Costumed shtick in the rock 'n' roll world is a tough road to travel -- just ask the guys from Dread Zeppelin and the Village People, if you can figure out which Holiday Inn Express lounge they're playing this weekend. Even KISS spent more than half its career sans makeup and platform boots, and the world seems to have finally caught up with the fact that "Gwar" is a Turkmenistanian word that loosely translates to "has-been." All of which makes the decade-plus run of SoCal's Aquabats all the more impressive. The sextet (or octet? It seems to change from year to year . . .) wears tight, matching Batman-inspired outfits complete with groovy capes, and plays super-happy, super-goofy ska-punk. Despite the reality that ska is about as popular as nü-metal these days, and that the band has long been creatively affiliated with Bobcat "Gwar" Goldthwaite, and that it lost drummer Travis Barker some years back to a little group called Blink-182, the 'Bats are still known to pack many a room and generate many a laugh. If you're nice, they might play their cover of Hole's "Doll Parts."
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