Robert Lund - Man About Town
In Like A Lion? Out Like A Lamb? Hah!
Not my month of March. I'd been going on for months about how I've been cutting down on the night life, doing and seeing less in the clubs. Well, maybe it's Springtime or maybe I just stored up some energy, but the pace has been picking up again. Still juggling more web sites all the time, but maybe just making more efficient use of club time, cuz I've taken in some great shows this month.
St. Punkrick's Day
I couldn't miss this show at Continental featuring Banana Fish Zero and Murphy's Law! This was billed as BFZ's final show, and most people I know were bursting with anticip-p-pation for weeks. It took my breath away when I first heard BFZ was "over", as I've regarded them and their music for years on a different level from all the other bands I know and love. The split was John's choice alone, and I had to respect his decisiveness in doing what he felt he needed to do in order to do something different with the music he was writing. There was some trepidation in the air about this last show; the analogy was made to getting together for one final fuck after a couple has broken it off - which can be the best or worst depending on their state of mind. Well, everyone seems to have gotten their heads in the right place for this show, cuz it had to be their best ever. As I had hoped, it was a celebration of the best of a five-year body of work which will remain one of my most frequently played. I only wish they could have played a long enough set to do all 47 of the songs I have and love. But they did include "Bang Bang", permitting me to make one final five-second stage to sing my traditional "I hear you're lookin for a bigger toy" line.
I've usually not stuck around to hear additional bands after BFZ, preferring to leave with their music in my head. But Murphy's Law, now that's a band that can sustain my interest even then. All fired up with my typical "can do" attitude, I assured myself that I could stand right up front and center, all this moshin won't bother me none. The place was packed as Jimmy Gestapo and the band took the stage, and the mob imploded when the raging started. It was a harsh reality check for me, as rock-solid huge bodies started careening into me, and I managed to make it out to the safety of the rear only with maximum effort, acquiring a collection of bruises and scabs that brought me memories of the show for weeks. Punks - you gotta love 'em. These skanking mid-30s types were the dudes my teenaged son was hangin with in the 80s, so it's always a trip to get a taste of that life he lived from the inside.
Thinking I'd had about all I could stand, I was seduced into sticking around even longer by the sound a band from Ireland who were staying with Jimmy G. I was too blitzed to remember their name (damn!), but they combined traditional Irish folk music sounds with hardcore punk rock in the most fookin' enchanting way. The punk rock lead banjo and piccolo gave it a totally unique flavor, perfect for closing the St. Pat's show.
The Old Church
With a newly-focused lead singer and a new lineup, Dirty Mary started doing live gigs again after completing their new recording, and I was anxious to see them. Especially after a well-juiced Margaux slipped me an invite to their Friday the 18th show in the lavish environment of Avalon, the former Limelight where I and so many had so many good times in days gone by. My 20-year-old nephew had just come in from Minneapolis, on spring break from his Lutheran College, and the idea of clubbing in a church really blew him away too. We got there a while before the 10 PM showtime and joined the line outside. I checked with the doorman several times as 10 approached, and he assured me that the line was for the DM show. They weren't moving it, of course, doing that tired old tactic of maintaining a crowd outside for Friday night appearances. They finally started letting people in around 10:30, holding things up to reject the occasional would-be patron on grounds of inappropriate party attire. There were still several people ahead of us when we passed the first security dude, who told me to put out the cigarette. I said yeah, I'd put it out when I got to the door. Oops, wrong answer, almost got myself nixed. "Hey buddy, you're at a club now, you do EXACTLY as I say, you hear?" Wow, yeah, sure. Could he be confusing this with his other job at Riker's Island? Maybe not, but it seems like CO's must be a common role model for the pool of security people at lots of clubs today. Anyway, we made it through the entry gates, and got inside just as Dirty Mary were finishing up their final song! The crowd was really thin, there was no door traffic which should have kept us on line for the entire duration of the set, especially when the doorman kept assuring us that this was the line for this show. This qualifies as an official asshole encounter of the worst kind.
We did a tour of the interior, which has undergone considerable renovation since I last went there a few years ago. I used to love the juxtaposition of the secular club scene with the remaining ecclesiastical artifacts, all those stained glass saints looking down on the rock revelry. No more, the windows have been covered over with false walls, and the modernization has seriously diluted the "spirit" of the place. I'd pretty much written that place off as somewhere to go since there hasn't been anything going on there that appealed to me in recent years. This finalized that, and I think it'll always have to be that way. That venue is high-cost and high-maintenance, calling for more cash outlay than the NYC rock scene can provide. So it'll probably always be booked to cater to the masses who listen to pop radio, sustaining the required cash outlay with those high-priced drinks (I got the tiniest glass of wine I've ever seen for 8 bucks). And not only do the intentional long lines they hold outside give the appearance of a highly desirable place to be, it probably makes many lame-brains think they're into something popular to have to wait to get in. If folks can walk up and go right in, the place looks so shamefully common. Piss on 'em all!
Alright, so fortunately the band had an active month, I was able to catch them on the 28th at Continental. Wow! No longer an all-girl band, with ass-kicking Beans on drums, but three chicks and a guy in the back works fine for me. Lead singer Jenny Gunns no longer has to split her attention quite as much between vocals and guitar, as they've added a lead guitarist Kym Pulsive (formerly of The Barflys) who rounds out the frontal trio perfectly. They've got great new songs, and the old ones I've known for years come alive like never before. And, as much as I used to love seeing Jenny play bass with SLUNT, it seems that role wasn't as fulfilling as being the front woman for DM, and she's putting a lot of stored-up energy into her performance that puts it over the top.
I deviated from my normal Wednesday visit to Don Hill's on the 30th to catch Bantam's CD Release Party at this Suffolk St. bar. Pretty cool place - bar & stage upstairs, and a bar & lounge downstairs with red painted walls with just enough graffiti, and a DJ spinning good old rock tunes. Arriving early, I got a chance to hear a band I'd heard good things about for some time, Rockets and Cars. Great songs with good lyrics, lots of dynamic and rhythmic variation, and songs in all different keys (I get so tired of hearing nothing but the key of E all night, bless it's simple heart). Don't miss this band, they've got a powerful thing going.
Bantam did most of the tunes from their new CD "Suicide Tourist" and they all measure up to the quality of their first BANTAM CD. Lead singer Gina's voice has a beautiful tone, right on pitch and never abrasive even on the most intensely delivered lines. Her guitar playing meshes seamlessly with Doug's bass, and master drummer Pete is a blessing as always. I knew pre-Lunachick Gina as a 14-year-old young woman who used to hang out with my son back in the day, and it's so great to see what she has accomplished.
So life goes on, I can't give up the running around entirely, as I go on learning how to fit it all in with more work. It should be interesting to see how I can keep this up, as I have to find a new home and move within a couple of months. I'll find a way.