Local Wire

Southwest Psycho-Fest

"The largest psychobilly festival in Arizona!" crows the ad for this 14-band marathon of fetish-cinema-infused, double-bass-pounding hillbilly punk. That the Southwest Psycho-Fest is quite possibly the only psychobilly festival in Arizona is beside the point — if you want to witness the rockabilly essence of the Stray Cats gangbanged by Ed Wood and Russ Meyer, this is where you go. Coined by in the mid-'70s by proto-punk pioneers The Cramps — who used the terms "psychobilly" and "rockabilly voodoo" to describe their singular brand of sleazoid garage rock — the genre went to finishing school in Europe in the '80s, then migrated back to the U.S. in the '90s in the guise of such horror-influenced punk bands as The Misfits and Devil's Brigade. Contemporary psychobilly acts are just as likely to emphasize the blues and country roots of the genre as the hardcore stuff, but one constant — embodied in Psycho-Fest acts such as The Limit Club, Los Difuntos and The Grims — always carries through: Fast, campy, whimsical fun.
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Craig Outhier