Online coverage of the New York
Axl Rose circa 1990: Where have|
you been my blue-eyed son?
City music scene since 1996...
June 2006 Issue:
Guns N Roses
Guns N Roses at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY, May 15, 2006
Call them Guns N Roses if you wish, but any sleaze worth their lice will tell you that GNR wilted a long time ago. Without Slash, Duff, and Izzy, what you have in essence is a couple of hired Guns (plus Dizzy) backing a braided redhead who gets himself punched in the face by Tommy Homeboy Hilfiger. And yet, for four sold-out nights at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the Axl Rose Band brought the crowd to its sha-nanananana knees, knees. The dude may have slowed down a bit, and his looks have certainly suffered, but a Rose is a Rose is a Rose.
Fans waited for the band somewhat patiently, content to guzzle Coors (no joke) and sing along to radio hits of yore such as "Enter Sandman," "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Epic," and "Dance the Night Away." It was like hanging out in a 7-11 parking lot, except everyone was older and had less acne. When the lights cut out and the first few chords of "Welcome to the Jungle" shot out of the speakers, all you could hear were people screaming as loud and hard as they could. It was all I could do to not piss my pants and implode. Axl sauntered out in baggy ripped jeans, a black pleathery shirt unbuttoned to his midsection, big black sunglasses and sporting his braided hair in a ponytail. Yes, he looked like a douche bag, but it was a bit like the return of the Prodigal Son in that everyone was so deliriously happy just to lay eyes on him and hear him whine out the lyrics to "Out to Get Me," "Rocket Queen," "Knocking on Heaven's Door," "Sweet Child O Mine," and "Mr. Brownstone."
He sang as hard as he needed to make it convincing, and not one iota more. The high notes were especially treacherous you just crossed your fingers and hoped he'd make it without exploding into a puddle of Botox.
All the musicians got a chance for a solo between songs, presumably so Axl could catch his breath. This got to be tedious. (Dizzy Reed piano solo, anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.) No one gave a shit and it showed: people shouted and groaned, but they endured it. (Not like they had much of a choice.) This was akin to the reception they gave Axl's new material. "I have really low self-esteem," he cracked before performing songs off of Chinese Democracy. "I'm a little uncomfortable." So was the crowd when it realized the new songs were little more than rock noise and squealing. Coors run.
Getting back to the good ol days, Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach came onstage and threw his arms around Axl, screaming, "I love this man!!" The two sang "My Michelle" to a sea of screeching fan-girls in tank tops sitting on their boyfriends' shoulders. But "November Rain" was the night's best performance. Axl's voice was goosebump-inducing, and when sparks rained from the ceiling, it was Disney-perfect, a regular paradise city. Take me home, yeah yeah.
Go-Go's at Nokia Theater, New York, NY, May 19, 2006
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears was flowing from the speakers. The neon lights inside the Nokia Theater were glowing as everyone waited intently for the Go-Go's to take the stage. Suddenly, I was back in the heyday of the 80s, except people in the crowd had (marginally) better hair and PDAs. One chick was working the crimped hair and black headband with a bow on top. (I'm hoping it was just in homage to Belinda Carlisle.) Then there was the beefy bald dude wearing a tight t-shirt that said "I'm the 6th Go-Go." Yes, Go-Go's fever was positively palpable. Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine, and Gina Schock were on tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut Beauty and the Beat and goddess bless them, they brought down the house.
"Chick rock!!!!" screamed some dude with gelled hair before pile-driving his tongue into his girlfriend's mouth. "What's with this 8 o'clock shit?," Don Juan inquired, referencing the early 8 o'clock start time. "It's because everybody's like, 40," chirped his date. She was wrong. Everybody was not, like, 40. If it's one thing the Go-Go's have, it's mass appeal that has transcended trends and decades. There were pockets of younger girls excitedly snapping their gum and text-messaging their friends. The Beat knows no age limits.
A woman with frizzy red hair jumped onstage and led a chant of "Go-Go's! Go-Go's!" In between chants, she used sign language to talk to someone in the crowd. At first, she appeared to be just a loon with too many Heinekens under her belt. But it turns out she was there to sign the lyrics to every single song. The Beat knows no handicap.
When the Go-Go's finally came out, there was but one thing that ran through my mind, and that was how freakin' hot they looked. Hot and healthy. Belinda glided across the floor with a sassy swerve in her hips and mischievous smile. Kathy bopped up and down, rocking in tandem with Gina's drumming. Charlotte was the most subdued, but had the widest smile. And Jane was her trademark off-beat, comical, impish self. From the opening notes of "Our Lips Are Sealed" to the encore, all five women were beaming. Considering that these were the same five delinquents who at one point in time ingested enough drugs to kill a small town and couldn't stand the sight of each other, it was thrilling to watch them dig in and revel in both the music and each other. In what resembled a moment of a teenage girls' sleepover party, Jane and Belinda even broke out and did the Molly-Ringwald-80s-shuffle dance together.
