Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Think I Smell a Rat


ratt in color
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Matt, the Ratt, that is, with the rest of the Uptown Savages at the Humboldt Park band shell the other night, for the second installment of the park's "Chill on the Hill" series. If their true-to-form rockabilly (bordering on psychobilly) wasn't a cure for the stormy blahs on a gorgeous summer evening, I don't know what could be. The hill was still a bit soggy (don't ask me how, but we managed to plunk down on the one dry/drained part of the hill -- on the South side) but nobody seemed to mind. Over a summer breeze the band pumped out the hits and the little space between the stage and the hill was littered with little kids gettin' real gone, the hill itself was alive with balloons (and kids chasing them), Bayviewers of all ages, and a few vendors who didn't have the foresight to have a lot of things for sale.

The Savages themselves? Perfect, especially at what they do. While they dress (mostly) in period (and that period is late 50s, early to mid-60s bad boy dudes who enjoy pin up girls and sunglasses), they have a knack for making this stuff seem timeless. They vary the delivery and chord progressions so it's not all simply I-IV-Vs all night, and the drumming (there's Bill Backes again -- he pops up every now and then in places you do and don't expect) isn't the same old syncopated stuff you almost always hear with rockabilly. This band has been together long enough that they're tight, they've studied the genre with an almost academically disciplined approach, ingested it all and then seemingly effortlessly dish it out. That's what you get when you have enough people who dig the Americana -- and Jonny Z at the helm ensuring that it stays fresh but true. I'm a fan, yes, and i don't get out enough to see these guys, but when i do, i leave refreshed. I also like this whole series Humboldt Park has lined up. It's not a lecutre for my kids, but its yet another way i can continue to expose them to great stuff, and fine-tune their musical tastes away from a lot of the dreck that's cluttering the airwaves. Next Tuesday? The Squeezettes, comprised of former Riverwest Accordion Club members and other people they've pulled in. Should be an excellent time.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Good weekend coming up: tonight, 1956 is at the Stonefly Brewery and this is a good chance to see them in a comfortable room. Friday night Marlavous is having her birthday party with her karaoke at the Bavarian Inn in Glendale as usual. A quick zip down I-43 and back into Riverwest to the Stonefly again will bring you to a great lineup with John the Savage (must confirm the good things I've heard here) and sixthstation favorites Eat the Mystery. Saturday night, move further south with Crumpler at Points East, and end things with Juniper Tar at the Cactus Club.

All this time, I'll have my camera with me -- it's back! (my DSLR, that is. Oh, I've been shooting with a point and shoot and a cell phone and the point and shoot's been great, but it's not my baby. JUST now, I got the fedex update, me camera has been delivered and I'm relieved. The repair shop had called with the kind of news i normally get with cars: "Well, it might be the circuit board, and that'll cost you $x, but if it's not that we'll have to ship it off to Nikon, and that could cost $XXXX, but we really wont' know unless we try to fix the circuit board first." So I had to take a breath and gamble that $x would do it, else I would probably have to eat it. And, uh, X <> only $25, let's put it that way.

It's all part of this personal coming down off a ferocious Mercury retrograde that's hit me hard. I don't normally put a lot of stock in astrology (even though I am a textbook Sagittarius), but really, this is ridiculous. I've dealt with mechanical breakdowns on my camera, my cell phone, my bike, the copy machine at work (x3, of course when we had a huge job for an important -- aren't' they all important -- client), my car, my watch, my computer, and worst off all, the coffee machine at work.. When you can't even depend on the coffee machine at the office, it's time to throw up your hands and cry uncle. Indeed, I think I smell a rat.

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