Another Berries Special Episode…

Did the rock and roll thing last night, playing a show at Real City’s New Brookland Tavern, this time as what I guess were technically the headliners — although I think of us as more of an “agate type” kind of band — like the bowling scores on the “Local Scoreboard” page of the sports section. Still, it was a good time, so I’ll tell you about it.

It was originally supposed to be a four-band bill, but due to a scheduling conflict, it wound up with three groups, each doing a 45-minute set. There was a nice notice for us in the Real City alternapaper:

The Berries, Skull Baby – The Berries are unabashed in their love for that bygone Merseybeat sound, complete with clean guitars, pleasant hooks and crisp vocal harmonies. Skull Baby’s most obvious influence is ‘70s-era classic rock, but the band adds a healthy dash of its own camp-horror aesthetic, augmenting the songs with visual flair.

so we figured things boded well.

We arrived at the venue a bit after six and got our stuff loaded into the back room. Once that was done, we hung around a bit until the other bands were there, and we watched the openers, Psycho A Go-Go, do their sound check. After that, the Berries’ rhythm section went own the street a few blocks to the local Golden Arches. It was remarkably posh for a Mickey D’s, and looked comfortable enough to actually stay awhile, but I apparently wasn’t the first to think so, judging from the “No Loitering — You Have 30 Minutes to Eat” signs on the doors. And here I thought “fast food” referred to the providers, not the consumers. Such is life downtown, I guess.

We got back around 7:45, and spent the intervening hour chatting with friends and the folks from other bands, and then it was time for Psycho A Go-Go to, well, Go-go. This was the first show for the trio, and the first for any incarnation of the band in a little over a decade. The approach was rough-and-ready garage rock, very much in the tradition of the Back from the Grave anthologies. If you like your amps Vox and your guitars to match, these guys may be for you. Special kudos go to bassist “Mojoe” for invoking the spirit of 1973 Bowie with his ensemble of button-down shirt, Lolita sunglasses, and knee-length skirt.

Next up were our pals from Skull Baby, and they brought their typical brand of chaotic charisma to the stage. Their mix of horror-punk, psychobilly, and Dolls-style sleaze is brash, campily offensive, and delightfully funny, often simultaneously. They’re a guaranteed good time, and some of the sweetest guys I know. Any night I get to share the stage with them is a fun one.

Then it was our turn, and I think we had a strong show, shoehorning fifteen tunes into our 45 minutes. We debuted a cover of the Brigands’ “(Would I Still Be) Her Big Man“, and the two rows of crowd I could see appeared to have fun, with a couple of folks even ambling over from the bar to check us out as the set went along. A couple of folks told us that every time they see us, we seem to get better (and they charitably add that we weren’t awful when they first saw us.)

An interesting side note — the crowd last night included members of several of Real City’s garage and surf bands past and present. Could a (very small) scene be developing in the Greater Mondoville Region? Perhaps — it would be nice to see that happen.

So we finished up and loaded out, and a good time seemed to have been had by all in attendance, onstage and off, which is what we try for, right? With luck, we’ll get to do it again before long. Meanwhile, tomorrow marks the beginning of another school year; I’m glad I had one more chance to sleep in.

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About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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