Crimson & Clover

Flier by Janet Kim

BITCH (Kill Rock Stars, ex Bitch & Animal, As seen in Shortbus)
Armed with an electric violin, a ukulele and a bass guitar, Bitch
(formerly of Bitch and Animal), is on the road and rampage again with
a fistful of new songs from her debut solo and Kill Rock Stars
release, Make This/Break This. She is an entertainer and songwriter
who has pulled audiences to their feet worldwide with her politically
charged and personally wrenched lyrics, her atypical instrumentation,
minimalist sound and wildly dramatic stage persona. Make This/Break
This, produced by June Millington (Fanny) and mixed by Roma Baran
(Laurie Anderson), was made over the course of two years with her
engineer, Wayne Schrengohst, in her home studio in NYC. Upon
completing the record, Bitch played a sold-out 5-week residency in
NYC, which landed her on the cover of two magazines. The record was
featured on Showtime’s “The L Word,” and has caught the ear of the
Indigo Girls, who took her on their fall record release tour.
Audiences also caught Bitch making her film-acting debut in John
Cameron Mitchell’s (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) feature film, Shortbus.
(Kill Rock Stars)

FUSE DJ’s
When the untimely departure of girL party left a hole in the city’s
social offerings for queer women, resident DJs Kit and Phoenix and a
posse of organizers and artists decided to do something about it.
Their vision was to keep the monthly dance party and performance space
alive as a safe and accessible spot for women, including transgender
women and men, to come together. Fuse was born, bringing the music
back every month starting this Saturday at Sal’s—without missing a
beat since girL’s last bash in December. Same time, same $5 cover,
same cheap drinks. Fuse organizers plan to feature local spoken-word
and dance artists in the downstairs space while stepping up party
themes and promotions (read: more freebies). So put on your hot shirt,
pocket a fiver and get ready for some pool, because the party’s
getting started all over again. (Angelina Conti, PW)

STEPH HAYES (Good Problems, Shooting Ropes, ex-Stargazer Lily)
“…The Good Problems exude an androgynous take on Ryan Adams’ studied
cool that seems even more affected than his, but their seemingly
sincere material balances things out nicely.” (Jim Reed, Connect
Savannah)

LOTSIX (Shooting Ropes)
LotSix is a Philadelphia based musician, songwriter, & multimedia
performance artist who jokingly refers to her unique art as
“self-karaoke”: live singing to original prerecorded music with
projected images and lyrics. LotSix treats audiences with smart,
funny, danceable, queer-tinged, laptop electro rock songs accompanied
by videos that further convey the many dimensions of her angsty wry
humor.

UPCOMING SUGAR TOWNS:


MON OCT 8
9PM $7 21+
Tritone 1508 South Street

PARADISE ISLAND (Jenny Hoyston of Erase Errata)
From a certain perspective, Jenny Hoyston is one of San Francisco’s
unsung talents. Sure, her achievements in Erase Errata have been well
documented and internationally appreciated, but consider the whole
woman, not just the guitar/trumpet/vox monster. Musical projects
abound, including the ukulele-driven Paradise Island and other solo
projects as well as the recent CD Hallways of Always with friend
William Elliott Whitmore. But at the monthly queer-friendly literary
night K’vetsh, Hoyston goes Renaissance woman to become a writer and
editor as well. Who knew? Her ´zine, Don’t Worry, is subtitled “You’re
Breaking Up” this issue, and includes contributions by Michelle Tea,
Tara Jepsen, and lots of other locals. (SF Weekly)

GEMINI WOLF
Calling Gemini Wolf an electronic rock act is like saying Noam
Chomsky’s just a linguist. It’s not enough. This blip-folksy duo —
Pandar and Mikronesia — expanded the initial tinyness of their
pastoral synth-sound to make something soulful and sweeping. You could
blame the addition of a dub-hungry bassist and some chamber string
kids. But they’re just two more reasons its debut, Josiah, has the
makings of an epic. (AD Amorosi, City Paper)

RED SKATE RED
After calling themselves Under Not Over, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Stephanie Nelson (The Tunics) and drummer Emil Weintraub (Beat Jamz) decided to revert back to their old band name that they shared with the late activist/performer/force of nature Axi Nue and current Clockcleaner bassist Karen Horner. CP’s Pat Rapa described their music as “intense riffs, dancey grooves and a rebellious attitude.” Bassist Jen Rice (Club Lyfestiles, The Celebs) replaces Horner.

