Just what the hell was that that they were eating, anyhow?
I think they were called the Graffenstyne Creature. There were two (living) women and a man and one very credible looking decomposed corpse of indeterminate gender (no penis attached that I noticed), which they spread out in the area in front of the stage and proceeded to disembowel and chew on the intestines of, which glistened in the lights. I am quite confident that none of it was real, but not because of how it looked -- it was, as I say, very credible. If it had SMELLED, however, the way that an amply decomposed (but freshly disemboweled) corpse doubtlessly would have... I may have gagged and run screaming. I gather from what I've read of Mishima's self-disembowlment that intestines don't smell that good when they're FRESH, even.
Speaking of intestines, Danny from the Spores was in the house. You've heard his intestine story, right? As a younger man with a passion for homemade horror makeup and filmmaking, he was aware that you could go to slaughterhouses and get cow intestines and such for use in movies, which he did now and then, I gather. “The gig most people remember was when we played the York Theatre, and I brought them out and twirled them around my head like a lasso,” Danny reported proudly when I interviewed him some years ago for a punk magazine called Skyscraper. “Little did I know that out of these intestines, there was all this shit that was flying around, spattering the whole stage and the rest of the band and the crowd and everybody around. And we sang the song and I ended up throwing it into the crowd, and a lot of people thought it was fake - they thought it was just plastic - and they started booting it around the dance floor like a soccer ball, squeezing out all this blood and shit all over the place. It really stunk, because it was a couple of days old. The other bands refused to let us back down into the band room, because we stunk so bad -- we had it all over our clothes and everything. The whole theatre stunk!”
So it is by deduction that I conclude that those were not REAL intestines the ladies were gnawing. Not sure what they were. They looked, uh, satisfyingly chewy.
By the by, veterans of her BB Allin performances will know that Betty's fake poop does not smell like poop, either (BB did not surface last night, though the Fondlers got likened to GG by a friend).
Oh, and Betty got spanked with some intestines. And by her Mom, too, later on (or maybe she was just smearing cake on Betty's ass? There's a bit of information overload at these shows. Let photos be my proof?). The emcees teased us for quite awhile about a surprise guest, but never would I have figured it would a parent.
I mean, *I* would be pretty goddamn proud to call Betty my daughter -- she's one of the most creative, daring, entertaining and original performers in Vancouver -- but I don't always think of parents as being that supportive of stuff like this. In its own way, her Mom's presence and participation was even more eye-opening than the stuff with the guts. We exchanged smiles on the sidewalk at the end of the night while I was walking back to the Skytrain and she was returning to the Cobalt, perhaps after a food run... I guess Betty's not the only remarkable one in the family!
I did not photograph opener Werewolf Wednesday but man, that guy could sing like Chris Cornell (even covering "Fell on Black Days") and the bluesy duet he did with Betty on the song dedicated to Ren (which I did not know) was really very beautiful... but I was trying to charge my phone, which had crapped out, so I could share some photos and videos later.
The Imperial had a vastly expanded lineup from the last time I saw them, with Orchard on keys, fellow birthday boy Bert Man on drums, Frank from, I think, the Deadcats on second guitar (Scott of Big Top and the Frinks on the main, of course) and Richard of Daddy Issues on bass (and Cam on vocals, with he and Scott being the only constant from my pre-COVID experience of them). They blew everyone way, even those of us who don't know or spend much time with R&B. I didn't take notes, but I did shoot video of "Shotgun" (I think musta been the title) and enjoyed their Staple Singers cover ("Respect Yourself"). I owe one to Scott, sometime. Hell of a guitarist, nice guy, and the bands he leads are very striking...
Oh, speaking of the Spores, Sandy Beach was on trumpet; not sure who the sax player was. Understand, I was not really taking detailed notes.
There was also a sampling of burlesque. Was it Lord Heathen or Jack the Stripper who fussed with his wig and showed his ass? I have no clue. It was nice seeing men half-naked whose bodies did not look appreciably better than mine take the stage (nice nipples, though).
I'm not sure that all the substances consumed onstage were legit last night, but I'm pretty sure at least some of the booze Rebel imbibed was, which left me kind of impressed that she didn't burn anyone's hair with the cigarette she was smoking. At least not that I could smell.
