Mig Mike, gimme a draft.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Punk / metal karaoke is dead

It's Monday night, and traditionally, at least from my perspective, the only thing usually worth checking out has been punk/metal karaoke at Arlene's Grocery. I know to anyone outside of town, you're thinking, "that sounds fucking retarded." Well, honestly yes, it is, but it goes above and beyond that and actually achieves the status of retardedly awesome. They had a live band that would play your favorite punk or metal hits, the crowd was huge to the point that you could hardly move, and most of the people who got up were die hards who went every week, and frankly were surprisingly good. Ok, I know that karaoke has the stigma of being the most annoying shit on earth, but the scene there was rabid and it made it a pretty exciting event to go see. Plus, it was free, which is a definite perk in NYC. Anyway, the band was great (they're a bunch of band nerds with no attitudes) and the MC was this dude Owen from the UK who was funny as hell. There is actually a documentary about the scene where supposedly you can see footage of Renee's roommate Heather on stage and see the rest of us in the crowd. I've still never seen it.

So my brother was visiting a couple of weeks ago, and I'm relatively broke, so I was trying to find free stuff for us to do and decided that we should go check out punk metal karaoke. About a year or so ago, apparently some drama went down at Arlene's, and the band and Owen, who someone told me was also Arlene's manager, left and went to the Continental. There is now a new band at Arlene's on Mondays. So our plan was to check out the old band at Continental and then go see what the new scene at Arlene's was like. I assumed that the crowd would follow the old band, since it was hard to imagine it being amusing without them or Owen. And I always respected that they had managed to create a scene around something as unlikely as punk karaoke.

On the way, I jokingly said that if nobody was there at Continental we should get the hell out of there before we got attacked by someone trying to get us to sign up on the list to do a song. Yes, I know I'm a hypocrite for bitching about the decline of the scene even though I've never gotten up to sing, but basically I'm a big pussy and everyone who used to get up was really impressive. I was a watcher. We show up, and alas, the club maybe had 25 people in it, half of which were members of the bands that played before and hadn't hauled their equipment out yet. Plus the beers were frigging expensive and the cocktail waitress told me some anal crap about keeping the aisle clear (even though nobody was even there) because I had angled my chair slightly. Overall, a really lame experience.

So we get the hell out of there just as we see someone coming over to accost us to sign up, and head over to Arlene's to check it out. I was thinking that the crowd must have stayed there after the Arlene-Owen breakup, since no one was at the Continental. We walked into what was essentially a frat party. Granted, it had been a long time since I went to go check it out, but apparently punk/metal karaoke turned into freedom rock karaoke. And believe me, one of the greatest things about NYC is the absence of fratboys. If you avoid a few areas around NYU, you can live a completely frat-free existence. Anyway, there is nothing even remotely pleasurable about watching some future family-owned company heir sing a song by Free, Pearl Jam, or McTallica. And even the band is lame. The MC simply yells the equivalent of "WOOOO! Do you guys like to rock?? If you're ready to rock, let me hear you yell WOOOO!!!" (not even Ric Flair style, which would be cool), and the band reminds me of a bunch of roadies finally having their day. "I am so rocking the fuck out of this Alice in Chains song. I am SO getting laid tonight." And sadly, they were probably right, but Jesus F-ing C, who wants to watch SERIOUS karaoke musicians.

So anyway, the point of this ramble is that the era of punk/metal karaoke is sadly over. I saw on the website for the old band that their Feb. 20th show at the Continental will be their last one there. Hopefully, they will be able to establish themselves better at a different club, but I have a feeling that those days are done. Peeps, tip a 40 for punk/metal karaoke.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Torture Time!!!

If you live outside of Louisiana, that is.

Admittedly, plate lunch #6 looks a little scary. Also, I think #5 may be from that shitty grocery on Surrey. These are all from Jiro's site.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Japanese dude's zydeco pages

Here's some stuff from Jiro's site. He's a Japanese guy who plays the accordion and visits Lafayette every year to take photos of plate lunches. I admit, I have no idea what he's saying on his site, but he sure packs a lot into his visits. He hits zydeco clubs almost every night and during the day they drive around to all the restaurants and hit the sights. He's got photos from tons of clubs, some of which I've never even heard of. I have to admit, I respect the dude's passion. He comes over from another country, hits all the good clubs, munches all the good food, documents all the stuff I miss about the place now that I'm gone, most of which I never even looked into while I was there. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.

