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Haunted Garage: Gross, Witty

September 16, 1991|STEVE HOCHMAN

Haunted Garage's gruesome fantasies nearly gave way to reality at the conclusion of the ghoulish group's concert at the Roxy on Friday when guitarist Johnny Ho collapsed on stage. At first it seemed like part of the show, perhaps setting up some sort of Frankenrocker encore scene--after all, the set had begun with singer Dukey Flyswatter being "born" to a woman wheeled on stage on a gurney.

But Ho's collapse was no stunt. Paramedics were called to the Roxy, though Ho revived without their assistance and his condition was blamed on the heat and humidity inside the tightly packed club. According to a spokesman for the band, it had a similar effect on several fans.

Ironically, Ho's fall provided the only truly scary moment of this Friday the 13th display. In typical numbers, a slime-drenched Flyswatter prowled and scowled dementedly like "Twin Peaks' " evil Bob, squirting stage blood on delighted young fans while the band raged in basic punk-metal modes (imagine the Dickies doing Alice Cooper) and four near-naked women joylessly danced and simulated various sex acts. It's gross, it's sexist--exaggerated teen male fantasy all the way--and it's not particularly inventive or theatrical. No story is told, no real characters developed.

But the show, celebrating the release of the L.A. band's debut album, "Possession Park," was also fairly witty at times. And--save for the sexism and the toll of the Roxy's climate--it's quite harmless. Saturday morning with the "Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters" cartoon was more realistic than Friday night in the Haunted Garage.

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