Saturday, June 2
So, the days of rock & roll so ball-busting you could actually feel your sperm count (or egg-production index) plummeting by the minute are over: the Club ("formerly known as," according to a demure little flier heralding Year Zero) Mesa will still host shows, but we doubt any fleshy reproductive organs will rupture to the perky pop stylings of Paul and Lara. Worse, that notoriously gooey carpet is gone, too. We thought it was just beer and puke, but it was really the heart and soul of Club Mesa, clinging weakly to our combat boots and pleading, "Don't let them take me!" But alas, they took you, good carpet, and we are the poorer (if cleaner) for it. Somehow, we can't see Alabama Thunderpussy playing Koo's Art Caf.
Yeah, ousted booker (after five long years and then some) Craig McGeahey kept telling us it wasn't the last show, even though he won't be bringing in the sleaze and busting balls there anymore. But aside from that little flier, we're not sure what's coming next, except that it won't be the Club Mesa we knew and loved and punked and rocked and sometimes even puked on. So pardon our sentimentality (and the solitary tear in our plastic pitcher of beer) over this for-our-intents-and-purposes last show.
It was sort of an odd vibe, really. We'd like to tell you Club Mesa went out with a bang, with people flipping out and weeping and prying up sections of the stage, but it really seemed more like business as usual. Lots of long hair, lots of tattoos, and lots of screaming, jetliner-engine gouts of noise—all the things that make us feel at home. Maybe that's how Craig wanted it.
The crowd was a little thin, but it was a last-minute show (the music was supposed to die on May 31, but they got a stay of execution—it's the fashion these days), and the usual assortment of leathery regulars still sat gruffly in the eyeball-puckering haze of the smoking room. "They're turning this place into a jazz club," someone told them. "You're shitting me!" they said through a mouthwash of booze and cigarettes. Indeed, Craig was just as chipper as ever, bouncing on his heels and grinning as the scary boys of Alabama Thunderpussy slithered onstage for the coup de grace. What a trouper.
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We wonder how Thunderpussy felt up there, a knot of metal types crowding the stage and a whole lot of lonely stretching to the back of the room (it looked so empty without that carpet—sigh . . .), but they seemed to have picked up on the solemnity of the occasion. "Sometimes you suck the dick; sometimes the dick sucks you," they intoned. Didn't Socrates say that originally?
There were knowing nods all around, and then they delivered the real eulogy—friends, we are gathered here today to rock. What a way to go. They sounded exactly like a bunch of stewed-and-tattooed longhairs from the Deep South with an album on sluts-and-stoners, marijuana-damage record label Man's Ruin should. (You can read about them at www.stoner-rock.com, if you're so inclined.) In other words, fucking trashed-out, metal-plated, rock-&-considerable-traces-of-roll.
Really, forget that other Pussy band from Nashville (though we think one of those six-foot fire-breather girls lives locally, so, er, don't actually forget them, lest we find the Locals Only HQ mysteriously torched one morning)—these hair farmers sledgehammered through songs so intricate and intimidating they'd probably qualify as heavy machinery in certain jurisdictions: all monolithic; low-end, shag-carpet-panelled-van; dazed-and-confused melodies. (You shoulda seen it when they started headbanging in unison: a rhapsody in grease and flannel, it was.) This is the kind of creative discipline that comes only with years of casual drug usage and playing guitar in your mom's garage until your fingers blister and neighborhood 12-year-olds start asking you to buy for them. We bet none of their parents thought they'd ever move out, but look at 'em now, Ma! Rawk stars!
To be fair, their singer did get a little lost in front of all the punishing onstage explosions, but then the ex-singer of Kyuss—c'mon, Kyuss! With the scary album covers!—climbed onstage and made everyone feel silly (kinda like tippling a little nitrous into your Geo Metro: it might shake some parts off, but the excitement is worth it, right?). And we learned that the only people who toss around those devil-horns much anymore are stoopid punk rockers. Real metal fans might flash a few for old times' sake, but mostly they just clap. And clap they did, until finally, the Thunderpussies were out of songs, and the applause died down, and that was it. "Thank you, guys," said the singer, "and goodnight." Famous last words, right? And then the lights went on, and we all stumbled out into the parking lot, ears ringing and balls busted for the last lovely time.