Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Best Bar Band in the World.

Twenty-eight years ago, and almost to the day, I saw Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes perform in a Lower East Side venue [read: small, dark, smokey dive]. It was one of those memorable, kinetic nights that I recall joyously not only because I found myself in a dark, smokey dive on the arm of the man with whom I was then feverishly in love (that helped) but because I was witness to one of the most smokin' hot performances I'd ever seen....or have since. Johnny's down and dirty vocals, his harmonica jamming with Miami Steve's guitar, and the big horns screaming front and center blew the roof off the joint and by the end of the night [read: morning] the rocking crowd was sweating as much as the rocking guys we had paid money to see do that.

Since then, I've worn down the grooves on his LPs, watched him be eclipsed (wrongly so) by The Boss, and waited wistfully for his next long overdue comeback album. Well, waitin' time is over, folks. The album's out, the road tour is underway, and I've got me two tickets to tonight's performance. The venue has moved uptown; there'll be less drinking (maybe), no smoking (at least inside), but I understand sweating is still allowed.

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy, baby.
Baby, won't you keep me happy.
Baby won't you keep me....

Because I don't want to go home....

(posted by Portia)


Cassandra said...

...because I found myself in a dark, smokey dive on the arm of the man with whom I was then feverishly in love

And here we were thinking it was true confessions time... and it turns out Portia was the author :)


Seriously, nice post.

spd rdr said...

You are one up on me, Portia, because I never caught Southside Johnny live. I did, however, wear out a couple of cassette tapes of his songs bopping down the highway. And, yes, they got "it" in spades.

You know, I'll bet that there are a ton of regional "best bar bands" out there that we don't know about. Remember "NRBQ?" How about "Roomfull of Blues?" I remember popping into beer and gin joints in the Bay Area (a million years ago) and catching "Clover" - whose guitarist split to join the Doobie Bros. and whose lead singer discovered "It's Hip To Be Square."
And there was another bar band that used to play all the time down at a dive in Rosslyn, NY called "My Father's Place." Called themeselves the "E-Street Band." I wonder what ever happened to them?

Anybody got some good local talent they'd like to share?

spd rdr said...

Now I remember another:
I went to a little place called the "Right Track Inn" in Freeport to see a local rockabilly "revival" band - called themselves "The Stray Cats."

In a word: theirshitrocked.

portia said...

You are one up on me, Portia.
That's a first:)

Oh, good get, spd! I haven't thought of "My Father's Place" since forever. Lots of memories there, huh? Missed the E Street Band but I did catch Buzzy Linhart a couple of times (wasn't that part of the required curriculum for graduating from GC?), and yes, John Sebastian, too:) God, we're old....

How old? This old. Heh. I can still remember that menu!

P.S. Did you see that John Tesh quote in the Right Track Inn story? Ha! Maybe if he had hung out in Roslyn and Freeport more often, I'd be going to see him tonight instead of SSJ.

spd rdr said...

Jeezus, Portia. That old???

I've got a lot of good memories about MFP. Some I can even still remember!

portia said...

And if you can't, I have some photos that may help....

FYI, your permanent record began long before your blog:)

spd rdr said...

Burn the photos. I don't know you. I never heard of you. I didn't do it. You never saw me do it. You can't prove anything. Burn all the photos.

portia said...

Burn the photos...I didn't do it. You never saw me do it. You can't prove anything. Burn all the photos.

"Your Honor, plaintiff's counsel rests, and moves for a directed verdict."


Anonymous said...

(from) "Midwest Midnight" by Michael Stanley (strictly a local Cleveland)

Chasing the fame keeps 'em all in the game
But money's still the way they keep score
And nobody told you that you would get older
strung out like some Avenue whore...
Waiting release, getting shot through the grease,
some L.A. madonna's maligned
And New York's calling just to see if you've heard
'bout the great English band
they just signed....

Take me back to...
Midwest midnight
Ten thousand watts of holy light
from my radio so clear...
Bodies glistening, is anybody listening?
Does the man still play all the hits that you want to hear.../

Just rememberin', on a hot June night, what it was like, 30 years on...
(but those days are gone forever, over a long time ago, oh yeah....)

-Don Brouhaha

Pooke said...

Portia - I hope it's better than the last time we was SSJ (here in Morristown last year). We went to hear all the old stuff, trapped again, talk to me, got the fever, party, all the old SSJ stuff and he ended up doing a pile of shit that left us bored and puzzled.

He came around last fall but we didn't catch it. How was it? I hope the show was great for you!

BTW: You ever club the Good Rats?

portia said...

I hate when that happens, when you go to a concert and the band tries to "demo" their new stuff. WTF? Practice somewhere else, boys:)

SSJ diod not disappoint. He did mostly old stuff and some songs from his new album ( you can hear full tracks on the SSJ website I linked) although I will say the new stuff is a bit more melancholoy, and the voice a bit more gravelly from years on the road. Not unlike what you might expect from a guy on the wrong side of a groupie:) All was forgiven by the mostly over 40 crowd.

I hate BB Kings club though. It's a terrible place to see a concert. The acoustics suck, people are yakking away, ordering food, etc. while you're trying to "get down." He's playing the Stone Pony on July 1 in case you wanna give SSJ another try. I've never been there but it's gotta be better than BB Kings.

I know of the Good Rats from Long Island. I never heard them live, they were more hard line rock than I listened to back then (or now) but I bet spd has a story or two to tell about them; when he was a young(er), he was hanging out at Fillmore East before I even knew there was a Fillmore--East or West. Lucky fella.

Pooke said...

How funny. We are trying to hire them for Bob's next company picnic. Though its not necessarily everyones genre, they're easily accessible. And good! Harder rock, in fact, sometimes foul, but fun.