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We headed over to Clermont Lounge on Valentine's Day (the day created to make single people feel inadequate and lonely while making couples spend money on disposable crap or they feel inadequate and end up lonely) early in the evening to get prime seats, hoping maybe since it was a work night they'd start the show at a reasonable hour. We got the seats but the show didn't get going until the usual 11 or so with Tangerine, the opening act that wasn't mentioned in any of the propaganda beforehand. Tangerine do radio-ready power pop that's very Flickerstick, heavy on the hairspray and rock star posing, serious dorks who try hard, too hard. There were brief moments of passion/talent/inspiration, but only very brief - utterly forgettable (except in their butchering of The Monkee's Daydream Believer and The Stooges Search and Destroy.) But at least they brought in the cute chicks (I don't normally use that word in place of "women" or "girls" but looking at the fans of Tangerine no other word fits as well.) You wouldn't think it was possible to be more trite than a tribute/cover band that was headlining the evening, but there it was.
Hot August Knights came on with technical difficulties - a dead microphone - then finally got things rolling with their weird tribute to Neil Diamond. I'd like to know how many places on earth there are where you can see a Neil Diamond tribute band who mix in random hard rock hooks seamlessly with Neil Diamond's hits, fronted by a gay man who calls himself "Suleman" that looks and sounds startlingly like the real Neil, in a dive strip bar singing "Girl, you'll be a woman soon..." while three overweight overage semi-toothless strippers dance naked next to him - and the crowd LOVES it? The truly amazing thing is The Clermont Lounge has been host to countless surreal nights like this. There’s something magical about that place. Sure, it’s probably *black* magic, but magic nonetheless.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, The Helgas sent us a five song demo CD along with a press kit of sorts showing the new lineup, including Suzanne of Lust and Jason from 17 Years. The sound is a bit less minimal than the previous three-piece, but still a basic third-wave-punk sound - a few head-shaking chords with punchy hooks by a group that can actually play their instruments and play them well. Previously 17 Years had Lara Kiang's voice up front with Scooter, making a wonderful mix of feminine and masculine reminiscent of the LA band X. But with this incarnation of The Helgas Suzanne's voice gets mixed in with the background vocals, adding only a slight feminine softness to the hard, masculine sound. If that sounds good to you, and it should, hit their single release party at 9 Lives on the 28th or check their web site:

Degenerate LS sent us this response to last episode:
It wasn't really a surprise to see the former govenor of the most polluted
state in the nation bring his own previous folly to bear on the entire
country. Putting the interests of big business first has always been his
policy and continues now. Texas also boasts the fewest families with health
insurance and was almost bankrupted by his tax cuts. The man has a well
grounded foundation in idiocy so nothing he does surprises me unless he
starts making sense. Then I'd really be baffled as to what was going on.
In his first six months in office he alienated our foes and allies alike
with his outrageous comments and actions then Sept. 11 came along and
diverted attention from his foolhardiness. Osama Bin Laden really did Bush
a huge favor because most of the country has been snowed into thinking he is
a hero. The whole thing gives me a headache.

In other news, you may have heard about all the bodies they're finding up in northwest Georgia, where my father's side of the family is from, in the town called "Noble", my family name. If not, check it out:
I think this is the end-all beat-all definition of slack - the crematorium is broken so instead of bothering to fix it, let's just chuck the bodies out back and dump an ashtray in the urn instead!

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