|Hick'ry Hawkins and the Panty Sniffers.|
The rain would not be denied.
Just as the sun began to set Friday the skies opened and dumped a month’s supply of rain on the city in a few hours. A wet patch in a four-lane highway was so deep it almost stopped my car dead in its tracks. The visibility was measured in inches instead of feet and the red and blue lights of emergency vehicles blurred through the streets as the gods arbitrarily decided to test everyone’s driving skills at once. It was goddamn miserable.
|Jason and the Punknecks|
Using those criteria, New Brookland Tavern is a well-designed club. Which is to say it’s horribly designed, but it perfectly meets the needs of a dirty, chaotic night of rock and roll. The stage is shoved into a corner and has given many a musician a taste of vertigo as they try to figure out to whom, exactly, they’re playing. The area designated for the audience isn’t much larger than the stage, while the bar area is spacious, open and parallel to the performers. It divides the club’s patrons into two distinct social classes: those who want to mingle and those who to see the band. And they’re standing next to each other just a few feet away from the performers.
|The Holy Roller Sideshow|
Have I mentioned yet I love New Brookland Tavern? Because I don’t think I’m making myself clear enough. I love New Brookland Tavern. Love it.
|Patron-created wall art at NBT. I Heart New Brookland Tavern.|
At New Brookland Tavern last Friday I paid $10, saw a guy offer to let the audience staple his balls to his thigh for $100, got invited to a strip club and had June Carter’s satanic love child feed me half of her cinnamon roll. I left the club damp, drunk and pretty damn satisfied with the night.
Let me put it this way: It’s like an Andy Hardy movie directed by David Lynch, scripted by Iggy Pop and scored by an orchestra of the damned. I wouldn’t have been surprised had I seen a 20-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis come staggering in with the rest of the crew.
The whole thing definitely has a “Let’s Put on a Show” vibe, one that matched the sometimes tactile NBT environment to a tee. One minute you’re having a drink next to a guy with his whole life literally tattooed on his face, the next you’re pissing in a urinal in full view of beautiful burlesque models.
On the bill, in no particular order, were The Squidling Bros. Circus Sideshow, Guitar Bomb, Jason and the Punknecks, Viva Le Vox, Hick'ry Hawkins and the Holy Roller Sideshow. To illustrate how fast and loose this tour is, arguably the night’s main attraction – Hick’ry Hawkins – didn’t have his own band and was backed by an assortment of musicians taken from the night’s other acts. And IT ROCKED.
It helped that Hawkins had an amazing talent pool to pull from for his temp band (called The Panty Sniffers, if you must know.) As we like to say here in the South, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a profoundly talented musician. And yes, we really talk like that.
|Viva La Vox.|
Guitar Bomb’s Mikey Devigne also made an impression on me. The two-piece outfit made an unholy amount of noise and had a kineticism that was equal parts bluegrass and speed metal, minus the corny fetishism that goes along with those genres. In a lot of ways Guitar Bomb was the most “real” act of the night … just two guys in street clothes who were more interested in music than image.
NOTE: All photos by me.
|The Illustrated Penguin.|
2010 Coney Island Cockabilly Roadshow DATES
August 20 : Milestone (Charlotte, NC)
August 21 : Plaza Bowl (Richmond, VA)
August 22 : The Taphouse at Ghent (Norfolk, VA)
August 24 : Sidebar (Baltimore, MD)
August 25 : Asylum (Washington, DC)
August 26 : North Star (Philadelphia, PA)
August 27 : The Abbey Bar (Harrisburg, PA)
August 28 : Asbury Lanes (Asbury Park, NJ)
August 29 : Lady Luck (Black Rock, CT)
August 31 : The Dover Brickhouse (Portsmouth, NH)
September 1 : Middle East (Boston, MA)
September 2 : Club Hell (Providence, RI)
September 3 : Sideshow by the Seashore (Coney Island USA)