The band played the entirety of Beauty and the Beat as well as classics like "Vacation," "Cool Jerk," and "Girl of 100 Lists," plus two songs from God Bless the Go-Go's, "Unforgiven" and "Throw Me a Curve." To introduce the latter, a song about loving your body as-is, Jane spoke her mind on the current state of skinny-dom. "What's with Teri Hatcher's legs? They're like my pinky!" she snapped. Then she joked that because she's a size 6, in Hollywood that's considered "woman size." "We got some junk in our trunk," she quipped. "Whaddya gonna do? We think we're hot." Oh hell yes. To drive the message home, Belinda bent over for the crowd and shook her ass during the song's chorus. Oh hell yes. When the last chords rang out, Kathy, Charlotte, and Jane hoisted their instruments in the air like bona-fide rock stars. These beauties will never lose the beat.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts take NYC, June 5 - 8, 2006
After seeing two of Joan Jett's four sold-out shows, NY Rock presents "3 Things You Should Know About Joan Jett":
- Jett's new album Sinner is packed with feisty, swinging punk rock with plenty of hooks and snarls. She doesn't reinvent the wheel; she just keeps pedaling. Tracks like "Five" (written with Kathleen Hanna), "Change the World," "Riddles," and "A.C.D.C." tackle everything from a quizzical government to dyke love.
- At 47, Jett is more polished and genuine than could ever be expected for anyone who has spent most of their life embedded in rock 'n' roll. She's neither disillusioned nor lazy nor is she a diva. Not content to coast on her leather coattails, she thought nothing of cutting off "I Love Rock N Roll" after the first chord because it was in the wrong key. This was at the end of her set, mind you. "You wouldn't have liked it," she said. She cares that much and the audience could sense it and return the love by promptly going apeshit when the song was finally fired up.
- She gets very sweaty by song three. Her skin glistens, her hair gets drenched, and little droplets of sweat stream down her washboard abs. Even her fingers sweat. Jett Sweat is pure sex serum. If you were to drink it, you would have superpowers. At Northsix in Brooklyn, Jett took a little yellow towel, stuck it under her shiny black top, mopped the moisture off her boobs, and tossed said towel into the crowd. You will not find it on eBay. Guaranteed.
[Editor's Note: Jeanne didn't catch the towel. If she did, you'd know it.
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by Jeanne Fury:
May '06: Sex Workers Art Show, Towers of London, Buckcherry
Mar '06: Andrew WK, The Vacation, Electric Six
Dec '05: The Ark, Tim Fite, Living Things, Independent Music Video Festival
Nov '05: Living Things, Bonk, God Forbid, Early Man, Face to Face, Secret Mommy, Various artists at the Continental
Oct '05: Black Halos, Fireball Ministry
Aug '05: Ronnie Spector
Jul '05: HomoCorps
Jun '05: The Hold Steady, Mastodon
Apr '05: Autolux, Supagroup
Mar '05: Kasabian
Jan '05: Juliette and the Licks
Nov '04: Ramones Beat on Cancer
Sept '04: Lamb of God
Jul '04: Avril Lavigne, The Shocker
May '04: Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stellastarr*, Ambulance LTD, Hurry-Up Offense, Lunachicks
Mar. '04: Suicide Girls
Jan. '04: Franz Ferdinand
Dec. '03: Stills, Gits, Opti-Grab, Toilet Boys, Modey Lemon, Slumber Party, Funeral for a Friend, Cougars, Fireball Ministry
Oct. '03: Billy Idol, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Warlocks
Aug. '03: The Lawrence Arms, None More Black, The Star Spangles
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Jun. '03: Fannypack, Liam Lynch, Stratford 4, Nada Surf, Amazombies, ARE Weapons, Deadly Snakes, Essential Logic
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Jan. '03: Enon, Penny Arcade
Dec. '02: Lost City Angels, McLusky, Black Keys, World/Inferno Friendship Society
Nov. '02: CMJ, Diamanda Galas, Longwave, Division of Laura Lee
Oct. '02: Sights, ESG, Princess Superstar, Bush Tetras
Sept. '02: Original Sinners, Northern State, Opti-Grab
Aug. '02: Paybacks, Gore Gore Girls, Cato Salsa Experience, Burning Brides
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May '02: Hellacopters, Gaza Strippers, Lunachicks
Apr. '02: Distillers, Nekromantix
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Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
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Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
Aug. '01: Betty Blowtorch and Candy Ass
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May '01: Ladyfest East Benefit, the Bellrays and the Greenhornes
Apr. '01: She-Rock-O-Rama, Blast Furnace
Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
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Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
Oct '99: Misfits
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Aug '99: Cabaret
July '99: Ancel and the Electric Church
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May '99: The Rise and Fall of Bikini Contest
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10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
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