Three shows in four days. It went something like this:
Wednesday 9/10--Tony Clifton, BB King Blues Club, NYC
My initial excitement at seeing a listing for the return of Tony Clifton on the BB King Blues Club website a month or so ago had dissipated so much that as the workday ended on Wednesday, I wasn't really looking forward to the show anymore. Sure, I'm a big Andy Kaufman fan and thought it would be cool to see his creation come back to life (albeit as played by pal Bob Zmuda), but when I actually thought about it, I started to wonder what I was getting myself into. Watching Kaufman do Tony Clifton was one thing, but a whole show with Zmuda doing Clifton was something else entirely. Maybe, I thought, it would just suck. In fact, maybe it was supposed to suck. Maybe that was the point. But I had paid my $17, so I soldiered on.
I'm glad I did, because it's been a long time since I had that much fun at a show. Aside from the ridiculously hot dancers employed by Clifton and a band--the Katrina-Kiss-My-Ass Orchestra--that was actually pretty damn good, the endless barrage of intentionally off-key singing and absurdly offensive jokes that came out of Clifton's mouth during the three-and-a-half-hour show is something I will not soon forget. I would detail some of the jokes, but you've almost certainly heard all of them, which was sort of the point. Plus, if I wrote them down and told you that I laughed at them, you'd almost certainly think less of me. But if you already have as low an opinion of me as you think it is possible to have, stop me sometime and I'll share them with you--provided we are not in earshot of anyone else.
There were some lulls here and there, but they never lasted that long, which is a pretty good accomplishment considering the show's length. There was some of the Clifton/Kaufman "playing" with the audience (a few lit cigarettes were thrown from the stage, some tables had some drinks thrown at them), and a guy was thrown out for yelling at Clifton and giving him the finger. I know the temptation is to say that was a plant, but since he was only a few tables away, I must admit I have my doubts. I have every reason to believe the guy was legitimately hammered, and the woman he was with, who was laughing right along with him during the first set, seemed to grow weary of him after the intermission and bolted. So, maybe he wasn't a plant. Or maybe he was. Such is the genius of Tony Clifton.
Anyway, Tony Clifton's touring for at least the next few months. It's definitely worth seeing, provided you do not have a disdain for nasal warbling, off-color jokes, women in pasties, and dodging lit cigarettes. If you're cool with all that (like me...though, to be honest, I'm not all that into dodging lit cigarettes, which is why I'm glad none were thrown in my direction), you'll have a good time.
Friday 9/12--Maybe Pete CD Release Party, The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ
My mom was there. You weren't. Thus, we now have official confirmation that my mom is cooler than you. Keep trying, though. You might get there someday.
Anyway, you missed:
* Mark Linskey and the Streetcorner Matadors kicking ass in their New Jersey debut
* A special Maybe Pete acoustic performance of "This Town" (from their new CD, "Straight to Red"...heard about it?) among the crowd
* Me talking Denino's outside with two other Staten Islanders/Maybe Pete fans
* Maybe Pete's Staten Island Ferry-inspired "Someplace We've Never Been"
* Eric Safka's quantagious organ playing
* The Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?" done up right by Maybe Pete, Safka, Linskey, and Bruce Tunkel
* The postshow victory party at the Blue Swan
* A damn good time on a Friday night.
You can't keep depriving yourself of fun like this. It's bad for you. Be good to yourself.
Saturday, September 13--The Felice Brothers/AA Bondy, Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
I'd been trying to get to a Felice Brothers show for most of the year, so it was with a great sense of relief that Tunes in Hoboken still had a ticket left for Saturday's show even though it had already been declared sold out.
The Felice Brothers have been getting a fair share of press and acclaim lately for their live shows, and since they're from a part of the world for which I have a profound fondness (the Catskills), I was particularly interested in seeing if all the hype was true.
Conclusion? Maybe half the hype is true.
They were good enough, and there were definitely moments where they came awfully close to being great, but the ratio of "Wow!" to "Eh" ran about 1 to 5 for me. Seems to me the energy is there, but the songs aren't quite there yet (the best moments of the show, in fact, were almost exclusively covers--from spirituals like "I'm Saved" and "When I Lay My Burdens Down" to Townes Van Zandt's "Two Hands"). Still, I'll likely check them out again, and I'd say they're worth your while, too.
No pictures from the show because I was a little exhausted from the night before and a flea market in Atlantic Highlands earlier in the day to motivate myself to get to Maxwell's early.
What's that you say? A flea market in Atlantic Highlands? That's right, ladies, I'm single, heterosexual, and like going to flea markets. What are you waiting for?