DJ LIZBOT (WPRB)
Lizbot spins beeps & whirls while records fly deftly through her robotic appendages, resulting in a frothy melange of no wave, prog, folk, noise, funk, punk, serialism & any other genre you can think of.

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September 28, 2007 at 12:37 am 3 comments

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE
Purple Rhinestone Eagle have been at it for years now, coming off like early Sleater-Kinney with a jones for stoner rock (which, yes, essentially equals S-K’s final album). But since they’ve been tearing shit up primarily in West Philly, it’s there that their reputation has remained. Maybe that’s why the all-girl trio is moving to Portland, Ore., following a string of local shows. Even if that city’s rich indie ore makes West Philly’s basement scene look like Manayunk, it’s still sad to see the ladies go. There’s a lesson here: If we champion some great bands but ignore others, we could lose Maple Rabbit and Bad News Bats too. (Doug Wallen, PW)

NICKY CLICK (Crunks Not Dead)

Much like Le Tigre or Gravy Train, Nicky melds her politics with energetic electronic dance music. She is also an aspiring hip-hop diva in the Peaches mold. (Church Of Girl Radio)

RED SKATE RED (Last seen opening for The Shondes)
After calling themselves Under Not Over, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Stephanie Nelson (The Tunics) and drummer Emil Weintraub (Beat Jamz) decided to revert back to their old band name that they shared with the late activist/performer/force of nature Axi Nueand current Clockcleanerbassist Karen Horner. CP’s Pat Rapa described their music as “intense riffs, dancey grooves and a rebellious attitude.” Bassist Jen Rice (Club Lyfestiles, The Celebs) replaces Horner

SHEPHERDESS (Hilken Mancini of Punk Rock Aerobics, ex-Fuzzy/Come/Operators, Kimchee Recs)
Singer/guitarist/pedal-hopper Hilken Mancini (Fuzzy, Punk Rock Aerobics), violinist/baritone guitarist Emily Arkin (The Operators), bassist Winston Braman (Come, Consonant) and drummer Mike Savage (Count Me Outs, Fudge) describe themselves as Cat Power on speed. Or perhaps Kate Bush fronting The Wipers. Or Captain Beefheart falling, hitting his head, and waking up believing that he is Built to Spill.

DJ BUNNYSTYLE (Make Yr Break)

DJ Bunnystyle is a classically trained musician turned math-rocker turned film student turned DJ. He is always a feminist and always queer and always happy to play music for people to dance to. DJ Bunnystyle and friends have a regular queer dance party called Make Yr Break the first Saturday of every month at Dahlak restaurant in West Philly – 4708 Baltimore Ave.

AND THEN….

TUES 8/28 at Tritone, 1508 South Street, 9PM, $6 21+

STINKMITT(Vancouver, Cochon Records)
Guys, get ready to get all hot and bothered—and uncomfortable. Surrey, B.C.’s Stink Mitt are back to remind you about tampons, menstrual blood and erectile dysfunction, possibly in that order, if you’re extra squeamish. But their lyrics still deal largely in sex, sluts, secrets, stardom and suicide, backed by the undeniable rhyming and vocalizing skills of MCs Jenni Craige and Betti Forde and producer BigStuff. Blending the classic synthpop side of Prince with a few fluid ounces of modern electro, their music will surely put dance in your pants. And what a prescient tribute to Marilyn Monroe, what with another blonde train wreck in the news. (Lorraine Carpenter, Montreal Mirror)

SMALLTOWN DJS (Calgary, AB)
Mike Grimes and Pete Emes are those dudes known as Smalltown DJs. Based in Calgary,they currently (since 1999) run a weekly known as Hai Karate. Hai Karate and the Smalltown DJs were born out of the ashes of old style block parties, punk rock shows at community halls and the early nineties rave scene. Hanging with these dudes on any given night you will hear funk, pop, dancehall, rock, hip hop, house, breaks, club and bmore. The duo has released several mix cds and vinyl 12″s over the past few years – garnering attention and accolades from the far reaches of the globe. Over the past six years the Smalltown Djs have hosted and played alongside such artsits as Afrika Bambaataa, Lateef, Lyrics Born, Dj Assault, Jeru the Damaja, Tommie Sunshine, Chromeo, Mike Relm, Cosmo Baker and Dj Ayres ATrak, Low Budget, Diplo, James Lavelle, Kool Keith, Z-trip and Dj Radar, Fort Knox Five, and Maseo from De la Soul among many others. They also toured with the Steve-O from Jackass to promote his Out on Bail DVD.

