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Local Girls Rock
The Town: Part I

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 Bebe Buell
Bebe Buell at Don Hill's, 6/21/00
photo © 2000 NY Rock, more photos
The Flesh and the Fury - Local Girls Rock the Town: Part II, by Spyder Darling
It's summer in the city, but the living's still pretty. Especially on Wednesday nights at Don Hill's for Rock Candy, a nasty night of big-hair rock 'n' roll that's a flashback to the days when real men wore make up and Nirvana was a Buddhist paradise, not a Billboard payday. This particular sultry summer's eve featured three local female-fronted bands – Jana Peri, Daddy, Bebe Buell – and Starr, an all-male glam group that wears more makeup than all the girls put together. Jana Peri's perky pop tunes, Daddy's psycho-babe grope therapy and punk-rock mamma Bebe Buell's old-school attitude kept Don Hill's rocking on June 21, 2000. The night was ultimately sealed with a platform-booted kick by Starr's arena-ready hairspray heroics. While in-between bands, DJ Steve Blush spun a trailer-trash kicking mix of AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Kiss and other 8-track hits from the summer of '76.

Jana Peri had yet to take the stage when I arrived for their set. Don Hill's was quiet and I did what any gonzo journalist would do. I got a drink. Soon enough Jana and her band appeared and got Rock Candy rolling with an eight-song set of punchy pop tunes that was as tight as Miss Peri's black leather pants. Jana's vocal and songwriting influences range from the lyrical melodies of Lennon & McCartney to the impassioned power of Patti Smith and the pop sensibilities of Debbie Harry. She's also got a genuine smile that sparkles like the finish on her custom Danelectro guitar. There's even a little twang in there somewhere, especially on the succinctly titled "Dating Sucks." Juice Newton maybe? Anyway, Juice, err Jana is backed by a boisterous three-piece band with Stu Newman on lead guitar, Ken Nakano on bass and "Cousin It" haircut, and Rob Holm on drums and "fancy hair and eyeliner."

Jana Peri
Jana Peri at Don Hill's, 6/21/00
photo © 2000 NY Rock, more photos
Though Jana didn't have much time to strut her stuff, she and her band made the most of their thirty minutes and showcased half the songs from her self-produced and self-titled CD. Though much of the material rocked right along, I'd cut the slower numbers like the "Boy from Bayonne" to keep toes tapping and tempos from dragging. Peri closed out her set with the booty shaking ravings of "I Wanna Rock" and "The La La Song" (lets face it, titles aren't her big thing). The latter is Jana's unabashed anglophile fantasy about a fab ferry across the Mersey and promenades down Penny Lane and boasts a chorus as aggravatingly annoying as it is infectious and addictive. You can raise your glass or as Jana says, "Go to the drink and grab yourself a bar!" with her again on August 13th when Peri and Co. slink into CBGB. Blimey, I'll drink to that.

Up next was a four-piece band called Daddy that I've never seen before and I don't care to ever see again. Despite a foxy singer with Angelina Jolie looks who stripped down to her lace bra, red panties, a studded belt and wrestled suggestively with several exuberant volunteers from the crowd, the band was virtually unlistenable and jammed out at top volume on Led Zep/Janes Addiction style riffs that were more adventures in feedback than actual songs. It might have helped if "Angelina" could sing, but she was clearly a graduate of the Yoko Ono school of shrieks, moans and strange gurgling sounds. There were no set lists in sight and Daddy was a last minute substitution to the night's line up, so I only hope the whole thing was a one-time improvisation. Why Daddy, why?

Daddy at Don Hill's, 6/21/00
photo © 2000 NY Rock, more photos
Never has AC/DC sounded so good as when DJ Steve spun "Highway to Hell" after the Daddy debacle. A few tunes later and it was Bebe Buell's turn to take the stage for Rock Candy's sweetest set of the night. Dressed a little more sedately than Daddy's girl, Bebe wore a black two piece skirt and jacket with a tight pink top that had its stitches stretched to the limit by Bebe's busty beauty. Oh and best of all, she can sing too. From the first chorus of "Pink Inside" to the last verse of "Teenage Kicks," Buell belted out one turbulent tune after another and was firmly supported like an underwire bra by a bodacious back-up band of David Matos on guitar and train-wreck effects, Tommy Furrar on bass, and Gregg Carey on drum demolition duties. Jim from New United Monster Show (who's also Bebe's latest beau) popped up on stage to play guitar for the second half of her set, which rocked on even harder through NY Dolls-ish originals like "Bored Baby" and a few cool covers which even included a version of Motorhead's "I'll Be Your Sister." Bebe might not be the Queen of Cool, as one of her songs states, but after over twenty years on the scene and a CD and book deal in the works, she's finally getting some much deserved recognition and not just for her notorious heterosexuality. As if being a Playboy centerfold and wife and mother to the superstars wasn't enough. I guess some girls just want it all. And why the Hell not?

Finally local glamsters Starr closed the Rock Candy store with their usual all-out assault of Big '80s heavy-metal mania. Decked out in custom leather outfits, brandishing pointy guitars and throwing their skinny selves around with flare and finesse, the Kiss-like quartet of Zane Fixx on vocals, Luke Luv on guitar, ex-Detox Darlings bassist Ken Lin and Nicky Shea on drums, the boyz lit up the night with instant stomp-along classics like "Lipstick Ammunition," "Passion Play Lady" and "L-U-V in NYC." Ask any one of them and they'll tell you they're ready for the big time. Catch 'em while you can before the whole show explodes in a mysterious hairspray-and-flaming-shot accident. Hey, no one said it was easy being sleazy.

June 2000

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