Ron Gallo is a true showman. Since his creative rebirth earlier this year with the release of his record Heavy Meta, he has continued to lean into his wild man, rock and roll tendencies, putting on insane live shows worthy of the finest head-banging. On an earlier leg of his Heavy Meta tour back in February, he was slightly more contained, but at a recent show at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on November 19th, it was no holds barred, balls to the wall rock and roll insanity of the best kind. Maybe the crowd was more game, or the venue was a bigger, but more likely, he’s eased into his live performance over the course of this year. No doubt an opening set from the buzzy Seattle trio Naked Giants (expect to hear more from them soon) helped warm things up.
Gallo and his band make putting on a show look fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously, except when it comes to shredding. Gallo has perfected his unhinged psychobilly-rock sound, howling like a banshee on songs like “Put the Kids to Bed” and “Young Lady You’re Scaring Me”. He’s no stranger to the occasional stunt, too, introducing his band with a rehearsed introduction where he awkwardly reads off a piece of paper and blows into a trumpet for a spastic fanfare. At one point, the guys from Naked Giants even came onstage to replace Gallo and his bandmates mid-song, then switching back before the song was even through. The crowd ate it up and fed the beast.
Heavy Meta is a statement record – a meditation on the human condition and the current state of humanity. He views the world with a highly critical and often cynical eye, while his lyrics take to task sheep mentality and the tendency to follow blindly. That attitude comes across when he performs, and at this particular show, he even played a few new tunes that fit right in with the rest. A standout was called “Entitled Men Keep Your Hands Down Your Pants” and as you can imagine, was a merciless takedown of powerful men. By the time the Naked Giants joined Gallo’s band for an epic finale of shirtless guitar shredding, we had officially had our asses handed to us – Gallo-style.