DJ’S JUST JESS & KLEMBOTT (Get Some, Fuse, The Dive)

DIAMOND GIRL (Hands & Knees)

Winner of the Golden Unicorn Award for “DJ to Watch” from Philebrity’s Kelly White
Music that she plays:
dancey
housey
funky
electronic
Where You’ve Seen Her:
hands & knees @ the m room
10 year anniversary party @ fluid
memorial day party @ key west
vice party @ key west
bad music for bad people @ sal’s

August 22, 2007 at 1:06 am Leave a comment

Dance This Mess Around

st flier

BOYSKOUT (NYC, Alive Records)
How can you not love a band that cherry-picks from the best parts of ’80s synth-doom and ’90s K-punk? Boyskout — recently relocated from San Francisco to Brooklyn — twists their queercore in a spooky, sexy, dancy way that hasn’t been heard since CWA dropped “Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses” 11 years ago. (Maura Johnston, CP/Idolator)

UMLAUT (Record Release Party! Mems of The Hessians, Ex Golden Ball, Snow Fairies, and Men in Fur)
Umlaut started in Philadelphia with Andrea, Amy and Reric looking for a keys-heavy musical adventure. Kidnapped by pirates, they were forced to repeatedly play on a cruise ship in international waters where they honed their foreign-language skills. Thus, they are able to craft dancy, synth-poppy crowd pleasers in a myriad of styles and languages. Their creative process involves pizza, bongos, and lots of hairspray. And now, with Jayme and Angela on board, Umlaut is an unstoppable force destined to conquer all seven continents, nineplanets (including Pluto), and beyond!


MAPLE RABBIT

Maple Rabbit is a 3-person, all-keyboard video band that prefers their cuteness with edge, their politics with glitz and stop-motion, and their drum machines with careful harmonies. Expect matching outfits, melodies that will stick with you for days, and lyrics about everything from school picture day to the end of the world. Their performances feature original video projections, making for a unique and unforgettable multi-media experience. PW’s Doug Wallen writes, “Don’t let the bashful harmonies and kindergarten keyboards fool you. As cute as Maple Rabbit are, they’re also plenty pissed. On the West
Philly trio’s endearing six-song Love Love Death Death Fun Fun, their homespun twee packs spiky nods to global warming (“Apocalypse”), soured relationships (“Scarf Song”) and the Bush administration’s bungling in New Orleans (“Boat Song”). All that may sound trite on paper, but on record and live—with a carefully made video playing behind them for each song—such familiar sentiments feel brand-new.”

ILL EASE (NYC, Cochon Records)
Low fidelity and low self-esteem have always gone hand in shaky hand. But Elizabeth Sharp (a.k.a. ill ease) makes the combination arresting again…. She wallows in rhythm as well as rejection, dropping playroom instrumentation on deep, circular grooves like a moldy peach playing patty-cake with can. Bad times never seemed so good. (Spin)

DJ SILVIA LA CHICA YE YE (Secret Cinema)
A favorite spinner at many past sixties-music events in Philly, New York and her native country of Spain, Silvia is sure to have some new surprises and rare sides in the multiplying boxes of discs she keeps bringing over. Silvia moved to in 2004, from her birthplace in the Spanish city of Gijón in the green province of Asturias.

