Last Friday night, amidst the neon abyss of The Angry Irishmen, a twisted serenade of chaos and rebellion unfolded in the unsuspecting college town of Ames, Iowa. Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops, hailing from the dark underbelly of Des Moines, emerged as sonic marauders, torchbearers of a manic garage punk revolution. Armed with nothing but their instruments and a commitment to anarchy, this unholy trinity of Greg Wheeler on guitar, Jill McLain-Meister on bass, and Eric Hutchison on drums, signed under the banner of High Dive Records, took the crowd on a wild, unrelenting ride, invoking their debut album’s ominous title, Manic Fever.
The evening kicked off with a primal scream in the form of „Watch It Turn,“ a sonic barrage that ripped through the air like a chainsaw through flesh. The crowd, a congregation of misfits and rebels, was immediately enraptured, their souls consumed by the manic fervor emanating from the stage. The band’s repertoire delved deeper into the abyss with each passing song— „ITCH,“ a frenetic anthem that scratched at the listener’s sanity; „Fast Forward,“ a sonic time warp that propelled the audience into a feverish trance; and „Slowly Erasing You,“ a haunting ballad dripping with melancholic distortion, echoed the tormented souls of the damned.
But it was the penultimate offering, „DGASAY“ (Don’t Give a Sh*t About You), that truly encapsulated the band’s ethos. Wheeler’s guitar shrieked and wailed, channeling the raw discontent of a generation left to rot in the stagnant waters of disillusionment. McLain-Meister’s bass throbbed like a beating heart, pumping lifeblood into the nihilistic anthem, while Hutchison’s drums thundered with a vengeful fury, driving the point home with each resounding beat.
Throughout the performance, Wheeler’s stage presence was nothing short of mesmerizing. His eyes, wild and untamed, mirrored the chaos of his music. He writhed and contorted, his guitar a weapon of sonic destruction, as if possessed by the spirits of punk rock legends past. McLain-Meister, a force of nature, unleashed a torrent of basslines that reverberated through the marrow of the audience, while Hutchison’s percussive onslaught was a relentless assault on the senses.
In the midst of this sonic pandemonium, the boundaries between band and audience disintegrated. Sweaty bodies collided in a dance of liberation and abandon, and the air crackled with the electrifying energy of rebellion. The crowd became one with the music, a pulsating, writhing organism driven by the manic fever dream concocted by Greg Wheeler and his Poly Mall Cops.
As the final notes of „DGASAY“ faded into the night, the crowd was left in a state of blissful disarray, their minds shattered and their spirits liberated. Greg Wheeler and the Poly Mall Cops had not merely performed; they had orchestrated a transcendental experience, a descent into the heart of madness where fear and loathing were transformed into a euphoric celebration of chaos and freedom.
And so, as the night faded into memory, the legend of that fateful evening grew, a whispered tale of manic fever and unbridled passion. And for those who had been fortunate enough to bear witness, it was an experience they would carry with them, a badge of honor in the never-ending quest for liberation and the pursuit of the ultimate high: the raw, unfiltered ecstasy of pure, unadulterated punk rock madness