The Vaults

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SW caught the cold I picked up in Amsterdam, which the entire world apparently has, so she wasn’t up for leaving the house, much less trekking across town to see if the Elvis show at the Echo Lounge was worth cramming into. Instead, I left her on the couch assembling our Amsterdam scrapbook while I headed around the corner to Northside Tavern on Friday night for the Johnny Knox version of Elvis’ birthday. I’d hoped that since both Echo and the Star Bar were having Elvis-themed events the same weekend, I could get into Northside without having to park half a mile away and squeeze into the yuppie-filled sardine can that the former dive bar has become lately.
Yet again, I was disappointed. I should’ve known when the only free parking space was a block away behind a brand new Hummer. I suppose I’m overly nostalgic. I long for the days when my favorite dive bars were still dive bars and you could get in for little or no cover, without struggling through a packed house, and see a great show. Those days are long gone for Northside Tavern. The room was packed wall to wall with Bill Gates look-alikes and their bleached blonde dates. Ugh.
But Kate James & Lost Country kicked things off with some pretty versions of some pretty good Elvis tunes done by a pretty girl. Eventually I lurked by the bar long enough to get a seat, though not one with a view of much more than the backs of the graying heads in front of me. The beer is still cheap and there are still strange characters at Northside, like the 60-something guy next to me, overweight, glasses, wearing a hat that said “The Man, The Myth, The Legend.” I wasn’t sure if it was an Elvis reference or something akin to “World’s Greatest Grandad.” A girl young enough to be his granddaughter danced with him at random, dyed black hair, black eyeliner, black leather jacket, tattoos, and a demeanor that screamed “date for hire,” especially when he sat down for a bit and she did a perfect table dance for him right there in the corner. It was only a little creepy, until he put his hands down her pants during one slow dance. Then it was far more than a little creepy.
Johnny Knox did up-tempo rockabilly Elvis, including a brilliant combination of Rock-A-Hula and Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by The Ramones. Random guest appearances helped round out the night, including John McLean from the house across the street from DP HQ and Sonoramic Commando.
In all, it was a good show. I just wish I could’ve seen a bit more of it.
Speaking of, Stomp and Stammer has the details this month on Johnny’s legal problems stemming from the car crash last year after which friend Scott Rogers passed away. Fulton County is pressing 1st degree vehicular homicide and DUI charges. It’s unfortunate in every way. As if losing a dear friend isn’t punishment enough. But you can help by attending the benefit shows January 30th at the Earl and Echo Lounge for the low price of $8 (I’ve also seen $10 listed as the cover, but either way it’s worth it and worthy. Heck, going to just about any Johnny Knox show probably helps, even if it’s just moral support.)

The Amsterdam trip has been compiled, I just need to check a few facts and make sure none of those photographed object to being shown in various states of intoxication and/or drug influence and/or having a good time. Should be public next episode.

Saw the new Tim Burton effort, Big Fish, this weekend. It’s a cute film, worth seeing, though not Burton’s best effort. The previews make it seem a little more imaginative that it really is, but it’s enjoyable, family-friendly fare.

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