“Well, this is fuckin’ awesome”.
So we Vespa’d our way to Greenpoint, the land of the Poles. A buncha band members were already milling about Europa with tall Radebergers in hand, everyone giving hugs and daps. The Citizen Squad was out in full effect. Cara Bella was tensing up for his introductory scene. We all had a good laugh about the posters lining the walls that contained my Japadrag likeness. DJ T*O*N*Y killin’ it on the ones and twos, just for a little bit of ambiance. Two chairs stood stanchioned off in the middle of the room. It was in these two chairs that the show began with a little theatrical intro starring Ol’ Smoke and the Brain-Caveman himself. It was a satirical piece about church and sport, a few inappropriate punch lines had the room wanting to laugh, but frightened to be the first asshole to do so. I was certainly smiling watching Smoke wave about the newspaper he had earlier used to swat a beer out of my hand, covering the floor in suds. It only got crazier from here.
GunFight! (Starter Pistols):
They took to the stage like a veritable firing squad, six stringers dangling from necks execution style. Beginning a bit more subdued than usual, the escalation could be felt in machine gun drums. They played “Retail Job”, and then another new joint with guitar percussion and Bill’s trigger fingers strummin’ rapid fire. It all culminated in a military funeral with back to audience and a twenty-one-gun salute toward the war drums, and I quote: “Pretty much a good excuse to be drunk all weekend”. Welcome to Brain-Cave.
EULA (Sequined Mesh Mania):
The kind of band that has previously brought me on stage, shirtless, to do my signature “They call her EEEUUULLLAAA!!!” intro. Just a little smiling positive spirit, but when she hits the stage shit gets dark, dancing like some kind of psycho ballerina. Eulo sweats it out on the drums like he’s kickin’ the addiction, while his bass-playing counterpart gives the thousand-yard stare. Eula whispers the first song to us like one would before murdering them. The second joint came speaking in tongues with insane asylum rhythm, ‘twas a real heart attack rodeo. Next, it felt like broken record madness while she inhaled the lyrics like smoke from the mic. “I Collapse” came on with some red light, green light, Alice goes down the rabbit hole. It’s a real death march that leaves one in a musical abyss. Then the guitar started screamin’, which built into a wail to compliment some sexy vocals with black and white Hawaiian hula acid trip projected behind. The final song was a drop my guitar and bounce, five alarm fire, build ‘em up and knock ‘em down sound explosion complete with siren song and lustful writhing. Once again, it all culminated with a prayer to the drummer, and I quote: “Can you handle nasty weather?”
Guyana Ross & The Supremes (Scary Similarity):
Men in suits took the side stage with Quiet Loudly Max’s shadow shakin’ in silhouette. The back-up vocalists gave an old school intro for the man of the hour: Mr. Guyana Ross (Tim from Backwords), dressed to the nines in ladies attire. And, let me just say, it’s frightening how well he pulled it off, vocally that is. They did all the classics, clap attackin’ and doin’ the two-step bob. More than a crowd pleaser, it was one of those moments where all the musicians in the audience just look at each other and say, “Well, this is fuckin’ awesome”. And after the grand finale, I couldn’t agree more.
It was around this time we ran into one third of the Hard Nips, only this time with orange hair. She was so happy to see us she almost knocked a table over.
Zongo Junction (Afro Beatnik):
If threes a crowd then a handful of wild horns feels more like a water buffalo stampede on the African savannah. They huffed and puffed and blew the damn house down. Lookin’ like some kinda rowdy New Orleans dice game on doo-wop corners with Fellini expressions. Schatz sipped beer through Cheshire smile during solos, chattin’ and rat packin’. The piercing trumpet demanded attention as though calling the moon to shine brighter over Brooklyn, and I quote: “Everybody hug each other, ‘cause that’s what Luis would have wanted”.
Hoya (An MC is Born):
It was his first ever live performance, and he wasn’t gonna let the moment slip away from him. He exploded onto the stage hype as hell with audible support from the homies. I was a bit nervous as to what the response would be from a non hip-hop crowd, but Hoya’s energy was palpable and infectious, spreading through the audience like wild fire. There he went, destroying verses, working the room and the cameras like a natural. He really brought it back the golden age when he brought the boys on stage to just vibe with him like they used to do in 90’s. It felt like he was spittin’ faster with each track, goin’ full double time on the last joint. His brother copped a celebratory bottle of Black Label from the bar to celebrate, and with a puff of smoke from the pen it was over. Again, I quote: “First, it’s about hip-hop. Then, it’s about my peoples. Let’s do this.” (It’s worth mentioning that he also referred to Mr. Bella as a “beautiful Latin Jesus”)
The Suzan (Pulp Non-Fiction):
Next up was a gaggle of gals from the Far East who belted out harmonies with a vengeance. Led by a leopard print Mia Wallace on lead vocals and guitar, to her left stood the happiest bassist alive wearing a flapper headband and wielding a maraca. To her right, the studded keyboardist let out little chihuahua yip punctuations, while the drummer hunkered down in the back almost meditative. It was like a great musical drama with sounds creeping in from the jungle to the old country with a bit of Blondie as the base to build on. Birdcalls and break beats, the mood changed effortlessly from whimsical to intense between songs. Voices best used for charming cobras, the climax came with an R&B style vocal breakdown that solidified their place as everyone’s new favorite band.
Peelander-Z (Alien Monsters):
They’re basically just a bunch of multi-colored Japanese maniacs, Teletubby Power Ranger Poke porno animal gods. There’s the furry, checkered bald orange tiger spider with long yellow beard and a voice like angry Toshiro Mifune. Then there’s striped pink lobster bug, the green gogglin’ AKA tattooed zebra shark and finally, my personal favorite, the jolly blue rhino giant. There performance included a little punk and lotta madness including, but not limited too, “So Many Mike”, “Mad Tiger”, Richard Simmons exercise routines, crowd surfing, whistles, crowd limbo and percussion, jump rope, “Football Time!”, acrobatics, Luchador drum stick nose pick, “Ninja High School”, conga lines, “Taco Taco Taco”, towel turbans, scythe mic, mosh pit, and an Old McDonald cover. It all ended with an AC/DC light show synchronized dance routine, and I quote: “I’m not crazy, you guys crazy, that’s why I love you!”
It was a wild night to say the least, but my favorite moment was barely noticeable. The main man from Peelander casually walked to the edge of the stage and gave our photographer a fond pat on the head mid-performance. Real Zen like. Tune in tomorrow for more of the musical feast, in the meantime I’m gonna need some coconut water.