Guitarist Jimi Hazel of the group 24-7 Spyz has declared, “We want to turn the ‘90s into the ‘60s all over again.” Judging from the Bronx quartet’s slam-happy mega-dose of thrash ‘n’ burn at the Roxy on Tuesday night, the punk spirit of ’77 might be a more appropriate target.
But what kind of “cutting-edge” band, from either the hippie or the punk days, would have spent part of its set endorsing a name-brand tennis shoe? And where does a band’s consciousness lie when it goes from attacking social injustices and intoning reggae mysticism to using a bit of the funk classic “Brick House” to frame a rude, sexist limerick? We are talking about some very mixed signals here.
Musically, the Spyz throw a lot into their churning stew: Jimi Hazel has obviously spent study hour listening to his Hendrix namesake, but he also employs some jazzy, augmented chords and goofy, Zappa-esque themes. Even if the band is fast and heavy enough to open for, say, Metallica, its real crowd-pleaser is a remake of Kool & the Gang’s ‘70s R&B; barnburner “Jungle Boogie.”
Singer Peter Fluid was more agitated than a Maytag, taking his party to the people at one point by jumping off stage and running through the club as the band jammed on stage. But take away the advanced musicianship, the bluster and the high-energy high jinks, and the Spyz’s material has more calculated shock effect than memorable hooks. 24-7 Spyz makes a big noise, but without real depth or any philisophical consistency behind its “radical” image, it doesn’t have a whole lot of soul.