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New Musical Acts at The Club

April 27, 2012

You might get the impression that, with all the writing I've been doing lately about those of us who work here at Uncle Steve's, not much has been going on with the live music scene itself. Well, if you thought that, you'd be dead wrong. Actually, there's been plenty going on, but I just haven't gotten around to writing about it until now.

Admiral Porkliver has gotten settled back in at Uncle Steve's, and for that we are all of course very grateful, with Bert and most members of the Rocking Dudes excepted, of course. Curiously, Admiral Porkliver has chosen to spend much of their time rehearsing outside of our regular business hours, so they haven't really played a live show here since they returned from their Christmas tour. I'm not sure exactly what they are practicing, but their bass player Melvin Mayo has told me that bandleader Stoughton Finney is in the process of putting the finishing touches on his newest magnum opus, which is rumored to consist of dozens of distinct movements and to last a full seventy minutes. The working title is apparently "Road Kill Soufflé in E Flat Minor." We'll all be holding our breath until they perform that one live, possibly some time next month.

I'm extremely pleased to announce that the band Nazi Sex Zombies, also known as NSZ, has been reformed, although the only remaining member from the original lineup is Pete Wilkinson. Cody Ferguson, formerly of Tripping Travis and the Psychedelic Mindblowers, has apparently come out of retirement and is now playing bass guitar for NSZ, and has even started dating a girl named Misty, who also attends Duckworth High. I understand that he's in twelfth grade, but that he's been held back a year and has already turned nineteen. I've also heard that Misty is in the ninth grade, but I can't confirm this. However, I can most definitely confirm that Norm and I haven't served either one of them a single drop of alcohol, scout's honor, although neither of us have ever been Boy Scouts. Just so you know.

You may recall that Pete borrowed my car a good while ago and that I'd patiently been waiting for him to return it. So, you can imagine how excited I was when he showed up at Uncle Steve's a few weeks ago, and how disappointed I was when I learned that he had completely totaled my car two months ago when he parked it on a hill, forgot to engage the emergency brake, and it slowly rolled down until it went off the side of a cliff and tumbled down into a heavily wooded ravine.

I had him take me to where it was, and after wading through a stream, tromping through a bunch of muddy lowland, and climbing up the side of the ravine, I found my car wedged between two large trees, upside-down with all the windows smashed, and looking thoroughly crumpled overall. I made some inquiries to see what it would cost to have it removed and restored, and the consensus seemed to be that the best thing to do would be to leave it where it was. I'd stopped paying insurance on the car several months ago, since I'd figured that I could start up payments again once I got the car back, so of course the insurance company wasn't going to help me with that one.

The lead guitarist for the Rocking Dudes overheard what happened, and he told me that I should call the police and have Pete thrown in jail. That just totally floored me, but don't get me wrong, I don't particularly care what he thinks or I wouldn't forget his name all the time. What has this world come to? I swear, I don't think there's a single ounce of compassion left in some people's hearts. If you think that I'll be throwing Pete to the wolves, you've got another think coming, buddy.

So, I guess I'll keep on riding my moped for awhile, but that's okay, because we all know just how expensive gas is getting these days. I'm sure that all of this is a blessing in disguise.

Anyway, getting back to NSZ. I'm not really sure what kind of musical direction they are going in, except to say that Pete is totally in charge. It's kind of the Pete show, with supporting musicians, if you know what I'm saying. Stoughton Finney of Admiral Porkliver has allowed two of his musicians to moonlight with NSZ, so the Reverend Red Butts is on keyboards and Dr Roscoe Hogg is on drums. I actually kind of like the new NSZ better than the old one from years back. They sound a lot less punk and hard-core thrash than they used to, and I really mean a lot. Actually, these days, they come across more as an avant-garde psychedelic lounge act.

Catherine has spent a lot of time in friendly conversation with Pete recently, lots of smiling and laughing, etc. We'll assume that it's just a bit of friendly chit-chat and nothing more, if you get my meaning.

So, let me tell you about other music acts that have performed lately at Uncle Steve's.

We are very happy to welcome back Beatrice McIntyre, a one-woman country fiddle act who left us a few years back after she married a Japanese dude and got a successful career going in the Land of the Rising Sun playing semi-nude at a sushi restaurant for Japanese businessmen. Well, that marriage didn't work out, since it turned out that Mr. Watanabe had a sadistic side to him, in addition to a number of unusual fetishes, which I won't go into here, since this is a family-friendly column. Let's just say that the weirdness and creepiness level got way too high for poor Beatrice, so she and Mr. Watanabe parted ways, and here she is in Bratwurst again, living with her sister, Jenny.

The other night, she performed a stirring rendition of "Glad He's Gone." Glad you're back, Beatrice. Come on everyone, let's show some respect. We all know that she performed semi-nude in Japan, but that's not going to happen here at Uncle Steve's, so let it go, Bert and everyone else. Stop insisting all the freaking time, alright?

We've got some brand-new acts to talk about also.

Some students from the music department at nearby Adlai Mortensen College were assigned an interesting project for a musical composition class. They were asked to make groups of four and create a few relatively brief compositions. One of the groups consisted of four members from the college's marching band, namely, a clarinet player, a snare player, a tuba player, and a xylophone player.

They enjoyed this activity so much, and had such good chemistry with each other, that they figured, why not play their course project songs at Uncle Steve's?

So, they got in touch with Travis, formerly lead singer for Tripping Travis and the Psychedelic Mindblowers, and he came up with a bunch of lyrics and vocal melodies for them at the last minute, and offered his services as guitar player as well. Expectations were low, and everyone was just having fun. Well, it turned out to be really cool, very unique, to say the least, especially with the clarinet and tuba in there, and the snare player got to use Dr Roscoe Hogg's drum kit, which did a lot to fill out their sound.

Needing a name, I suggested the Adlai Mortensen Five, even though Travis doesn't attend the college. This got shortened down to the AM Five. The tuba player went ahead and financed an electric bass guitar and combo amp, so it looks like this thing might have legs.

Another new act is a group out of nearby Duckworth, Masters of Death, which as you will probably imagine, is a death metal band. But this is a death metal band with extremely low funds, a minimal amount of musical equipment, and maybe a thimbleful of talent, if even that. During their last show here, the guitar player's combo amp died, so someone loaned him an acoustic guitar, and they had an unplugged kind of show. I actually thought they sounded a little better as an acoustic act. Well, they went from being irritatingly awful to just boring and lousy. That's a real improvement for them, I suppose.

Finally, we have a new solo performer. She calls herself Christy, and she plays acoustic guitar and sings songs about progressive issues. We like her shows. It's an interesting concept, since in Christy's case, the lyrics are actually more important than the music. She actually lectures to you through her music, and you learn a lot about the Occupy Wall Street movement, Darfur, the Trayvon Martin case, etc. Christy is a colleague of mine at the college, and we both work in the English Department. So, you can find out her last name on the department website if you like, but on stage she is just Christy. We've been working together at the college for several years, so I know her well. It was my idea to have her perform her original songs at Uncle Steve's. She needed some encouragement at first, but since the audience has been so supportive -- except for Bert, who is a dedicated Republican, and who had to be stopped from heckling her -- I think that she's hooked on it now.

-- Jake Silverman

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