This past month was clearly marked by Joey Ramone's death. I don't think I can add anything significant to the mountain of articles that rock critics have bestowed upon us regarding Joey's death. Being that I'm a youngin, I didn't grow up living the Ramones the way most of the other writers did. I saw the Ramones only once, at Lollapalooza no less, and I have one image of Joey that I remember him by. It was about 101 degrees in the shade at Lollapalooza. The sun was brutal; people were cranky, and I was kicking myself for not wearing shorts. And there was Joey, onstage with his boys, wearing a black leather jacket and jeans with his fist in the air and legs spread apart. Talk about dedication. I was stuck to the floor. I was watching punk fuckin' rock. I was watching an entire movement. I was watching a legend from Queens. Thank you, Joey; you are NY ROCK.
Ladyfest East Benefit, Meow Mix, April 18, 2001
Started out at Ladyfest East benefit at Meow Mix on Wednesday night. I got there in time to catch the end of Triple Creme's set. The place was packed with lots of girls (duh) waiting for Redhot Secret the duo of Heather Hellskiss and Tina Machina to take the stage. Shouting above short, tight chords in that pouty kind of Riot Grrrl way, Hellskiss made me think of the days when Bikini Kill and Bratmobile ruled. The next band, Lavababy, has been causing quite a commotion with their sweet pop songs,
and landed a full-page article complete with photo in a recent issue of the Village Voice. The band (minus one member) covered Joan Jett's "Do You Wanna Touch Me" with Patti Rothberg singing some back-up on the "Yeah/ Oh Yeah/ Oh Yeah" parts. (Note: in dim light, Rothberg looks much too much like Joey Ramone). MOXIEstarpark took the stage to chants of "Don't go!" and "We love you, Moxie!" All of a sudden I felt ill. Six years old, they're a solid band with textured punk-pop songs and it's their last gig. 'Tis the nature of a rock band. Farrell, Katy, Pete and Wendy (xo), thanks for being so damn crazy. The next Ladyfest East benefit will be held on May 20, at the Knitting Factory, featuring the Hissyfits, Crowns on 45, Bionic Finger, Nicole Blackman, Brenda Kahn and Semiautomatic.
The BellRays and the Greenhornes, Mercury Lounge, April 27th
It was one of those rare, "Hmm, who should I go see tonight?" nights. Los Angeles band, the BellRays are supposedly the shit, and with a comparison to the MC5 fronted by Tina Turner, who the hell am I to say no? Off to the Mercury Lounge.
Opening band the Greenhornes hail from Cincinnati, Ohio, and escaped the riots unharmed. The band's blues- and classic-rock melodies, with '60s inspired riffs and howling vocals plunged me into a "Wonder Years" time warp. The band members looked like the cool kids that Kevin Arnold and Paul Pfeiffer were envious of. Singer/guitarist Craig Fox had a ho-hum look on his face like his mom made him take guitar and voice lessons, when all he really wanted to do was ride bikes with his friends. Brian Olive (guitar, back-up vocals), Patrick Keeler (drums), Jack Lawrence (bass) and Jared McKinney (keyboard) make up the rest of the Greenhornes and play refreshing rock 'n' roll. Strange how these days "refreshing" music looks back almost three decades.
"Maximum rock 'n' soul": the phrase that the BellRays use to herald themselves, and people were crowding the stage in anticipation. When they got on stage, lead singer Lisa Kekaula summoned up every spirit in her body and shouted them out like a rock 'n' roll high priestess. My jaw hit the floor: Bob Vennum (guitar), Jeff Porterfield (bass), Mike Sessa (drums) played like renegades sucked into the eye of a storm. The band, and the audience, could barely contain themselves they were whipped into their own frenzy of soul and punk. I was bracing myself for a sonic meltdown every time Kekaula pointed her finger in the air and shook her tambourine. The BellRays are one of those bands that you secretly thank God for. There is a complete absence of plastic commercial coating. And the band knows what people are looking for. Fuck those A&R dudes. Fuck the generic sound emanating from MTV and the radio (you know the sound I'm talking about).
The BellRays' music reminds you that the electrified soul of rock 'n' roll is not washed up. Become a fan immediately, and start feeling music again.
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More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
by Jeanne Fury:
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
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