As for the contents of that pipe Betty whips out, or that baggie...those are props, right? No one could casually consume such things onstage and still perform without a trace of intoxication, could they? The smell of the stuff in the pipe reminded me of the smell of the stuff in Betty's poo -- her prop poo, I guess I need to reiterate, which has a hint of patchouli as I recall, which I imagine her real poo does not -- but it's been awhile since I've smelled anything being smoked other than tobacco or weed.
Maple Ridge reprobates The Fondlers -- that was Goony on bass in the devil mask! -- closed the night. I bought their record (limited to 200 numbered copies), checked out a few songs, but footsore and exhausted, escaped quite quickly, so I could at least get the last Skytrain home (excuses, excuses). They kicked off with one where they made a point of spelling out "fuck" as F-U-K in the chorus. I can see some wit to that but Betty is a hard act to follow...
Buncha people I know were there. We all had fun. Wasn't as packed as it should have been, maybe because it was expensive-ish to get in ($35) or maybe because since Betty booked the gig, stuff came to light on social media about the Cobalt that turned people off again, I dunno. Only the second show I've seen there since wendythirteen got ousted in 2009. The place has cleaned up nicely -- no shitwater smell, not even a spilled booze smell -- but the toilets need a lot more graffiti to feel like "home."
You can't go home again, I have heard.
But speaking of the toilets, some dude came in to piss next to me and made a point of standing at the urinal staring at me at a an angle, so I could get an eyeful of his cock if I wanted it. I did not want it. But at least it's a gender neutral washroom, so it's not just dudes who can be treated to such phenom!
I guess girls wouldn't be standing at the urinal, though Betty DID whip out a cock during "Love Gun", and she also had some sort of piss-blasting spritzer rigged in her panties, it seemed, soaking a guy named Diego, I think, in the face.
She made comments about "your father's cock" before two songs, this time, only one of which was by KISS. I need to read her lyric sheet real bad. She also did what I think was a PJ Harvey song about MMIWG, getting the audience to shut up so she could speak from the stage about how indigenous women are 12 times more likely to go missing than non-indigenous women. That's a hell of a statistic. There were a few indigenous women in the audience last night, which was nice to see. I once had a First Nations girl come onto me in a VERY overt way on the sidewalk in front of the old Cobalt, grabbing my goatee and telling me she liked to fuck white chubby guys! It makes for a striking memory -- I don't get overtly come-onto very often (I've had more men try to show me their cock at urinals than strange women say point blank that they wanted to fuck) but there was a different female on my mind that night (like, someone I actually was pursuing a relationship with) so I respectfully declined. I thought of her fondly a bit (and of my former partner in Cobalt coverage, Femke, who one time walked to a corner store to buy kitchen lights to put in some of the burnt out fixtures above the old Cobes' stage; we could have used some of that last night).
But to return to Betty, she also dedicated another supremely bluesy song to an absent Murray Acton ("I'm a bad bad girl," I believe was the chorus) and did a Weener Issues song, "It's Gonna Be a Long Night," which I had not expected and loved, having missed that Ween tribute. It really does sound like Motorhead! Daddy Issues ended on Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" (inviting 80's girls to the front) and Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick," though I was over in the corner charging my phone some more at that point and didn't see if she pulled enormous gluey strings of an undisclosed stretchy substance out of her crotch for that, THIS time.
Betty changed costumes at least three times during the night, unless you count her disrobing onstage during the Daddy Issues set, which would be #4. Is Betty's flesh also a costume?
A case could be made.
I had brought gig buddy Adam Kates to the event and kinda blew his mind, I think. He emailed me at 3am to ask, "Just wanted to know when you'll have your blog done, about the show we saw? Can you include my quote 'rude and crude if that's the way you like it' by me?
Yes, Adam, I can! And I do like it. There's something massively purgative to nights like last night -- a ton of bullshit is burned away, a ton of pretending-to-be-nice-so-we-don't-offend-anyone, the default mode of life in the real world, is replaced by pretending-to-be-AWFUL-so-we-offend-everyone. But the room was full of really good people (except maybe that guy who really wanted me to look at his cock) and no one got offended that I could see. Though I did get some of Betty's piss-blast on my face, bouncing off Diego's, and spattering the stage for the Fondlers to deal with.
At least it didn't smell.