To Do Saturday: Aussie Punk Rock

Paul Caporino, Chicago 1989, with a rare appearance by Rob Kurson on bass.

Paul Caporino, Chicago 1989, with a rare appearance by Rob Kurson on bass.

Australian rockers Cosmic Psychos have been producing a sort of Down Under Ramones-Stooges thing for almost 30 years, and their influence can be easily detected in the music of better-known bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney. They are a joy live, but the reason I’m excited about this show goes back to a copy of Maximum Rocknroll I bought in 1986.

The bible of indie hardcore lovingly reviewed a tape called BOLT by a group called M.O.T.O., and I took a chance in mailing $2 to “Paul Capering” in New Orleans. BOLT turned out to be Best of Lent Tape (as in Paul wrote a song every day for the six weeks before Easter and the best 21 made it onto the tape), and MOTO turned out to be Masters of the Obvious, which turned out to be one guy, Paul Caporino, who then called himself P.A. Capering, because it was funny and clever and that’s what he’s all about.

The chorus to BOLT’s hit single, “You Don’t Have To Be a Dick About It,” became an anthem in my life, as did a shockingly high percentage of M.O.T.O.’s gargantuan output over the subsequent decades. Mr. Caporino riffs on hits and styles of other songs (“Candy Apple Wig” brilliantly pierces the angst of Husker Du’s “Candy Apple Grey,” and the solo to Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” shows up in M.O.T.O.’s “Catholic World”) and uses more humor and scatology than rock’s rules allow. Along with the band’s unconventional presentation (ranging from full band to solo act to the band’s best-known era, which featured just Mr. Caporino and an exuberant Beck Dudley on drums), that made it possible to underestimate the greatness of M.O.T.O. That’s a mistake. M.O.T.O. at its best, from “Magic Words” to “I Hate My Fucking Job,” is stripped-down perfection.

Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow Street, 212-253-0036, 8 p.m., $12