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Dean Johnson performing at CBGB,|
6/24/06. Photo by J. Flavin.
City music scene since 1996...
July 2006 Issue:
Panic! At The Disco
The Very Last Homocorps (for real this time) at CBGB, New York, NY, June 24, 2006
Last night, DJ saved my life Dean Johnson, that is, the biggest, broadest, baldest queen this city's ever seen who also happens to be one of the most genial, approachable characters I've encountered lo these many years. The man behind Rock N Roll Fag Bar, The Black Party, and (NY Rock's personal favorite) Homocorps got one last chance to throw that infamous soiree between the walls of CBGB. Everyone showed up last year thinking they were attending the final Homocorps because CBGB was set to close up shop, but miracle upon miracles, not only did CB's stick around for a little while longer, but Johnson resurrected the fagtastic party that is the saving grace for the physically inept who break out in a rash whenever we I mean "they" hear clubby dance music.
Hosted by that sassy fucker Formika, the night lit up with the band Celebutard, featuring local loco Lola Rock N Rolla and her shiny saxophona and ex-Lunachicks drummer Becky Wreck. The only song I remember was a bluesy jam that went something like this: "I don't like flowers. I like golden showers. For hours and hours." And a chorus that was comprised of Lola bellowing "Pee on me!" I like to think it was her farewell tune to Star Jones-Reynolds.
Next up was Lisa Jackson and Girl Friday. Jackson, the jaw-dropping incredible trans talent, grabbed the crowd by their eyelashes and rocked 'em till they couldn't rock no more. Girlfriend blew the roof off the place and had us begging for an encore, which she provided in the form of Blondie's "Maria." Few things in life can match a disheveled audience throwing their hands in the air and screaming "Ave Maria!" at the feet of a guitar-toting trannie. Jackson bid us farewell, as she was a few hours from boarding a plane to Georgia to perform at another Pride event and "give them a little taste of the East Village." You can be sure she gave those peaches quite a mouthful.
Lisa Jackson performing at CBGB, 6/24/06.|
Photo by J. Flavin.
This is the part where I mention meeting Jane Friedman Patti Smith's old manager and the person who encouraged Patti to sing. Jane Friedman, who used to do public relations for Stevie Wonder. The same Jane Friedman who suggested to Hilly Kristal that Patti Smith's band play a gig with Television at CBGB, thereby, planting the club's punk roots. John Cale, Nico, Frank Zappa, the Stones, UK Subs all part of Jane's history. She was friendly with a sort of genteel English-ness to her, and is now managing a band called Fire Flies. I was sweaty with matted hair and wearing a crusty Billy Idol t-shirt. I extended a grimy palm, shook her hand cordially, and successfully didn't piss my socks. It took about 10 minutes for my eyeballs to return to normal size.
And then it was time for la Cosa Nostra of the queer kingdom. Incidentally, since Dean Johnson is the head of the Velvet Mafia, that makes him the Don. Therefore, he's technically Don Johnson. The lovable, retarded menagerie known as the Velvet Mafia also includes a Catholic schoolgirl, a swimmer complete with goggles and cap, a butch stud, a nun, a jazz cat, and I'm sure I'm forgetting other band members. As for the six-foot-seven-inch singer, he is so bad ass in his bug-style sunglasses that he makes Bono and his trademark shades look like the result of cataract surgery. And so, for the last time in who-knows-how-long, the kids got to shake their moist muffin tops to songs including "The Pretty One," "Testosterone," and "This Stud's For You." Johnson then brought Formika onstage to end the set with a duet of "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone." It is with a heavy heart I say "Ciao," dear Homocorps (for reals). You are the stuff of dreams.
Panic! At The Disco at the Nokia Theater, New York, NY, June 29, 2006
For about three weeks straight, I played the shit out of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, the kinky teenage cabaret-pop-punk debut album from Las Vegas band Panic! At The Disco. It sounded like high-school drama-club boys trying on women's underwear and really liking the way their packages looked and felt beneath the snug satin anxious, slightly spooked, and utterly charmed. With their tailored shirts and mod haircuts, the boys look like members of Sleater-Kinney bonus points. Via the internet, Panic got their tunes to Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, who signed them to his Decaydance label, thus launching them into the candy-colored world of the MTV mainstream. They've been selling out shows from here to Europe ever since.
On their current tour, the band intermingles with the Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Cirque, otherwise known as "those half-naked clowns in Panic's video for 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies.'" Lucent Dossier is like Suicide Girls via the Ringling Brothers. If you jerk off to clowns in petticoats, this is where you want to be. I was there.
A girl who looked to be about 16 years old stumbled past me, loudly apologizing for being drunk. I noticed that her T-shirt said "I'm Probably Lying." Perfect. Fans up front were smacking an inflated condom around like it was a beach ball. Others were busy e-mailing friends on the Sidekicks and Razrs. Boys in polos with popped collars and trucker hats, girls with fruity smelling bubble gum and wallet chains… and me without a spoon.
The adjective for the evening was "schmaltzy." Everything was spackled with a thick layer of schmaltz. The stage was fit for the Broadway-located venue: fake trees, the band's name in lights, a giant moon with a smiley face and handlebar moustache. It was a notch up from looking like a ride at the Jersey shore boardwalk.
Panic numbered six on the stage, including a new bassist. 19-year-old sex symbol Brandon Urie, Panic's singer, wore a ruffled tuxedo shirt. Guitarist Ryan Ross wore a little velvet jacket, and the keyboardist looked like he belonged on a yacht with George Hamilton. Drummer Spencer Smith and the other nameless musician looked like they just finished an internship on Wall Street. Throughout the night, as the band members played through their entire album, they made use of a cello, tambourine, xylophone, mandolin, piano, and banjo. What, no accordion? No lute?
