Sunday, February 06, 2005

Shooting at the Walls of Heartache

On Friday night, I saw Scandal. That's right, I said Scandal. Yeah, "bang bang, I am the warrior" and all that shit. Now how did this happen, you may be thinking? Well, simple. My friend Ian got 10 free tickets for this show and since I'm a casual fan of theirs (I have both of their records on vinyl, though I play 2 songs on each of them) and it was free and a bunch of other people we know came out as well, I decided to go. The club that it was at is a place called The Starland Ballroom, which is located in Sayreville, NJ (the hometown of Bon Jovi and Overkill, among others, and generally the heavy metal capital of Jersey; it's known as "Slayerville" if that gives you any idea). Now, I've been there twice before (I saw Fountains of Wayne there for free and then a few months later, a really sucky Psychedelic Furs show, though The Alarm, who opened, were surprisingly fantastic), so they do book good acts sometimes.

Anyway, as you might imagine, going in there for a nostalgia show like Scandal (apparently it was their 2nd show together after 20 years) meant that you were going into a time warp. I saw more feathered hair, mullets or quasi-mullets, teased-up hair, moustaches and other styles that haven't been popular for 15+ years there than I've seen in many years. Between acts, they were playing late '80s hair metal band videos of bands like Britny Fox and Warrant, many of which I admittedly recognized from watching way too much MTV in the late '80s and which made me realized that I'm glad that Nirvana, et al. killed that entire scene (or at least didn't make it so prominent).

Oh and let's talk about the beer situation. The only things they had on tap other than Bud (ok folks what do American beer and having sex on a boat have in common? Give up? They're both fucking close to water. ha) was this monstrosity called Red Hook (at least that's what I think it was), which later made me feel not so good later in the evening since I discerned that they probably didn't clean the tap properly.

As for the band, well none of the songs were memorable other than their 4 most-known ones (opener "Love's Got a Line on You", "Goodbye to You", "The Warrior" and "Beat of a Heart"). They were never a particularly great band, but I think they had some good songs (the ones I mentioned) back in their day and straddled the line between early '80s new wave and AOR much like The Plimsouls, The Romantics, The Motels and bands of that ilk. It was good to see Patty Smyth so into it and prancing around on stage (and she still looks fantastic, too) . Unfortunately, the rest of the band had the stage presence of cement and played like it, too. Honestly, they were competent, but sounded like a cover band. Oh well, sometimes you get what you pay for.

And last night, I started off at The Underscore, a new club on the Upper East Side (it was nice to see more punk and ska kids in the neighborhood where I work in than they probably ever see in one place ever!) where 3 ska bands were playing. My friend Sue had told me about the show since the saxophonist of one of the bands (Rudie Crew) lives in her neighborhood in Brooklyn. I met him before their set and he told me that in addition to playing with the Stubborn All-Stars, he was one of the horn players that Rancid took on tour with them in 1996 when they were on the Lollapalooza tour, so that was pretty cool. Another cool thing about this show was that the Hub City Stompers ("Hub City" is a nickname for New Brunswick) were playing. Some of their members were in another New Brunswick, NJ based band called Inspecter 7, who I used to see play all the time when I was in college and what not. I hadn't seen any of them in years, so it was nice to talk to one of them before the show. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for their set since my friend Norm's band Gold Streets was playing downtown and I had promised Norm that I'd go, so I left after Rudie Crew's set and tried to catch them.

Again, unfortunately, because the 4 and 5 trains have been messed up all weekend, it took ALMOST AN HOUR AND A HALF for me to get down to the Financial District where they were playing (a bizarre venue called The Pussycat Lounge, which is a pretty cool rock club upstairs and downstairs, a lame modern day Manhattan strip club where there's a 6-foot barrier between the customers and the strippers, who aren't even allowed to be fully nude, and the clientele seemed to comprised of a lot of Wall Street types, which makes sense given the neighborhood that it's in). Needless to say, I missed their set and by the time that I got there, the band who played after them had just finished. I did manage to catch Battery (an all-girl trio who sound a lot like Sleater-Kinney), however, and I ended up hanging out with everyone afterwards. After helping to unload their gear and after getting some food, we ended up at this surprisingly (because of the neighborhood it's in) great and un-trendy (I love neighborhood type bars and I hate packed, cramped, trendy places) bar on E. 6th St. where we essentially completely occupied the place, got free shots, danced like maniacs while great music (Social Distortion, The Clash, early Pretenders, Billy Idol, etc.) blared. All in all, it was a very fun evening.

Well today's the Super Bowl, so go Eagles! Man I hate the fucking Patriots, but that's for another time (after the game).


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