Coming from the less-than-fruitful musical outpost of Indianapolis, the Zero Boys had the double-time fervor of '80s hardcore fully moshed in, but were closer in spirit and humor to the Stooges-inspired sounds of first-wave punk and new wave. They released a couple of singles and a great album, Vicious Circle, which has since earned them cult placement.
Original guitarist Terry Hollywood was replaced early on by Vess Ruhtenberg, and the band released a few more LPs, but it has performed only sporadic reunion gigs over the last decade. Not exactly the formula for high expectations when they resurfaced last year, which was why their appearance at last summer's Dot Dash fest in N.Y.C. was so impressive. A tad gray, but otherwise looking and lacerating like late-20s smart alecks, the Zero Boys blasted through a set that was the buzz of the fest. It was a galvanizing reminder that if the band was behind the politico-macho hardcore curve of its era, it was ahead of the '60s garage-rock revamp that rejuvenated punk in the late '90s.