It’s midnight at the Double Down, and I’m two Jameson-and-gingers in, not nearly enough considering The Pluralses are only on their second song and singer Trent Clausen is screaming about fellatio.
This band is hilarious, ridiculous in all the wrong but oh-so-right ways. Before I can even start head-banging, that love-fest of a song is over. In true punk fashion, each song clocks in at around a minute. “This is a formal apology about having a bowl cut,” vocalist/bassist Clausen says before diving into the third number, aptly titled “I’m Sorry I Had a Bowl Cut.” It’s that kind of material—a hybrid of Screeching Weasel, NOFX and The Vandals—that makes you want to pour over the band’s liner notes, not because you’re going to find anything poignant there, but because you want to memorize every offensive word and sing them out loud. “This is a song about how we all met transporting cocaine to Cuba,” Clausen says later in the set—a great origin story even though the three musicians actually met while in various Vegas punk outfits back in the ’90s.
Before The Pluralses, Clausen played in Dead Birds and Blind Kids, and he currently works as the House of Blues’ production manager. Drummer Lazer Lavin—you might know him because he’s recorded and engineered loads of albums in this city—was formerly in Civic Minded Five. Guitarist Kurt Kangieser still plays with The Mapes. “The only goal we ever had, ever, was to have fun,” Clausen tells me after the show. “We were all in bands before this that at some point in time took themselves too seriously. We just started a band that made us laugh.”
The band just released its full-length, E Pluralses Unum, digitally at thepluralses.bandcamp.com, even though the songs are so short they’d actually fit on a 7-inch. How do the guys come up with their gems? “Sometimes, we don’t have practice,” Lavin says. “We just go to the bar.” And there’s a track about mayo. “There’s no innuendos,” Clausen reassures the audience. “It’s just about mayonnaise.” When someone in the crowd shouts, “Miracle Whip!” Clausen yells, “F*ck Miracle Whip!” right back.
It’s the sort of raw, comedic energy you won’t find at most shows. In one tightly packed, 30-minute set, The Pluralses have mentioned sex more times than I could count, sang an ode to one of the world’s most hated condiments and squeezed in tunes about rattlesnakes, tummy aches and “cocaine submarines.” It’s not for the faint of heart—but punk rock shouldn’t be, anyway.