Rabbits Full of Magic

23 November 2009

 

The Back Pockets Meet The Blue Ribbon Glee Club



On Friday night at the Hideout in Chicago I performed with the Back Pockets to a crowd that quickly filled up the hall and sold out the venue. Our lead singer Em was sick but she stuck it out and managed to get through all the songs without he voice failing her once! Drummer Billy's foot is giving him less trouble these days so the bass drum was back, and Sean and Michael (both from Carrollton) provided wonderfully trippy accompanying banjo and lead guitar while Henry and April were in charge of theatrics. We did this piece called "Cannibal Erotica" where April thrashes Henry and leads him on a feral chase through the audience, knocking over drinks, bumping into people, and concluding with a ritual sacrifice wherein confetti somehow covers every inch of the club. The song performed during all this is a spooky two-step blues thing that sounds like echoes from the Okefenokee swamp.

Em did amazing face paint on everyone, and turned me into a tribal warrior that clearly called for the skeleton suit. I played bass as a silent tribute to John Entwistle.

The headlining group was a 30-member collection of singers called The Blue Ribbon Glee Club that wowed me during soundcheck with a rendition of "California Uber Alles" by the Dead Kennedys. After our set I chatted with some beautiful women from the group about Chicago/Atlanta, forgetting that I looked an insane voodoo zombie until nicknamed me "Scary". They said they don't play too many shows out of town but made some records/merch that looked nice. The only way I could imagine them touring was in a schoolbus. I ended up meeting a third of the BRGC, which is comprised of men and women of varying ages from the Chicago area, and all whom I met were extremely cool and friendly. They sing lots of different songs, several of which I loved since I was a teenager. During the show they played "Be My Head" by The Flaming Lips and then "Here Come the Warm Jets" by Brian Eno and by that point I was dancing so hard that a guy with Eraserhead hair invited me onstage to join them in renditions of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and the Dead Kennedys closer.

Later he said he wanted the Back Pockets for a backing band but then realized we weren't in Chicago. Upon brainstorming the next night we decided to get a grant to put on an experimental theater production sung by the Glee Club, with the Back Pockets backing, shadow puppetry and scene art from Henry and Em and projected video collages by me. Once we do a month or two of shows in Chicago we will take it to Japan. Dreams.

Anyways the BRGC are awesome and totally rad and the most amazing thing of all is when I looked at their 7" it listed "Bad Kids" by the Black Lips and I pleaded and pleaded for them to do it so they ended up opening with the song from my Atlanta friends! What a coincidence! Kristy (of Wonder Root fame) was there with us documenting the trip and she caught that performance on video so it will probably be on youtube at some point.

It's funny cos also in Chicago I heard "Walkabout" by Atlas Sound twice in different stores.

The trip was wonderful, thanks especially to what I term "The Atlanta Effect" wherein most anytime I go out of town to someplace known for cold/windy/rainy weather it is nice and warm and sunny the entire time I am there. It happened in Chicago last weekend, and it happened when I went to Sweden for two straight weeks, and it's happened a number of times in New York around Christmas.

I had never spent much time in Chicago and our drummer Billy is from there so we ended up couch surfing and staying in different parts of the city, which was really a great way to see just how big of a city it is. Chicago is awesome, and has many beautiful public areas to walk around (parks, the waterside, The Bean, etc.). On our last day in town we went to the Art Institute museum (just like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and walked around slack-jawed and inspired.

The Back Pockets play next saturday's cartoon-themed art show at Wonder Root. I lost my camera battery somewhere on the side of a road in Kentucky, so no new photos from me for a while... :-( Hopefully I will get a disc of ones Em took


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