This is an excerpt from our ezine
Degeneration Excerpt, a semi-weekly and semi-weakly ezine on Atlanta's
music scene, random travel tales, blasphemy and prophesy. If you want to
subscribe to that broadcast just contact us!
If you enjoy this tale you'll probably
love our lengthy tale from our trip to Italy:
|It was a
three-day weekend for Degenerate Press staffers. Friday night we
kicked things off at Cole's, a restaurant and lounge on Scott Blvd.
in Decatur. Decent food, but overpriced. Good beer at good prices.
Decent drinks at decent prices. But our reason for trekking across
town to a new locale was the Kingsized Quartet in the side room
where Mike Geier, done up as a hobo, sang an eclectic set of tunes
done in an old, minimalist style with lots of silly bullshit stories
about riding the rails in between numbers. Excellent stuff.
There was an odd collection of suburban restaurant baby boomer
clientele mixed in with Star Bar hipster regulars.
We made an early night of it
so we could get up at a reasonable hour and head north up I-75 to
Chattanooga for a weekend away. There was some snow on the ground, frozen
fountains, and people bundled up head to toe against the bitterly cold
wind. But we didn't let it chill our spirits as we checked into the Choo
Choo Holiday Inn, the site of the famed Chattanooga Choo Choo. The
courtyard sports the steam engine and several passenger cars that have
been converted into hotel rooms. Fun, but the train car rooms run
$150/night - not worth it for po' folks like us, so we opted for the
standard rooms in the comparatively uninteresting building out back,
overlooking a frozen pool and waterfall.
We hopped on the free
electric shuttle and headed downtown.
||On one of
our wanders about town we spotted this peculiar homemade camper
shell on a Mistubishi Eclipse, looking more like a dog house than a
We intended to find
fun stores and such but the icy winds soon had us seeking shelter. First
stop, Mary McGuire's, a big, faux Irish pub where they're out of the first
4 things SW orders and the only warm drink the bartender knows how to fix
is Irish coffee. But it's better than the wind-blasted conditions outside
and the kinda cute waitresses are in Catholic schoolgirl miniskirts, so we
hung around for a drink or two before braving the elements again.
The hike around town felt like an attempt to discover the South Pole - icy
winds and not a soul in sight. A few places are clearly closed for the
off-season, and the weather has kept all but the stupidest pedestrians off
Speaking of, many of the sidewalks have been torn up in a revitalization
effort that has slowly taken hold of downtown Chattanooga. I can remember
visiting the place some 10 years ago when the only thing to do was SEE
ROCK CITY, as the signs proclaim. Even 5 years ago there wasn't much to do
once you'd seen the aquarium and the sun went down. But now there are
upscale restaurants, a huge movie theater (in addition to the IMAX), and
several swingin' nightspots.
We stopped by the Downtown Mart, a must-see for it's incredible collection
of wigs and absurd hats. Absolutely fantastic. Then we grabbed a snack at
the Pickle Barrel, a tiny but cute bar where Chattacon members are
debating (no joke) whether Nemoy or Shatner had the better singing voice.
|Back to the
Choo Choo to freshen up, then dinner across the street at Mom's
Italian, a family-friendly pizza joint with a strange, pickley salad
but a very fine and affordable pizza.
Blowing snow didn't deter us
from heading back downtown to Rhythm & Brews, a good sized club that
reminds me of the Cotton Club back in it's Midtown incarnation - a long,
narrow room with the stage on one side instead of at the end. They offer
some excellent microbrew from the joint next door, Red River Brewery.
OK, all neo-hippie jam-rock-fetishists out there should skip a few
paragraphs or you may suffer from bleeding eyes 'cause I'm going on a rant
here that targets you. Yes, you.
act came on stage, Don't Trust the Radio, from Gatlinburg, TN.
I take it as a bad omen when a group has a banjo player and they are
clearly not a bluegrass band. Worse when the lead guitar is
acoustic. The penultimate bad omen is when the bass is a 5 string.
These are the indicators of semi-folky limp mush
"Americana" crap that has somehow resurged despite the
death of Jerry Garcia. For my personal tastes, I'd rather rock and
roll every night and party every day than consider the complex chord
structure and smooth harmonics of this style of music. There is no
better word for it than DULL and I can't even imagine liking this
stuff stoned - I'd be too numb already. Don't Trust the Radio play
very well, but it's like saying the new Hyundai is a very reliable
car. So fucking what?
Ah well, at least they didn't have a second
"percussionist" playing bongos, wind chime and/or
didgeridoo, the ultimate symbol of a jam band.