Chris Ardoin and Jiro at Slim's Y-Ki-Ki

Nu Step at Wranglers

El Sido's

Hamilton's Place

Geno Delafose at Hamilton's


Best Stop boudin and cracklin central

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Captured By Robots

I just got these developed. They're from the Captured By Robots show at Tribeca Rock Club on November 18. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend checking this out. It's a band composed of one guy and a bunch of robots that he built, and that actually play this weird punk/metal Ministry sounding stuff. They were all dressed as Star Trek characters and would insult him and the audience between songs. The big robot (Riker) had levers that would fret the strings, and then some kind of hammer type thing that would strum them. I guess if you passed through a black hole, and came out on the other side in an alternate universe, and went to a suburban alternate universe Chuck E. Cheese, this might be what you would expect to find. Anyway, it was awesome.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How to convert your mom into a hipster

This was supposed to be a photo essay on how to convert your mom into a hipster in six easy steps, but as you can see, the experiment was not succesful. I actually converted her into the retarded/ADD kid whose mom drops him off at the skatepark so that she doesn't have to deal with him for the rest of the day. Alas, fashion conversion is not an exact science.



If you want to check out a slideshow of the process, it's here.

Here's a photo of a previous attempt to gangsta-fy her a little. As you can see, my mom has more street cred than yours.

And here's what she did to the cajun sausage I sent from Cajun Grocer. Sauerkraut!!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sounds Below Sea Level update

Ok, exams are done, jury duty is over, visitors are gone, we don't have to move, etc. so it's back to wasting my life on the internet. Here's a quick post about some stuff related to the Sounds Below Sea Level project.

The comp apparently made it to #3 at WNYU (radio station for NYU in Manhattan). This is from an email from the station's music director:
"Just wanted to say thanks for sending the compilation. It actually reached number three on our chart this week! Its definitely a great cause, and we're very happy to be playing it! Cheers."
Here's their chart for Dec. 19th.

Here are a couple of plays (Zydepunks, Normals) from Pat Duncan's Dec. 15th show on WFMU (NYC) and one (Morning 40) from Station Manager Ken's Jan. 4 show. Also, here are some (The Other Planets, Egg Yolk Jubilee, Morning 40) from Liz Berg's Dec. 13th show and her Jan. 17th show.

Here's a review from Jan. 3 in Gambit. It's a little confusing, coming off at first as though they are dissing it, then calling it excellent at the end. Anyway, here is the part about the comp:
"New Orleans Underground: Sounds Below Sea Level (independent) is no more uniform or stellar than New Orleans Will Rise Again, but like the latter album, this CD benefiting Habitat for Humanity and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic shows how different musical trends manifested themselves in New Orleans. While little of the music is distinctive enough to warrant a national audience, everyone represented here certainly deserves an audience of some kind. It's tempting to say that underground rock 'n' roll here has gotten better because the songs by Morning 40 Federation, Zydepunks and Rotary Downs are among the best on this comp, but it may simply be a function of improvements in recording technology. Tracks from 1980 by the Cold, the Normals and Wayward Youth are dated by their productions and jittery, New Wave styles, but as a compilation designed to show outsiders another side of the musical culture that Hurricane Katrina put at risk, it's excellent."
I don't put a lot of weight into their negative take on the older tracks, because those have been among the stuff that has gotten positive remarks from other sources here in NYC (like WNYU and WFMU). I was also surprised to get a message from a Yahoo group called GarageNYC about the comp from someone who had heard about it on a messageboard and was excited.

There is a review planned by Offbeat, and also one planned by The Ind. Also, Leo at Antigravity generously donated ad space for the comp in the January issue. It should be available in New Orleans and Baton Rouge already, but it's not online yet. And I would like to thank The Zydepunks, WWOZ, The Normals (Electric Earl), The Cold (and Three Chord City), Samba Rio (MIB), The Jazz Foundation, Orbis Quintus, and a mysterious porn site for linking to the nolacomp tripod page.

Bernard (One Man Machine) has a showcase set up at One Eyed Jacks. Here's the lineup:
Friday March 3: The Zydepunks, The Other Planets, Egg Yolk Jubilee
Saturday March 4: One Man Machine, A Particularly Vicious Rumor, Rotary Downs
These are going to be two great shows.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Vintage Lafayette photos

All right, finally a site with historic Lafayette photos. Check out Lafayette LINC's photo section. I could look at this kind of stuff for hours. I had been wondering why none of the Clerk of Court's stuff was scanned on their site, and I guess it was because they're letting these guys do it. Anyway, it's interesting to see all of the buildings and places that are no longer around. They have cool photos of the transit system and of the city in 1981, but the ones from the Clerk of Court collection are the best. Here are a few:

Broussard Feed and Seed building in 1981. That's the old Pussycat Lounge, from before it was used in a movie set (Southern Comfort). Supposedly, that building started out as a warehouse for Sears and Roebuck. The lowered area where Poster Children played was originally the loading dock.