UPCOMING SUGAR TOWNS

SAT 8/25: Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Nicky Click (Crunks Not Dead), Red Skate Red, Sheperdess (Ex Operators, Kimchee Recs), DJ Bunnystyle $7

TUES 8/28: Stinkmitt (Montreal, Cochon Recs) DJ’s Just Jess & Klembott, Diamond Girl (Hands & Knees) $5

SAT 9/29: Bitch (of Bitch & Animal, Kill Rock Stars), Fuse DJ’s $8

MON 10/8: Paradise Island (Jenny Hoysten ex Erase Errata), Gemini Wolf, Red Skate Red

SAT 10/27: Special Halloween Drag Queen/Gay Boy Edition with Helen Back & The Str8 Razors, DJ’s Ricky Paul (Dumpsta Players & Baby Loves Disco) and Ryan Creed (Palare)

Wanna play a Sugar Town? Drop me a line at sarasherrATgmailDOTcom

July 24, 2007 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

Saturday and Upcoming Sugar Towns

st flier

As always, flier by “Chatty” Cathy Heard.

Tritone, 1508 South Street

RAREBIRDS (ex April Disaster, This Radiant Boy)
Following up 2005’s Flight Patterns EP at last, Rarebirds return this month with Burial at Sea, their first proper album. Singer/guitarist Carolynne McNeel leads a tight pack of local players—Adam Herndon,Keith Forsythe, Dave Dworanczyk and Rick Hass—to set up shop in the intersection of coffeehouse folk and bashful indie rock. Regardless of tempo, McNeel’s songs bask in such a daydream haze that her delicate lyrics and sleepy murmur demand closer attention still. The sugary”When You Sleep” (dig the keys and twang) and appropriately peppy “Caffeine Heartbeat” are immediate standouts, whereas “Snow Globe,”with its jazz tinges and ghostly backing vocals, hints at a new direction. (Doug Wallen, PW)

PANDA RIOT (Second-to-last show!)
As Philly’s fledgling Panda Riot, Brian Cook and Rebecca Scott aren’t out to reinvent the wheel. They’re content to program a drum machine, plug in a few pedals, don guitars and bliss out. Throw in Scott’s translucent singing, and the results fall between the Swirlies and early Spinanes, without the proper drumming. (Doug Wallen, PW)

SHE KEEPS BEES (ex English System)
There are few albums that are more endearing than the charmingly underproduced bedroom record, especially when that record features the introspective musings of a husky-voiced chanteuse. Under the moniker She Keeps Bees… There’s a hint of the alluring guttural quality of PJ Harvey, assuming Polly Jean spent an evening with a banjo and some old Merle Haggard records. Jessica Larrabee has the kind of twangy, whiskey-soaked voice you would assume was nurtured in a dying coal mining town, not Brooklyn. (Washington DC City Paper)

DARLING ARMS (Montreal)
Darling Arms is the nom de plume of former One Candle Power vocalist
Christina Musacchio. Her debut EP is a set of extremely sad and morose
tunes that somehow end up feeling pretty damn good, due largely to
Musacchio’s ability to write songs that are always moving slowly
ahead, building upwards without dipping into melodrama. The sound is
sparse, centered on Musacchio’s vocals and acoustic guitar, along with
the occasional accompaniment of a low, rumbling cello and some
respectable piano. The manner suits All the Ghosts well, creating a
mood that stays true to the album’s title, capturing a haunting
feeling of the past, along with a few glimpses of a better future.
(Eden Munro, Vue Weekly)

DJ’s DARSHANA & CHETANA BORAH (Last Love, Bombay to Brazil)
For a few years now, The Borah Sisters, abetted by Pearl and Bryan
Trackstar have delved into world psychedelic classic, raw pop,
sinister funkula and so much more. These people have better taste in
music than anyone you know. (Philebrity)

Upcoming Sugar Towns

SAT 7/28
9PM $7
BOYSKOUT (NYC)
UMLAUT (Record Release Party, Mems of The Hessians, ex Golden Ball, Snow Fairies, Men in Fur)
MAPLE RABBIT
ILL EASE (NYC)
DJ SILVIA LA CHICA YE YE

SAT 8/25
9PM $7 21+
PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE
NICKY CLICK (Crunks Not Dead)
SWAN ISLAND (Portland)
SHEPHERDESS (ex Operators, Kimchee Recs)
DJ BUNNYSTYLE

SAT SEPT 29
9PM, $8
Advance tickets going on sale through Fuse & Sugar Town soon!
BITCH (of Bitch and Animal, Kill Rock Stars)
FUSE DJ’s

