appear burly, but his wheezy speaking voice and swishy mannerisms are fit for a skirt. Adorned with rouge-smeared cheeks, fur hats, silky scarves, jean jackets, and sailor garb, band members Pål Pot Pamparius, Rune Rebellion, Euroboy, Happy Tom, and Chris Summers complete a visual circus akin to the Netherlandish artist Hieronymus Bosch's elaborate depictions of hella dark, sweltering sadomasochistic pit filled with naked humans subjected to eternal corporeal torment. This is Turbonegro's idea of a playground. Some of Bosch's damned are depicted ass-up with arrows piercing their bums; similarly, von Helvete is known to stick lit sparklers in his ass in a patriotic gesture to all things gay and glam. Turbonegro may play the death-punk card, but their orgiastic giddiness can make anyone want to dive in.
Turbonegro play Graceland with Amulet at 8 p.m. Tues., Oct. 7. $12 adv.