Cool photo of the Jefferson Theater. I'm not totally sure, but I think this was where the parking lot is next to the Gordon Hotel.

I think this is all Teche Drugs and gifts now, but I think it used to have On Time Fashions on the corner.

The area behind the Jefferson Hotel (now elderly apartments) looks completely different.

Buckhorn Bar in the old Gordon Hotel. Last I remember, it was a beauty salon I think.

The website also has various urban development plans. According to the site, there are two approved alignments for I49 through downtown. One is down the existing Evangeline Thrwy alignment, the other will use the old railroad yard property by the old train station. If they use the railroad alignment, the old Pussycat is doomed. Of course if they use the other path, everything between the two sides of the thruway is doomed. A lose-lose situation.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jahn Fago photos

Check out John Fago's photo site. He took photos at a lot of the local zydeco clubs in 1985. Some of them are no longer around. Here are some of the Lafayette ones:

The Bon Ton Roulee club. Anyone know where this was? Maybe on the Block?

How about City Meat? There's an old grocery on either S. Orange or S. Magnolia that I'm thinking maybe.

J & J Pleasure Lounge. I'm guessing on Simcoe?

J & J again.

These aren't in Lafayette:

Papa Paul's Club, Mamou. This place looks so badass.

Main Street Lounge, Basile.

Clifton Chenier's van and Caddy.

Clento's Lounge, Point Blue.

His site has a lot more than that. Really it's got some of the best zydeco photos I've seen. There's another site that I found a while back with mid 70s photos, but I can't find it right now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Various post-worthy links

First off, Primo has a Santeria myspace page now. Check it out, it's got four tracks and he says he'll be rotating other ones periodically.

And since I never miss a chance to make fun of my friends, check out this account of a doomed She-devils show in 2000. It's the Feb. 18th entry. Basically, it sounds like it was doomed by a deadly combination of Bernard and the wacky weed. Also, check out this one that says that B is a local, and should be a national, treasure.

Here's a google video of the old USL dorms being imploded.

And here's a cheesy farewell Ice Gators video.

I got this through the Sounds Below Sea Level project. It's a Katrina tribute song from Bastian Förstner in Germany. Check it out: Still New Orleans. I shall refrain from commenting.

Barry Cowsill's body has been identified in New Orleans. He was the bass player for the Cowsills, an old garage band from Rhode island. He had been missing since the hurricane. Read a little more about it and check out a Cowsills track here.

Cherie Breaux's friends are releasing a movie about Christian Music called Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music. I'm not sure if it's up my alley, but it looks like it might be cool. It's playing here at Upright Citizen's Brigade and in Austin at the Alamo. Cherie moved to Chicago and married one of the guys in The Frames (Rob I think).

Ok, this has nothing to do with Louisiana, but check out this video of all of the mayoral candidates for NYC. Well, almost all of them. The guy we know from Haunted Pussy isn't in it, probably because he was in jail at the time for telling a reporter "he could stab him in the face and people would think he was a hero like Bernie Goetz". Anyway, it's mostly boring bullshit, but check out Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is TOO DAMN HIGH party. He starts at about 19:15, but you should watch the last few seconds of the nerd before him to get the full effect. I like the way they keep bleeping out "damn".

Russian mail-order amputees. FINALLY.

This is disgusting.

Monday, January 09, 2006

More Grant Street photos

Here are some more photos and stuff from Grant Street. Many of these are from the Grant Street gallery.

Muddy Waters promo (from the Grant Street gallery)

Red Stick Ramblers, 2002. This is my favorite because not only does it show the back rooms, but it also shows them doing their laundry.(from the Grant Street gallery)

BB King promo (from the Grant Street gallery)

Santeria, 2002 (from the Grant Street gallery)

Stevie Ray Vaughan promo (from the Grant Street gallery)

Jen Frank, 2003. Admit it, you were seriously bummed when you found out she got married. (from Yoshitake's site)

Allen Toussaint promo (from the Grant Street gallery)

Zachary Richard, 1986 (from Zachary Richard's gallery)

Henry Gray, 1999 (from Henry Gray's gallery)

Frigg-a-go-go, 2000 (from Travis Gauthier's site.) There are a lot more pictures from a Santeria, Frigg-a-go-go, and Urban Complaint show here. There's also an old web page for Rumble Fish. Was he in that?

Clifton Chenier record recorded at Grant Street in 1981

Buckwheat Zydeco and Lil Buck Senegal backstage, 2003 (from Terri Fensel's site)