Listen, The Epoxies don't need you to love them. They don't even necessarily want you to like them. But you just might anyway.
The Epoxies outfit themselves in contrasting neon colors, with electrical tape serving as a good part of their wardrobe. Onstage, their guitars spit laser beams over the audience, while singer Roxy Epoxy gyrates like a mad, belly-dancing cross between Gwen Stefani and Siouxsie Sioux. With Viz Spectrum (guitar), Fritz M. Static (synth and vocals), Ray Cathode (drums) and Shock Diode (bass and vocals), the band puts the new-wave revival scene on its edge, combining newer punk riffs with heavy synth-'n-snarl style.
Hailing from Portland, Ore., The Epoxies popped out of the burgeoning Pacific Northwest new-wave scene in 2000, along with The Briefs. After doing well with a couple of now-out-of-print introductory EPs and a self-titled full-length CD, The Epoxies signed to Fat Wreck Chords to produce their latest album, 2005's Stop the Future.
Fritz, speaking before a recent show in New Jersey, says The Epoxies' goal has never been to appeal to the masses.
"We're highly polarizing. We're deliberately doing things that are really uncool in a lot of circles, like playing synthesizers, for instance. It's perhaps the least cool instrument of all time.
"When we started five years ago, it was so out of fashion; that's really why we did it, like, "Ha ha, everybody will hate this, this will be so great.'"
When it's pointed out that today, half the rock bands out there feature some sort of synth or organ, Fritz concedes that what started as a joke ended up being, well, cool.
"Yeah, that sort of fell on its face. Still, there's some people who won't tolerate it if you play a synthesizer, period."
"Some people" might very well be the audiences The Epoxies warmed up for other bands, including anarcho-punk heroes Against Me!. Their hardcore fans are far more dogmatic and, let's say, not all that open to the idea of a flashy band posing onstage.
"Sometimes the inspiration is to be counter to whatever act we're touring with," says Fritz. "What quality can we exude that is the opposite of that, to stand out? And either the kids will hang in there with us, or hate us. And we'd rather have one or the other."
There's a razor-fine edge of "Are they for real, or are they kidding?" and The Epoxies are definitely riding it. They want to be taken seriously as a great band, producing great songs. But they also try to incorporate a rowdy punk aesthetic and energy into live shows that Fritz admits sometimes turn into a "complete catastrophe, and not at all magnificent, but rather comical."
At that point, all that's left to do is work the catastrophe into the show.
"It's kind of a high-wire act," he says, "and sometimes the joy of it is watching the guy fall."
The Epoxies with The Phenomenauts and Teenage Bottlerocket
hi-dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver
Friday, June 16, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10, all ages; visit ticketweb.com.
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