MON OCT 8
9PM
PARADISE ISLAND (Jenny Hoyston, ex Erase Errata)

SAT OCT 27
Special drag edition of Sugar Town
HELEN BACK & THE STR8 RAZORS
DJ’s Ricky Paul (Dumpsta Players & Baby Loves Disco) & Ryan Creed (Palare)

June 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

flier

SUGAR TOWN BENEFIT FOR GIRLS ROCK PHILLY SAT 5/26
Tritone, 1508 South Street 9PM, 21+
$5-8 (sliding scale)

GIRLS ROCK PHILLY (GRP) is an initiative to bring Philadelphia a girls only, week-long summer day camp serving junior rockers ages 10-18, to be held August 6 to 11, 2007. Led by a team of all female instructors and band coaches,n the program learn how to play musical instruments, write songs, make their own band merchandise, discover other women in and finesse their on-stage jump kicks.

SHOOTING ROPES (Featuring Steph Hayes and Lotsix)
Steph Hayes also plays with The Good Problems, is a former member of Stargazer Lily, and has toured with Slo-Mo. Lotsix is a “self-karaoke artist,” who writes great songs about having crushes on Sara Gilbert and Kathleen Hanna. You might also know her from Mr. Drag King Philly competitions, The Broken Hipsters, and Brothers Suggarillo.

BAPTIST PREACHERS
This is the latest project for John Cecil Price (Temple of Bon Matin and Akash), which City Paper’s A.D. Amorosi describes as “pop/surf/R&B done hardcore.” A bi-racial and multicultural labor of love married to its own form of Black Americana-punk , soul and early gospel music, Baptist Preachers is God’s loudest band.

THE STAY-AT-HOMES (Runaways tribute band featuring Tammy Faye Starlite and mems of Sit N’ Spin, NYC)

The Stay-At-Homes are “The Desperate Housewives Of Rock.” Come see the (only?) East Coast Runaways tribute band. Okay, they’re not teens, but they’re still hot. Even though they may be too tired and jaded to run away and maybe would rather stay home and play with the kids, grade papers, practice law, walk the dog, or watch SVU, they still rock.

The Stay-At-Homes are:
Mony Falcone (Sit N’ Spin) as Jackie Fox, bass
Heidi Lieb (Sit N’ Spin) as Lita Ford, lead guitar
Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn’s Miracle 3) as Sandy West, drums
Jill Richmond (The Mike Hunt Band, Aquanettas) as Joan Jett, rhythm guitar
Tammy Faye Starlite (The Mike Hunt Band) as Cherie Currie, lead vocals

C’mon spend an American night with the new Queens of Noise. They’ll play a glittering rock-and-roll set of classic Runaways songs, then get you home not that late.

LIBERTY CITY KINGS (Featuring Richard B Grande/Nicola Visaggio)
As seen at Dragadelphia and Philadelphians Against Santorum, the recently formed Liberty City Kings are always looking for old hands and new tricks with style, personality and flair. Their shows are equal parts drag, burlesque, political satire/commentary, and raunchy good times.

DJ’s VERSION GIRL & CARRY US
A lady reggae DJ duo that plays everything from ska and rocksteady to dub to modern dancehall.

May 18, 2007 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

How Sassy Changed My Life

sassy

SUGAR TOWN and MEW GALLERY Present
HOW SASSY CHANGED MY LIFE – A reading by KARA JESELLA and MARISA MELTZER
SAT MAY 5
Mew Gallery

906 Christian Street
6:00
FREE! ALL AGES!

215-625-2424

HOW SASSY CHANGED MY LIFE – A reading by KARA JESELLA and MARISA MELTZER
For a generation of teenage girls, Sassy magazine was nothing short of
revolutionary—so much so that its audience, which stretched from
tweens to twentysomething women, remains obsessed with it to this day
and back issues are sold for hefty sums on the Internet. For its brief
but brilliant run from 1988 to 1994, Sassy was the arbiter of all that
was hip and cool, inspiring a dogged devotion from its readers while
almost single-handedly bringing the idea of girl culture to the
mainstream. In the process, Sassy changed the face of teen magazines
in the United States, paved the way for the unedited voice of blogs,
and influenced the current crop of smart women’s zines, such as Bust
and Bitch, that currently hold sway.

