Aug. 27 2013 07:09 PM

A best-of playlist to celebrate the band's return to San Diego

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Rocket from the Crypt, circa 2002

On Friday, Aug. 30, Rocket from the Crypt will play at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, in their first announced show in San Diego since Halloween, 2005. This is a big deal. Not only is Rocket one of the biggest bands to come out of San Diego; they're also famous for having one of the best live shows a music fan can witness.

To celebrate the occasion, I've assembled a list of the eight best songs in the band's catalog. This is totally unscientific, based entirely on personal preference, and I expect to hear a stern word or two. But however you slice it, these songs slay.

"Born in '69": Atom's machine-gun drum intro on this song starts it off at a level of ìHoly shit!î and in the two minutes and 12 seconds that follow, "Born in '69" only gets more fun and fiery. Start your day with this song and youíll feel like a champion.

"Boychucker": The closest Rocket ever came to psychobilly, this raw, ass-kicker of a song more or less set the wheels in motion for the gut-punching garage-punk of John Reis' other band (out of many other bands), Hot Snakes.  

"Come See, Come Saw": With a bass line borrowed from "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and a pun on a French expression, this is Rocket at their most fun, with swing, swagger and firing on all cylinders.

"Ditch Digger": If I were to choose a favorite, it's this one, an epic of a song that builds from low, tense chime into a big explosion of melody. Bonus points for the phrase "Slap me some skin / Leprosy's fun, so let the good times begin."

"I Know": The rock-soul hybrid the band fused on 1998's RFTC was certainly fun, but it's tracks like "I Know" that show off what the band does best—short, snappy punk tunes.

"Killy Kill": An uproarious centerpiece on their Circa: Now! album, "Killy Kill" cleverly borrows the "woo-woo!" hook from "Sympathy for the Devil" as Speedo repeats the refrain that "Killin' ain't wrong!" When they play this live, you can say they killed it—almost literally.

"On a Rope": This was Rocket's biggest radio hit, and for good reason—it's got the biggest, boldest chorus they ever wrote. Rocket were always big on hooks, but here they combined them with great riffs and outstanding vocal harmonies. 

"S.O.S." On the whole, the band's 2001 album Group Sounds is pretty underrated, but this track in particular stands out for easing up on the full-throttle assault, opting for more intricate harmonization and a haunting melody. Rocket clean up real nice. 

Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff

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