Best Live Band (2011)

The Goondas

A glazed roll of the eyes, a hiccup, and a slight stagger. Brenden Green spins his head, then collapses to the ground and writhes on the stage, his clothes ripped and tattered, his feet bare, as he wraps himself up in his mic cord and nearly strangles himself with it. All around is ear-splitting noise, an unholy, raucous mixture of whiskey-soaked blues and rock 'n' roll from a guitar turned up to 11 and a drummer wearing only his underwear (plus a flurry of leg kicks thrown in by the bassist, just for good measure). Each performance by the Goondas is a shit show and a work of art rolled into one, fascinating in much the same way as a car crash, fueled by chaos and the sort of careless self-endangerment that has always made rock music so thrilling—and which leads, invariably, to Green scaling the wall and teetering unsteadily by the ceiling. His bone-jarring crash back down to the stage is unavoidable, and so too is the realization that few bands could pull off such stunts. Fewer still could make such an entertaining habit of it.

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