When it comes to labeling their music, diehard metal heads are among the worst at nitpicking what is what. So to maintain my street cred, I can't file Los Angeles heshers Zig Zags under "'80s-based thrash" as the band does in their own biography. Thrash-influenced, certainly, but their second release, Running Out of Red, reminds me more of Nashville Pussy's classic debut record than it does Slayer's unholy Show No Mercy. Particularly toward the back of the album, tracks like "My Lighter" and "Meat Man" really echo that sneakers-stomping, punk/metal crossover mayhem that so many great club touring bands have mined for decades. When Zig Zags veer from that formula is when I am most likely to press the skip button.
That's no knock on what these dudes are up to. I love the lack of pretentious bullshit. I love the overblown attitude. Lightning fast and short—most of the dozen songs come home under three minutes—Zig Zags deliver what I most often want to hear, especially if I'm out for live rock. Fun, that's the ticket. Like the godfather of this style of music, Motö¨rhead's late, great Lemmy Kilmister always said, "It's just rock and roll." And I like it.
Zig Zags play Stage 112 Fri., Aug.19, with Cannon and Falling. 18-plus. $5.