On the other hand, they said "We're gonna change it up here a
bit" between their 6th and 7th song with the word
"mountain" in the title and swapped the banjo for
mandolin. Goddamn, where are Drive By Truckers, or even GWAR, when
you need them?
Rage… building… as they toss in a Midnight Rider reference.
Guys, NOBODY looks good in a vest. Nobody. Take your performance
fleece and sweater vest nonsense to the Salvation Army and trade it in on
a real jacket 'cause you look stupid, especially when it's below 20
degrees outside. We must've counted a dozen idiots in vests Saturday night
alone. Awful. And nothing says, "I didn't bother to shower and/or pay
a professional to cut my hair" more than a baseball cap. Take a
shower, get a haircut, or at least get an interesting hat. For that
matter, get some fashion sense in the first place and stop wearing that
Back to our regularly scheduled rant.
There are a few attractive
women in Chattanooga, but it seems like the male to female ratio is way in
favor of the ladies. There were lonely guys roaming around in large packs
everywhere we went. This was later confirmed with informal polling of the
locals - lots of lads without lasses.
||Next up at
Rhythm & Brews was Jupiter Coyote - another 5 string bass,
another Allman reference (Whipping Post), but fiddle in place of
Goddamn you, Dave Matthews, goddamn you to hell.
Back to Mary McGuire's where
the place is full of college-age folks listening to two guys covering
country standards like David Allen Coe and Johnny Cash. Also dull, but
fewer vests in the crowd and better eye candy for both genders. SW finds a
fellow Texan to chat with while I ogle the best looking woman in town, a
lovely blonde on the arm of one of the few long-haired guys in town and
I'm damn sure he's the only one wearing those trendy jeans with the fake
worn/bleached patches. He holds his glass of wine and turns his nose up in
a manner that instinctively makes me want to pummel him and take his cute
girl over my shoulder and out the door into the night. Ah, those animal
But the cute couple is out of place in a town of average rednecks. One of
their friends gets suspicious of me because I have a camera and a notepad.
I have to show him the photos I've been taking, clicking through the
digital display of bands and food, before he grumbles and wanders off.
Others in his pack are less paranoid, or more sober, and invite us to
follow them to the next stop when last call interrupts our conversation.
Up the hill is another tiny bar, Stone Lion, which stays open an hour
later than the other watering holes. It looks like a forgotten crawl space
under the large house above, converted into a bar. There is a staircase
out front that goes to a balcony above it but I have to wonder who lives
in the rest of the building as the raucous crowd parties hardy until after
3 AM. An excellent little hole in the wall.
Somewhat hung over, we asked the front desk where we could get a decent
breakfast. Their only recommendation is the brunch at TGI Friday's. Too
bleary to argue, we head downtown and give it a shot. Mediocre at best,
and overpriced at that. Never again.
Almost human again, we hit the Tennessee Aquarium. They are currently
hosting an impressive collection of sea horses with some very surreal, Dr.
Seussian breeds, along with their standard river and sea creatures.
The day was considerably warmer so we wandered about, but there's not much
open on a Sunday in Chattanooga.
Eventually we ended up back at the hotel for a pre-dinner break. Then we
headed across the river and over the other side of Missionary Ridge in
search of Rib & Loin Barbecue. The drive showed us some of the
extensive sprawl that's hidden on the other side of the mountain.
Chattanooga is considerably larger than you would guess if you don't leave
the downtown area.
we found Rib & Loin, thanks to their large signs featuring
disturbing dancing pigs. Their t-shirts sport a pig holding a fork
in his mouth, looking up with big doe eyes as if to say "Please
are probably their strong suit. The ground pork is ground a bit too
fine for my tastes, and I don't think beef should qualify as
barbecue. Their barbecue chicken is ground in the same fashion as
the pork and beef, but packs a tasty, smoky flavor that almost makes
up for the lack of pork content - good stuff! Both the potato salad
and coleslaw got SW's approval and their baked beans are good too.
pudding for dessert too. Not the best I've had (needs meringue), but
after a pile o' pork just about anything would be eclipsed.
We were too pooped to party another night and everyone was crammed into
pubs watching the Tennessee Titans lose their Super Bowl bid, so we hit
the sack and watched hotel cable for a comparatively early night.
Monday we got off to a late start in search of breakfast and ended up at
Taqueria la Alteña, just off Broad Street south of downtown, for the best
mojado burrito I've ever had, and cheap. Damn fine food.
Short of a few shopping stops along the way at the countless outlet malls,
the weekend was drawing to a close.
Home again jiggidy.
"These people could put us out of
Photo Editor, Creative Loafing
no place like home... no place like home...
All content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and
cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends
with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play
nice. Copyright © 2003, All Rights Reserved