How Sassy Changed My Life will present for the first time the inside
story of the magazine’s rise and fall while celebrating its unique
vision and lasting impact. Through interviews with the staff,
columnists, and favorite personalities we are brought behind the
scenes from its launch to its final issue and witness its unique
fusion of feminism and femininity, its frank commentary on taboo
topics like teen sex and suicide, its battles with advertisers and the
religious right, and the ascension of its writers from anonymous
staffers to celebrities in their own right.

Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer are New York–based writers. They have
written and edited for publications such as The New York Times, Teen
Vogue, Elle Girl, Bitch, Jane, Spin, Entertainment Weekly,
Nylon,Nerve, and Elle.

About MEW GALLERY:
Mew Gallery is a boutique nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s
Italian Market. We offer hand made goods by local artists and
crafters. We’re a gallery, as well, and have rotating exhibits
featuring Philly area artists. Also, in the next few months we’ll be
holding creative workshops for children and adults. With these
workshops, the customer can come in, socialize, have a snack, and get
to work on an art or craft project. Stay tuned for more information on
the class offerings and schedule.

Our mission is to support, nurture, and promote our local creative
community. We aim to provide an independent alternative to commercial
boutiques and inaccessible galleries by providing the public with a
unique alternative to mass-produced, socially irresponsible products.

April 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

Puke Rock Anthems and Pop Tatari

birds of maya

Birds of Maya by Valania

My review of the closing night of the Popped! Festival is up on Phawker.

April 16, 2007 at 5:31 pm 1 comment

How to Say Goodbye, or a Jager for the Road

Photo by Melissa Zahnweh (Bells Bells Bells, Floozy, Undergirl)

From Paul Dellevigne:

I found out tonight (courtesy of Dave Lorenz) that his name in Polish means “good will”.

How appropriate. He gave me my first bar booking ten years ago, and he and Dave Rogers gave me my first bartending job over five years ago.

And in between he was there for me more times than I can count.

It wasn’t always pretty. More often than not, his advice hurt, hti you right to the core, but it was almost always right, and he always meant what he said.

He would hurt you sometimes, his honesty cutting you to the quick, and in a blink of an eye, he would realize that he hurt you and take you aside to apologize and make sure you understood that he was just exaggerating to make a point. Then, after he calmed you down, he’d sit with his drink and make sure to say, “It’s true, though.”

When my band stopped playing certain songs, he was livid. “You have three absolute fucking hit songs, and you’re too much of a pussy to demand that everyone just shut up and play them!” He was convinced that one day the Sinners would hit it.

Then, when he first heard Dave’s other band, El Dorado, he took me aside and told me, “They’re good. If you want to keep Dave in your band you better step it up.”

I never did.

He shouldered me through every broken relationship and did his damnedest to make sure I never did anything stupid, even when it meant forcing me to crash at his place.

When Tara came with me to TriTone for Skinny Dave’s memorial service just a few weeks ago, he took me aside, hugged me, and said, “It’s about time.”

Goddammit he cared so much that the only time he ever yelled at me and meant it was when I held my problems from him. “Dammit, Paul, how the hell can I help you if you don’t tell me when something’s wrong?”

After Skinny Dave died, another friend, Bruce, died. I talked to Rick about it and told him that our friend Kevin Karg was trying to find out what happened. Rick called Kevin to tell him personally. Kevin then asked how Rick was doing overall.

“I’d be fine,” Rick said, “If only everyone would stop dying.”

He had a heart attack less than a month later.

One more person has died, and I’m not going to be okay with it for a very long time.

In my heart, I want to say so much more about this man, but I truly don’t know what else to say except that he was so strong for so many people I just can’t believe we have to go it without him now.

In the long run, it makes sense that he had a heart attack. He carried so many people in there for so long, I guess something had to give eventually, and he just never stopped caring about the rest of us.

We’re going to bury Rick in the morning. I can’t tell you how much it hurts to say that.

