Night of the Scorpions
Between four bands, I don’t think they've ever had this much gear in the house!
Cooler By the Lake might look like a put on act, but the band is dead on for real. People don't know what to make of them when they first see them, eight people crammed into the tiny stage area at O'Keefe's, but two minutes into it you're aware that among the 70s rock and prog influences and 80s melodies, this is a group of people at least inspired by Frank Zappa, especially Zappa's 70s-era shows. It's some kind of surprise soup what comes out of it: this picture of woodwind player Johnny "Jingles" McCann really summed up for me what they were about. The guy's dressed in butt-kicking black leather like he just walked out of a biker fight movie, and he's playing the flute -- and he's playing it elegantly and tastefully. The drummer looks like he came from the same movie, except he's the heavily bearded sage who sits at the picnic table studying maps over a whiskey bottle. Two guitar players flank the rest of the band, their bass player plays a vintage Rickenbacker with the sound you'd expect, and keyboardist Rogina Bogatitis adds both an aural and visual touch, wearing a Twisted sister T-shirt and a look on her face that says, "As long as I've been here, I still can't believe I'm in this wacked out band."
OK, OK, Dr Chow delivered as usual, despite all the libations for the band flowing about. They've dug out an old original, "Sea Creatures" that I was glad to hear -- it was one of my favorite early Chow songs and I'm glad its back in the rotation. Mr Wrong was the correct band to start the evening and set the tone of quality free-for all music. They brought the guitarist from Tom Leisons' other band, FSFI, (could "Frank" be Frank Chandek?) for a round of "I'll Pick You Up."
Marlavous Marla Rothenberg was there, and I learned from her and Amber Lawson that I missed one amazing night of Karaoke at Marlavous' Karaoke Friday night. Seems Frank and Fly and others chose to begin the birthday weekend at the Bavarian Inn and I'm really sorry I missed a rendition of "I Got You Babe." Apparantly the guest list included Binky Tunny, Frank Chandek and Amber Lawson, and the Usual Suspects. Maybe when I get over this Post Viral Cough (that's what the doctor calls what I've got, and of course there's nothing I can do about it except ride it out) I'll show up again.