Crotch core vs. Tijuana grind

In the shadowy depths of The Distillery on L Street last Friday night, a bull of a man, short and thick, ploughed through the audience in front of the strangely attired band, sending people spinning. A girl went sprawling to the ground, legs thrown up in the air, longneck bottle still held miraculously upright but foaming over her fist. A friend went looking for her glasses on hands and knees, and KnifeThruHead, Sacramento’s only grindcore comedy act, finished its song.

“That song was called ‘Jogging with My Dick Out,’” Kenny Hoffman, the singer, said. In his black shorts, with a giant plastic skull over his crotch like some bizarre Halloween codpiece underneath his beer belly, Hoffman cut a distinguished figure. A moment later the band was toiling through another manic, evil rock song drawn from the entrails of punk and metal, with Hoffman’s guttural howls ranging from subhuman to piercing. The bassist was clad in shiny black vinyl pants, the guitarist naked save for a holster cupping his genitals, and a rubber Viking mask over his head and face.

Out in the smoking area, the girl who’d been knocked down had recovered her cool and her glasses, which she’d taped back together. She lit a Camel. The flame illuminated her shirt: just above a straightforward graphic of George W. Bush wearing a Hitler ’stache was the word “fascist.” This was not a night for subtlety or preciousness, because the heavy fringe of rock does not tolerate them. This night was made for noise, for strong statements, for beer. Earlier, Sacramento agitators Rebel’s Advocate had played, opening the show with a blistering performance of driving drums and heavy riffs.

After KnifeThruHead’s theater of extremism was complete, the night was given over to two bands from the south. With a moniker only slightly more subtle than KnifeThruHead, Terrorism, from Los Angeles, played relentlessly pounding death metal with vocals that sounded as if issued from the depths of a demon’s toilet bowl.

Then the headliner, Coäccion, took the stage with a crisp, rapid-fire sound. The Tijuana band got a frenzied reaction from the crowd, which knocked itself over with barely restrained mania. Coäccion’s caustic CD, Invertebrado, has bilingual lyrics so norteamericanos can get a taste of the social criticism, as in “siempre viviendo / bajo presion / como un maquina / sin ser sin razon,” or “always living / under pressure / like a machine / without soul or reason.”

The band played an encore to the cheering gringos, borrachos and rowdy dancers colliding to a marching beat. This was a moment of cross-border metal unity unparalleled by most nights at The Distillery, or anywhere. Local legend “Ground” Chuck of M.D.L. was seen near the stage, jumping into the air. Suddenly the music was over, the bouncer’s booming voice hastening the exit of those who had new CDs, 7-inch records, or merely ringing ears to take with them as proof they were there.