April 15, 2007 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

Time Won’t Let Me

Taken at Tritone, Thurs. 4/12

Jay Schwartz:

I forget if I met Rick at Upstairs at Nick’s or the Firenze Tavern, two
earlier venues Rick did booking for. I got to know him much better at a bar
called Bennie’s, which he and partner Dave Rogers soon bought and
transformed to Tritone. That’s where Rick let me do more or less whatever I
wanted. First I booked a couple of Secret Cinema movie screenings (the
features RECORD CITY and BUCKTOWN), and later, music events, with me and/or
my wife Silvia spinning various themes of obscure music, both with and
without bands. If I said I wanted to devote a whole night to “sunshine pop”
music (a genre which was the polar opposite of the punk and garage rock
that Rick favored) or to Spanish ’60s records (even before Silvia moved
here and she’d discovered a group of Spaniards living in Philly, i.e.,
before there was any logical reason to do such a thing), Rick said go
ahead, and never batted an eyelash. If said musical experiments were
occasionally less popular than we’d both hoped, he encouraged me to try
something else down the road.

Years before, a friend with a band told me that Rick D. was the only nice
guy to deal with when trying to book his group. While I had some
connections through Secret Cinema and did deal with a few other clubs then,
I later realized what my friend meant. After years of doing these
semi-vanity productions at Tritone mainly because Rick was so nice to deal
with, it only just dawned on me that at this point I don’t even know who
currently is booking the other clubs in town.

Rick was a cult movie fan himself, and used to run video screenings at the
Firenze. I never approved of video screenings of movies, but Rick did it in
a low key way, and always had interesting taste, with lots of obscurities
form the Something Weird video label. He also used to have these running
sometimes while bands played. I still wish I had asked what the title was
of this one weirdo Japanese sci-fi thriller that was one of the strangest
things I’d ever seen. I now wished I’d asked him lots of things…I never
even learned what his real last name was until he died (I thought I knew
it, but it turned out there were whole extra syllables that I didn’t know
about!)

If I ran a d.j. night at Tritone, I usually had a lot of gear to pack up at
the end of the night — especially at the earlier events where I was
foolish enough to bring audio AND film equipment, so that I could provide
visuals and sort of kosher the “Secret Cinema” labeling of the event. After
a few nights of nearly falling asleep while packing all of this stuff up, I
decided I had the right to call anything I did Secret Cinema, and that
presenting either just film or just music was enough work for one night.
Even still, it can take me a while to pack up the equipment, and when
everything is boxed up and on the handtruck, I would be more than ready to
head home and get to sleep, right after waving goodbye to Rick and thanking
him for the gig.

However, that last step never went as fast as I planned, because it
inevitably led to a multi-branched conversation with Rick about anything
and everything that popped into our heads, peppered with Rick’s famously
laconic wit. Five minutes became ten became twenty, thirty, and sometimes
more, and when I finally left I knew I would be that much more tired the
next day, but I never cared because talking to Rick was always interesting
and fun. Rick loved talking to people and really thrived running a bar. Now
I’ll have all that time back in my life, but I don’t feel like I’m gaining
anything in the bargain. I feel cheated.

Today I attended Rick D’s memorial service, along with what seemed like
hundreds of other people. I knew many, but most I did not know. That crowd
contained people of every walk of life, of every race, every age group,
from several different eras of Philly underground music history and people
far removed from the music scene. That he touched so many people and so
many kinds of people in his short time on earth is the best testament to
his character, his warmth and his generous spirit.

Our sympathies go out to his family and to his friends, which probably
includes everyone who ever met him.

April 15, 2007 at 11:26 pm 2 comments

A Month of Sundays

Taken next door to Bob and Barbara’s, Thursday night 4/12. Prettified by Valania.

Plain Parade is honored to reunite on Sunday, April 29 as part of Tritone’s “A Month of Sundays,” a weekly series for the eclectic mix of bands, DJ’s and promoters that received Rick D’s unconditional support. Organized by Bob & Barbara’s/Tritone bartender/waitress Beth Boccassini, “A Month of Sundays” gives us all a chance to say thanks to The Man in the Vest.

Tritone is located at 1508 South Street. 215-545-0475 All events are 21+

SUNDAY 4/22
DJ’s Evile Mlle. Femphis (Tritone bartender Kelly Wolff who also used to do “Songs About Fucking” at Silk City) and Thunderchicken (Tritone’s weekly soul night, “45 Piece”) spin Rick D’s favorite music.

