- Man About Town
Rock and Beyond
New York Waste, Dec. 2002
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As many of you might perceive, my musical life seems to be centered around rock and punk these days. But as many of you might not know, it has not always been so. After my early days singing a cappella doo-wop on the streets and elsewhere, I went into a classical period - singing in choirs, doing a stint as a church organist and choir director, playing a harpsichord which I built (at home and in a 60s-ish band), and other forays beyond the world of rock-n-roll. Bach was the equivalent of a crazy rocker in his time, and it's all wonderful.
SO, although I've unfortunately never acquired any of their albums, every time I've heard the music or seen the videos of The Residents over the years, I've recognized that these people exist on a magical plane beyond that in which we live. So I knew I could not miss their show at Warsaw on Dec. 15th, the final date on their Demons Dance Alone Tour. Any expectations I harbored were far surpassed by this astounding performance, for which the elegant Warsaw ballroom provided an appropriate setting. The familiar eyeball heads are a thing of the past. Still not a face to be seen - the band lurked in the dark at the rear, clad in rags made of dark plastic netting, helmets and headphones covering their heads. The two singers (a man and a woman) wore camouflage suits, heads wrapped in rags, with masks ending below the nose lending a somewhat grotesque air to them. And throughout, a lone demon danced alone, in a ballet which enhanced the vivid nature of the songs. At one special moment, The Demon pranced on stage cradling what appeared to be a baby wrapped in red silk swaddling; when it was unwrapped to reveal a baby eyeball-being, the crowd went wild at the sight of their beloved familiar icon.
The troupe's other-worldly appearance contrasts the humanity conveyed
by the poignant chansons, sung in alternating solos and in duo dialogs.
My mind doesn't normally remember first-time lyrics, but one verse sung
by the bizarre female stuck with me:
Ah, but the very next night is was back to NYC for an awesome rock show,
"American Heavy," a compilation of rock bands
put together by Pat (of Gaggle of Cocks). Special guest DJ Bobby Lundo
provided seamless musical transitions between the live performances, and
Kelly and Slim from www.americanheavy.net
supplied "lower class fashion for lower class people."
Finally Pat, the man who'd put the whole night together, took to the stage with his Gaggle of Cocks. I've raved about this band before, and I just can't rave enough. I could listen to hammering rage, intense precision syncopations and musical changes beyond the pale of this band all night. And the sound was even richer when Bully Walt Stack joined them for a song. But wait, those folks who left after Gaggle cuz they didn't know the last band really missed out this time. But when Pat says "check these guys out," I know they must be something. Thunderosa (from Rochester, NY) wrapped up the night with some thunderous rock and roll from the heartlands, coming at us like an 18-wheeled tanker of beer. I'm told they toured with The Reverend Horton Heat, which sounded entirely fitting to me. When it was all over, everyone shared that sweet exhaustion that comes from indulging in hard rock just a wee bit more than you really need to. The next American Heavy show will be held Jan. 10th at The Continental. I say, bloody exciting!
Is that all, you ask? Of course not! I just can't go on about everything else I did this month, or any month. Like the Sauna party atop the Gershwin Hotel, with Mad Juana; Frankie's "Week of Wood" birthday celebration, a music marathon; Mondo Porno at Arlene's; yet another great BITCH night at Don Hill's with Slunt and Queen V; Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo, remember?) at Joe's Pub, then Eggplant Queens and Superthrive at Continental; and the amazing Jimi Hendrix 60th Birthday Tribute at Don Hill's - to mention but a few great nights. Never a dull moment in this town!