Fist Fight in the Parking Lot
Fist Fight in the Parking Lot
posted on 4/2012 By:
First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room here: It’s a bit difficult to get past the band name. Calling your band “Fist Fight In The Parking Lot” initially seems like an unforgivably terrible idea – I admit that I had that same thought when I signed up for this. But a little research turned up that “Fist Fight In The Parking Lot” is a reference to a Saturday Night Live sketch that I’d missed. (I missed it for two reasons: One, it appeared on SNL after I graduated from high school, and two, it involved Ashton Kutcher, though his ever abominable presence was admittedly cancelled out by the always welcome Dave Grohl, who certainly cannot throw stones in regards to poor choices of band names.) A quick Google search will bring you video of that sketch, which isn’t an all-time classic by any stretch. (Of course, I blame Kutcher for this.) Nevertheless, the premise is certainly amusing enough to allow me to now overlook the borderline-metalcore-ish dreadful band moniker and move on…
Fist Fight In The Parking Lot is a Pittsburgh-based four-piece stoner-y rock outfit born of members of Mojo Filter and Motorpsychos – and they sound quite a lot like Queens Of The Stone Age with a dash of Keenan-fronted Corrosion Of Conformity swagger. Opening with the swinging main riff of “S&M,” this self-titled debut sneaks in one of its most egregious COC-leaning moments up front, before running through the forgettable “Make Progress, Then Walk Away” and headlong into the more straight-ahead QOTSA quoting of “Side Steppin’ Ninja.” Though the Corrosion nods lend the band more metal cred, it’s those Homme-ly tinges that leave the greatest mark here, slick and radio-ready though they may be, with highlights in the simple stoner riffage of “The Lone Gunman,” the bass-led groove of “Sloth,” and the drifting-to-driving “Blue Jesus.” Still, while some tracks work, many more fall victim to generic stoner tropes, all amped-up classic-rock riffs and pounding drums, with little that truly resonates in the end. Most of the middle of Fist Fight rocks along, leaving no lasting impression outside of its grooves.
Still, though a significant portion of Fist Fight In The Parking Lot inhabits well-trod stoner-rock ground, the band does avoid one of the usual sub-genre pitfalls by not just assigning vocal duties to whichever band member can bellow loudest. Vocalist / guitarist Abby Krizner can actually carry a tune, and her voice is gritty enough to fit the format, but is thankfully far removed from the nondescript rough-hewn bluster that marks the mic of many stoner rawk outfits. (Also, being obviously a woman, her vocal inhabits a slightly higher register, and thus it adds some contrast against the down-tuned guitars.) Beyond Abby’s performance, the rest of the band is certainly acceptable, though no one particular performance stands out.
So at the end of the fight, this one’s a bit of a draw: Some of it succeeds, in a very radio-friendly stoner rock manner, and those tracks are a fun enough, if unoriginal, ride through the most commercial side of hazy riffage. The remainder is virtually interchangeable with most of a Red Fang record, but with better vocals. If you simply can’t get enough groovy swaggering riff-rock, then here’s a slightly above-the-norm record from a band with a bit of potential who just so happen to have a godawful name. And if that ain’t your thing…
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