Urie's voice warbled along to "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage" and "Time To Dance." By mid-set, the guy was positively bleating. His vocal chords quivered more violently than a tightrope holding George Costanza, but the fans sang along to every single song, including passable covers of Radiohead's "Karma Police" and Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight." Urie's rookie stage moves resembled a less confident Tom Jones. (Smell the schmaltz, pussycat.) But the ladies found it sexy to the max. "I love you Brandon! Or Brendan! Whatever your name is!" a young, besotted lass screamed.
Less sexy was the Lucent Dossier Vaudeville troupe that hammed it up to an annoying schmaltz-tastic degree. Two clown girls wearing colored mop-like wigs and vintage skivvies tore the clothes off each other to the delight of every hormonal crotch in the audience. The troupe members danced with strings like human marionettes during "Camisado" and pretended they were fencing during "Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off," while one clown took Polariods of the band members.
Then there was an intermission where one of the clown chicks told "secrets" about each member. "They're all tenderhearted and vegetarian!" she drooled. The Polaroids were thrown into the crowd and received like manna from heaven. When it came time to expose Urie's secret, the clown chick squealed "He's a virgin!!!" Are they kidding with this shtick? I felt like I was at Chuck E. Cheese.
The mock theatrics continued when Urie sat behind the piano for "But It's Better If You Do," and a clown girl tore him away, put him in a chair, and gave him a lap dance. The schmaltz-factor hit the high mark when Urie danced the can-can with the clown girls. "Thankyouverymuch! Weee're PanicAtTheDiscooo," he chattered like a slick used-car salesman, and the star-struck crowd ate it up. Stock up on women's panties, kids it's showtime.
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by Jeanne Fury:
Jun '06: Guns N Roses, Go-Go's, Joan Jett
May '06: Sex Workers Art Show, Towers of London, Buckcherry
Mar '06: Andrew WK, The Vacation, Electric Six
Dec '05: The Ark, Tim Fite, Living Things, Independent Music Video Festival
Nov '05: Living Things, Bonk, God Forbid, Early Man, Face to Face, Secret Mommy, Various artists at the Continental
Oct '05: Black Halos, Fireball Ministry
Aug '05: Ronnie Spector
Jul '05: HomoCorps
Jun '05: The Hold Steady, Mastodon
Apr '05: Autolux, Supagroup
Mar '05: Kasabian
Jan '05: Juliette and the Licks
Nov '04: Ramones Beat on Cancer
Sept '04: Lamb of God
Jul '04: Avril Lavigne, The Shocker
May '04: Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stellastarr*, Ambulance LTD, Hurry-Up Offense, Lunachicks
Mar. '04: Suicide Girls
Jan. '04: Franz Ferdinand
Dec. '03: Stills, Gits, Opti-Grab, Toilet Boys, Modey Lemon, Slumber Party, Funeral for a Friend, Cougars, Fireball Ministry
Oct. '03: Billy Idol, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Warlocks
Aug. '03: The Lawrence Arms, None More Black, The Star Spangles
Jul. '03: Drive-By Truckers, Barbez, Dresden Dolls, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Jun. '03: Fannypack, Liam Lynch, Stratford 4, Nada Surf, Amazombies, ARE Weapons, Deadly Snakes, Essential Logic
Apr. '03: Turbonegro, Madball
Mar. '03: Manda and the Marbles, Count the Stars, American Hi-Fi
Feb. '03: Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Tiger Mountain, Blood Brothers
Jan. '03: Enon, Penny Arcade
Dec. '02: Lost City Angels, McLusky, Black Keys, World/Inferno Friendship Society
Nov. '02: CMJ, Diamanda Galas, Longwave, Division of Laura Lee
Oct. '02: Sights, ESG, Princess Superstar, Bush Tetras
Sept. '02: Original Sinners, Northern State, Opti-Grab
Aug. '02: Paybacks, Gore Gore Girls, Cato Salsa Experience, Burning Brides
Jul. '02: Bantam, Girls Against Boys, the Makers, the Bangs
Jun. '02: Slut Em Go, Darediablo, the Liars, the Chromatics, Lovelife
May '02: Hellacopters, Gaza Strippers, Lunachicks
Apr. '02: Distillers, Nekromantix
Feb. '02: Metropolis Fest, Bianca Butthole Benefit, Le Tigre
Jan. '02: Sam Bisbee
Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
Nov. '01: Tracy and the Plastics, Crowns on 45
Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
Aug. '01: Betty Blowtorch and Candy Ass
Jul. '01: Porcupine Tree
May '01: Ladyfest East Benefit, the Bellrays and the Greenhornes
Apr. '01: She-Rock-O-Rama, Blast Furnace
Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
Oct. '00: Heather Eatman
Aug. '00: Miracle of '86, Ultimate Fakebook, Sit n' Spin
July '00: Chickfest 2000
by Mistress Persephone:
Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
Oct '99: Misfits
by Miss Adena:
Aug '99: Cabaret
July '99: Ancel and the Electric Church
June '99: Tuuli from Toronto rocks CBGB
May '99: The Rise and Fall of Bikini Contest
by Didi Delicious:
01/11/99: the Velvet Mafia
12/04/98: the Misfits
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival) featuring Double Dong and Go-Go Pup
07/28/98: Mad Daddys, Nina Hagen, Blondie
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye, ex-Foreigner Mick Jones, ex-Hanoi Rocks Michael Monroe, the new Max's Kansas City, Joy Ryder, Misstress Formika
01/30/98: King Norris, Karen Black, more
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos, Sisters Grimm, The Independents, more
01/18/97-03/30/97: Sea Monster, Speed McQueen, Bombshell, Dee Dee Ramone, Jayne County, more
09/19/96-12/19/96: Coyote Shivers, The Living Daylights, more
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more