SUNDAY 4/29
8PM FREE
Donations encouraged to Philabundance: http://www.philabundance.org/

Plain Parade presents:

BERETTA 76
Camille Escobedo’s Joan Jett snarl rides atop a bracing Cheap Trick guitar crunch from an amped-up garage band that’s ready for bigger things. (Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer)

THE NOTEKILLERS (Ecstatic Peace)
While the rhythm section churns furiously, David First peels off a series of scrambled guitar lines, precise even when he’s improvising. His diagonal riffs are marvelously untraceable (Surf-rock? New-wave? Heavy metal? Free jazz? Serialism?), and somehow these dense compositions inevitably come out sounding like party music. It’s clear this band ranked with any of New York’s much celebrated no-wave acts.” (Kelefa Sanneh, New York Times)

FOXYCONTIN (Rich Kaufmann from Electric Love Muffin & Rolling Hayseeds)
I don’t want to lie and say I liked his ’80s ensemble, Electric Love Muffin (though 1987’s Playdoh Meathook has its charms). But Rich Kaufmann learned enough about sad-eyed songwriting while teamed with Kevin Karg for the country-fried, tear-soaked Rolling Hayseeds to know how to make noisy, guttural, disillusioned pop-punk with his first band in some time, FoxyContin. Look for ex-Sonny Sixkiller skin man Lance Crow to rage through what Kaufmann promises will be “no sensitive-singer-songwriter-singing-about-the-state-of-parenthood here.” Good. (A.D. Amorosi, CP)

JUST ADDED! PAUL DELLEVIGNE (The Sinners, former Tritone bartender)

AMY DICAMILLO (Undergirl)
Laboring for nine years with little in the way of commercial reward or mainstream attention has gotten Undergirl good and pissed. The group’s second record, the incendiary My Flash on You, seems to vibrate with the anger of the overlooked. Fusing revved-up guitars with Amy DiCamillo’s furious howl, the record cannily evokes the days before punk rock got its fangs filed at the local Hot Topic. DiCamillo’s delivery is more Poly Styrene than Brody Dalle, and the group’s unpretty fuzzed-up chord patterns seem at times like they were nicked from a ruddy British sublet (“Radio Action” even appropriates the outro from “God Save the Queen”). The band approaches its live shows with equal ferocity, making it one of the hardest- working underrated bands around. (J. Edward Keyes, PW)

JUKEBOX ZEROS
To these ears, garage bands succeed when they remember to temper the thrash with tuneful melodies. Philadelphia’s Jukebox Zeros (love the name, guys) rock out plenty on their full-length debut Four On the Floor, but they never let their love of squalling guitars overtake and drown out their catchy songs. The Zeros effortlessly channel ’70s-era punky-power poppers like Iggy Pop (‘Blue screen burn my TV eye,’ yowls frontman Peter Santa Maria on “Ch. 48”) and Stiv Bators (opener “Flophouse” echoes Bators’ snarl, and the band does right by a cover of the Dead Boys’ ‘High Tension Wire’), but they’ve got their own fun identity. ‘Film Noir Love’, appropriately dark and stormy as it sounds, seems to have been created so the band can have a laugh over the double entendre ‘private dick’. And ‘Don’t Tell Me (More Than I Wanna Know)’, aided by a B3 organ which really should appear more on the album, celebrates avoiding dreaded TMI (Too Much Information). And when they’re not being silly, the Zeros have attitude and guitar solos to burn: ‘Why doncha just go away?’ snaps Santa Maria on ‘Fun Suck’; elsewhere, he kicks at the dirt on ‘Cigarettes and Sorrow’. Like their heroes the Dead Boys, the Jukebox Zeros are young, loud and snotty and they’ve got the chops and sense of humor to back it up. (Stephen Haag, PopMatters)

MORE TBA

SUNDAY 5/6
ELLIOT LEVIN organizes a jazz tribute. Bands TBA.

In other news, Scott Parker, a doorman and sound engineer for Upstairs at Nick’s and former Thorazine bassist, wants to put together a not-for-profit memorial CD project together in honor of Rick. If you want to be involved or know anyone who does, you can contact him here: scottparker@comcast.net

April 15, 2007 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

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