Robert Lund - Man About Town
"I get all my news from the Waste down!"

High Holidaze

New York Waste, Jan., 2004


I can't believe it's already the 7th of January! I've still not recovered from the past two weeks. Or more. Just when I'd start thinking I could stay home some night, another notice would come in about another special show I just couldn't miss. And my December was livened up as Frank Wood and Ryota stayed at my house for two weeks while their new place was getting ready. The day he left, my little sister, her son, and her daughter with boyfriend arrived from Mpls, various ones staying with me till into the New Year. Which increased the involvement with the family across the bay, of course. So I was stepping out of all that frenzy each time I came out to any of the season's shows and parties.

There were too many exciting rock shows to list this month (I don't have to report my every move, do I?), but the high point had to be the Christmas Party at Otto's Shrunken Head on Sunday, Dec. 21st, with one of Frank Wood's WIND DOWN SUNDAY night shows. The party started out with three bands - The Unknown Gentlemen, Pocket Monster, and Roots Rock Rebel. (I had to miss them, to go to a planning meeting for a little five-minute film on the departed Zoë that's gonna be shown at this month's Slamdance Festival.) I got back in time for Gass Wild and The Love Pirates. They've recently been joined on bass by Sami Yaffa (Mad Juana, Joan Jett's Blackhearts, formerly Hanoi Rocks and so forth), and Steve Dalton on drums. This solid rhythm section fires Gass on to greater heights than ever. What set this night off from so many other shows was how thrilled everyone seemed to be to be playing together. Dougie Needles (another Blackheart) joined the Love Pirates for a song, keeping things unpredictable.

Next up, Scott (having moved beyond Oscar & The Pidgin Sisters) fired some intense tunes at us with his Brunch of the Living Dead. As intense, witty, cynical as ever, he can chill you to the bone as he cracks you up. We caught our breath a bit when the incredibly talented Fisherman and his trio of xylophone, guitar and drums did a set of exotic Tiki lounge jazz. It gave us a smooth transition from the earlier punk/rock to the Flamenco-gypsy rhythms and enchanting melodies of Mad Juana and Karmen Guy. Gass Wild stepped up to do a number with them, and was joined by former NY Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, beating out rhythms on just about everything in reach except a guitar. It just kept getting better.

And then came the jams! But first, the requisite Xmas song. I had arranged with Jonesy (F P Toz) and Lani Ford (Stark) to do The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York," with them singing the male/female parts, Jonesy on guitar and me on piano. I actually practiced a bit Sunday, since I hadn't performed on keys in around 20 years, but our only joint "rehearsal" consisted of getting the DJ to play the song for us once immediately beforehand. Jonesy was so convincing on his opening line, "T'was Xmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank," it almost seemed planned when he never touched his guitar, and it turned out to be a vocal duet with piano. Folks were dancing around all Irishly, and the energy stayed high (so I'm told - I was concentrating on the keys, it's gonna take some practice to make this look easy again). As Jonesy continued with the regular Sunday night NYC Unplugged format, he was joined by Sylvain on "Personality Crisis," and then Sami, Gass Wild, Tony Mann and a host of other musicians with high spirits to spare. The night was a great mix of performances and spontaneous musical creativity, by some of the most talented musicians around.

And of course, throughout, those addictive German Chocolate Cake drinks never stopped flowing through me. Folks hung out long after the playing stopped (though it picked up again a few times), and I plugged my iBook into the board to keep the place rockin. One thing I like about Otto's is having the two rooms, offering a choice between the rear jamming space and the DJ tunes up front. Something for everyone (though I missed on some of the jamming as I stepped in for the DJ up front).

Now, onto and into a "New Year" (arbitrary ticks on the timeline, I say), setting my sights on making up for having put in only about five hours at work in the past three weeks. Let's keep it alive and kickin' in 2k+4!!

Cheerz, all.