Friday, May 26, 2023

Gigs of early summer: Asian Persuasion All-Stars, Betty Bathory, Rodney DeCroo, AK-747s, and Me Bats + Circus in Flames

It is too hot to sleep, so I am awake, again, blogging somewhat casually. Various gigs and such are competing for attention over the next while, as summer kicks into gear. 

Asian Persuasion All-Stars have a gig at LanaLou's tonight, which would be great, except I'm going to be at the Cinematheque for a double bill (possibly on far too little sleep!). I interviewed Tim Chan and Eric Lowe of that band here; I've only ever caught them at a Bowie Ball, and would love to hear "Racist Friend" live, in particular - and love that they managed to make maybe the least pandemicky pandemic video ever around it. 

Betty Bathory is also doing a couple of things: Weener Issues, a tribute to Ween by Daddy Issues, is happening at the Lucky Bar in Victoria tonight and at the Railway tomorrow. I am told four songs definitely on the set will be "It's Gonna Be a Long Night," which saw Ween channeling early Motorhead ("we peed on that one first," Betty quipped on Facebook); "Baby Bitch," which apparently is a favourite Ween tune for a few people out there; "You Fucked Up;" and "I'll Be Your Johnny on the Spot." There's a lot more on the setlist, but "I don't wanna give too much away," she says. I don't know if I know my Ween lore enough to feel fully prepared but it'll be a great excuse to check out the Railway again.

Next weekend, meanwhile, Betty will bring BB Allin and the Stabbers back to the stage, after a very long hiatus, with the catch being that both shows are being held on Vancouver Island. I have a soft spot for GG, but it's not uncomplicated, since he was a pretty antisocial, unsavoury wreck, probably operating on a couple of personality disorders (if you haven't read it, check out this Legs McNeil interview with a character named Johnny Puke, who was with GG on his last day). I loved Betty's BB act last time I caught it, but going to the island for a show is not uncomplicated. Read my interview with Betty - my first encounter with her, in fact - about the BB show here

There are other local gigs competing for that weekend, too. Rodney DeCroo will be doing a launch for his new book, Fishing for Leviathan, also featuring CR Avery. "I worked on this book for a little over three years," he mentioned in a message, "so it's been awhile since my last collection. I'm good with that as I'm not a big fan of trying to publish a book every year." Truth is, I have a much better chance of convincing my wife to see Rodney DeCroo in Vancouver than BB Allin in Victoria, though Rodney won't be smearing any shit on anyone, either authentic or ersatz. He tells me, of the event, that:

We're having a poetry book launch celebration and show on Friday, June 02 at Backspace ( Blake Williams art studio/warehouse at 1318 Grant Street, just off the Drive). I'll be reading poems and performing with my band The Metaphors (the band I played with at VIFF). C.R. Avery is kicking things off when a set of his stuff as well. Some of my street photography will be on display too.

Rodney and I talked about his VIFF Centre show here. Apparently tickets for that event are almost sold out, so I wouldn't hesitate if you're interested. I had actually thought I would catch the AK-747s at Bullys in New West that night - deets here - because that's a very convenient, cool space, where my wife and I spent last Halloween (watching Betty, in fact, with me in drag and my wife as Frida Kahlo; do look at that post, if you've missed it). But I could see the AKs at Red Gate instead, on June 9th... hmm.

...which brings us to June 3rd, where there's a show I'm very excited about, involving the newest incarnation of Stab'Em in the Abdomen, the Me Bats (more on which below) and Doug Andrew's band the Circus in Flames. I did a very substantial Doug Andrew piece for the Straight, back in 2017 - that being part one; part two is here. One of those parts includes the story of the tour Shanghai Dog did with the Replacements! The Circus in Flames was, in fact, one of the last shows I caught before the COVID lockdown, with Doug inviting the audience at the Fairview to sing "Happy birthday to me." Which was a really sweet thing for him to do!

Since that gig, in no particular order, the couple Erika and I were at the show with separated, the Fairview shut down, and COVID changed everything for a couple of years (not so you'd notice so much now, which makes the whole thing seem that much more unreal). What did Doug do in that time? I fired him an email and asked for an update: 

Although I did some solo and duo gigs during & post-COVID, last Saturday, May 13th at the Princeton was the first Circus In Flames show in a long, long time.  Right around COVID, I needed a change so I got my Telecaster back from Brian Barr and started writing songs with a different format in mind.  I've trimmed the band down to a four-piece electric combo and May 13th was the first show with our new electric bassist, Duncan Chambers.  I was extremely happy with how the new sound and new songs went over on the 13th and we're looking forward to playing again at the Princeton on Saturday, June 3rd with the Me Bats and Li3.  We're going on last and I hope to see you there.  Good to hear from you and thanks for checking in on The Circus!

Now, I have no idea what Li3 is (they have a bandcamp, if you want to check them out), but the Me Bats are Stab'Em in the Abdomen, featuring Ed Hurrell and Eddy Dutchman, last seen by me covering Lou Reed songs adjacent to my Princeton Meat Draw experience. I interviewed Ed about the Stab'Em backstory here; he tells me the band, in its new incarnation as the Me Bats, have "PRODUCT for the first time in 40 years," including free buttons and maybe stickers, if supplies have lasted, because "why even bother to try and make $$ in this stupid environment." The band also has "a video planned about worrisome things in our insane society," like "assault rifles in the hands of maniacs."

Why did Stab'Em change their name, though? Eddy Dutchman explains, "The band Stab 'em kept getting thrown in Facebook jail because of the algorithm searching hot words. So Stab'em kept getting us black balled. So, being old fart rockers that don’t give a shit, we just wrote Stab'em backwards and we end up with Me Bats. So."

Of course, I have a song out there (with the help of David M. and Coach StrobCam) called "If I Was a Bat," so there's a pleasing consonance between their name and the only song being occasionally publicly performed that I have a hand in (there are, in fact three versions of it on Youtube, one actually sung by me, before my tongue got surgically mutilated, which is part of the subtext of the song). So "Me Bats" is a fine band name by me. But anyone needing a different band name can seize on what I think was a typo in EddyD.'s email to me, wherein he wrote "old fart rockets." I fixed that, but not without some regret, because "the Fart Rockets" would be an awesome band name, for the right kind of band. 

Anyhow, a few gigs of note, this weekend and next. Plus Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, June 7th. (There was an only slightly mouldy album by Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit at the Wildlife Thrift on Granville yesterday). And then on June 10th...

No comments: