Halloween Week '98
Over a year after I declared the Bhatt-zine dead and two issues of Institutionalized later I am reviving the Bhatt-zine.
There could not have been a better week to revive the Bhatt-zine; I cannot remember a better week of music in my life.
10/25/98 Suicide Machines/Avail/Big Wig – Tramps
Where is there room for error when you have Avail and the Suicide Machines playing together? This show proved once again that Avail on the line up guarantees a fine performance and a show worth noting down. I showed up and Big Wig, the opening band, had three songs left. The second of their last three songs was a Gorilla Biscuits cover of “Big Mouth.” Of course as a recent Gorilla Biscuits’ fan I have heard this song at least twice a day for the last month. When I started singing along all the under 20 crowd, which was at least 95% of the audience, looked at me in amazement, as if to ask how I knew the words to this song.
Avail followed with a fine performance. They concentrated their set on the last two albums. Every song they played was awesome and better than the CD recordings. Avail puts on a great live show. The crowd was totally into it. There were a couple circle dances and nice size pit for people to go off in. When every song is great it is hard to pick out the highlight of the show, but that may have come when they said this would be their last song and they closed the night with the latest album title track Over The James. Knowing this would be the last minutes of joy that Avail would be bestowing upon us the crowd took it there. A good show it was, but I don’t think any Avail show will ever compare to the Avail show I saw at Coney Island High last spring.
The headlining act was pretty good too. I like the Suicide Machines for their kind
of poppy-punk OP Ivy-ish sound. Clearly a different type of experiences
than the Avail set, but still pretty good. They mixed it up between
songs off the new album and the first album. Their stage antics
were pretty funny so that was good. Hell, they are a bunch of kids
with a band that has a good following and were on the Warped Tour, how
could they not be having fun? During their set I realized that I
had definitely come to see Avail, but this was a nice added bonus.
I bought their new CD at the show. Haven’t really listened to it
yet, but everyone has been telling me that it is more punk rock than the
first one. Live it was hard to tell.
10/29/98 Rancid/Hepcat – Roseland
For some reason this was an early show. I got there about 8:30 and Hepcat was already half way through their set! As to be expected, what I caught was awesome. Most of the crowd wasn’t into it though, they were there to see Rancid. Part of the charm of Hepcat is the Alex Desert and Greg Lee duo vocal barrage. Both of these gentlemen and scholars of ska know how to sing and dance. Tonight Hepcat represented with only one singer. Alex Desert didn’t represent tonight. I have seen him in the ads for Ted Dansen’s show “Becker” so I guess he is taking a break from Hepcat to act. Kincaid filled in nicely for him as ska dancer extraordinare; however, something is just not right when you don’t have the melodious duet filling the club with the talent they have perfected. The Roseland is also quite a large venue (capacity of at least 500+) and the acoustics cannot be expected to rival those of Coney Island High, The Wetlands, or CBGB’s. Regardless, I enjoyed the few moments I had to take in Hepcat.
Between the sets they played some great old Suicidal Tendencies from the first album and what else should come on but “Institutionalized,” the song I named my ‘zine after. It seemed as every one came out to support this show. I saw Toby from H2O, Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys, the singer from Kill Your Idols, and a few others.
Tonight was the first time in four years Rancid has played NYC and have not sold-out and didn’t have to add extra nights which subsequently sold-out.
Rancid definitely set the night off. Even though the new album “Life Won’t Wait” is not even comparable to the first three albums the entire set was awesome. They played songs from all four albums and when played live the songs from the new album are totally punk rock!
Every song was great, whether it was a punk rock or ska tune. They only played an hour and could have easily played another hour with all the good songs they didn’t play. I spent the entire time up front and in the pit. For the first time there was no skinhead guy twice my size at the front of the pit putting up anyone who braved running across the pit. For some reason, for the first time ever I took it upon myself to play the role of the guy at the front of the pit putting everybody and their mother up. The benefit of that role is that when you want to go up every one you put up over the course of the night comes out to support you. If it wasn’t for the bouncers pulling me down I probably could have rolled through entire songs. It doesn’t hurt that next some girls I am the lightest person rolling.
Rancid only played for an hour, but that hour was great. I hope that tomorrow
I can open my left eye. It seems that I got kicked in the eye and
that it going to close up when I go to sleep. Both Rancid and Hepcat
were awesome, but that was to be expected. The only observation
worth noting is that with the increase in income Brett Reed and Tim Armstrong
seem to have gotten more tattoos.
10/31/98 Murphy’s Law/Skarhead – Coney Island High
There are Murphy’s Law shows and then there are Murphy’s Law weekends. This was a Murphy’s Law weekend. The last Murphy’s Law weekend I participated in was in Bostone ’97 and I chipped my teeth at that Murphy’s Law show and saw the BEST Skatalites show ever.
Support came from all over for this Murphy’s Law weekend.
The Angry Young Staley, now a misnomer on all counts, flew out from California on the red-eye Thursday night and got to the Bhatt-cave around 8:30 AM Friday. Next e.Bowla came down from Bostone and got to the cave around 9:30 PM. Curtis, a.k.a. The Chestnut Squirrel, was the last of the Friday arrivals. He flew in from Okinawa, Japan and got to the cave close to midnight on Friday.
Staley got to my house around 8:30 AM and by 10:00 AM we were done catching up. A slice of Koronet pizza and a breakfast beer were needed to start off the day correct. At least an hour of the afternoon was spent by me, Staley, and e.Bowla trying to convince the Dirty Greggel to get on the bus with e.Bowla and come down for the weekend. Of course some people you cannot count on and we realized that Greggel was down for the count. Duly, Staley arranged for a barrage of hate-mail to arrive on his work and home e-mail accounts. Around 4:00 PM and few beers later Staley and I headed down to the Village. As we passed by Coney Island High that sign out front that says “Happy Hour 2 for 1 - 4:00 – 8:00” was the welcome card we were looking for. A couple of pints of Rolling Cock each and a little Iggy Pop on the TV and we were ready warriors for the rest of St. Marks Place. We hit some of the regular crevices and then returned to the start and hit up the Famous Cozy Soup’N’Burger.
Solidly fed we headed to Sophie’s to try and catch some Simpson’s re-runs and a couple pints of “Dark.” The Sophie’s sojourn was sadly short, but the hour was getting close to the eminent arrival of e.Bowla.
e.Bowla beat us back to the cave, but after a quick tour of the ‘hood his return found me and Staley in the cave. We hit some Miller Lites until Curtis arrived and the real drinking began. Staley, e.Bowla, and I all drank a single 40 of St. Ides, Curtis however was really thirsty and finished off two 40s of the Patron Saint. With the warm-up drinking done we headed for a second Sophie’s sojourn. After two tables and at least three pitchers of Guinness which was spilled on several occasions, hence the two tables, we decided to head back to the Bhatt-cave when they made last call around 3:45 AM. How can any evening with e.Bowla be complete without a closing meal? We passed up Korean and Koronet was closed. That left only one possible choice. I arranged for four Mike’s Papaya dogs and four breakfast sandwiches. With the 12-pack of Miller Lites gone we picked up a 12-pack of Coronas to finish the night off and provide for Saturday morning’s breakfast beers.
A few hours after we closed our eyes and my apartment buzzer had rung four times, I thought I heard my apartment buzzer. What could possibly be buzzing my apartment before 10:00 AM!? There should be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that specifically states that it is a violation of Ajay’s rights to rouse me before noon on a Saturday or Sunday unless someone died. After asking who it was twice, only to get a high pitched “Is this Bhatt-Cave?” reply, I let it in. The Dirty Greggle had played us like a bitch all along. He had purchased a tix on the first Saturday morning shuttle flight to NYC several days before and was now at the cave. To his disappoint we didn’t greet him with shouts of joy, but drunken looks of hate for his deceit as we all returned to a state of happy slumber. Curtis, effected by the alcohol and jet lag, went for an early morning walk and returned with three plates of food and possibly spoke to the Dirty Greggle unaware of the games and deceit that he subjected me, Staley, and e.Bowla to.
Finally around 3:00 PM we were all awake and enjoying the end of the Coronas. It is a simple life I lead. Thoughtlessly I brought the "Minions of Filth" to La Casita for five breakfast specials, only to be followed by a pitcher of beer at Cannon’s. With some time on our hands we took a trip to Times Square to see some of the sights. With a few sights behind us we headed for the obvious sights, ten pints of Guinness at McCoy’s. At this point there is nothing you could want more than a slice of Koronet. Once again with some food back-up we hit up some more beverages. Back at the cave we finished off what was left of the case of St. Ides 40s. One 40 each and we were ready to head to Coney Island High for the 3rd Annual Murphy’s Law Coney Island High Halloween Bash.
We got down to Coney Island High and there was quite a nice line for the show. Some how there was a hole in the line near the front so the five of us walked into it to fill the gap. Several of NYC’s finest authorized brutalizers, a.k.a. NYPD, were out front. Without regard for the one-timers we poured two double deuces of 8-ball into a Coke can and drank them right under their very round stout noses. Coney Island High has been under pressure recently since Mayor Ghouliani says he wants to close the place down since they don’t have a cabaret license. Moshing cannot really be called dancing. What Coney Island High needs is a riot license. To avoid a problem, Coney Island High announces that the show is sold-out and only ticket holders and people on the guest list can get in. Clearly an “act” for the brutalizers. So after about ten minutes I go back up to the door and say I think I am on the guest list. The door guy says, “you weren’t on the guest list ten minutes earlier and now you are?” I say, “I think John put us on the list, let me check.” He let’s me in. As expected when I got up to the person taking money, and checking the guest list, I had my money out and she was eager to take it. I told her to wait a minute. I went back to the door and told the door guy to “let everyone else in, were on the guest list.” We all paid our money and got in. When we went to check our coats and they told us they cannot take anymore coats. We talked the coat check girl into taking our coats, even though she had to put them in random places like the candy shelf.
The band playing when we got in were playing mostly, if not all, covers. Finally Skarhead went on. I checked my glasses in with the sound guy. I was moshing around a bit and enjoying the Skarhead set. Guess what happens with the NYPD waiting out front? A fight breaks out! I happened to be right next to it too. Without a moments hesitation I did exactly what every instinct told me, I jumped in. There were two guys fighting, both of them in front of me. I jumped the closer of the two from “behind” and basically held him back with my arms locked around his chest and arms so he couldn’t hit the other guy. With out my glasses it was hard to see if someone jumped the other guy too, but no one was hitting the guy I jumped so I figured someone jumped the other guy too. The guy I jumped turned out to be Freddie Cricien, the singer for Madball (I have a Madball sticker on my chain wallet.) Freddie kept telling me to let him go and other people were yelling at me to let him go, but I wouldn’t even after I figured out who he was. Then when other people started fighting I decided to let Freddie go. When the lights went on I saw Goat, the Skarhead drummer, run over and start hitting some guy in the back along with a bunch of other people fighting. I was sure that the NYPD was going to a pull their famous Stormtrooper’s of Death maneuver and come in and start kicking everyone’s ass and cancel the show. Luckily the one-timer’s didn’t find out what happened, the other guy was kicked out and the lights were turned off. Freddie got up on stage and dissed the other guy saying how he kicked his ass even with one broken hand. Thank Kali the show went on. Skarhead finished their set off, quite nicely too.
Between the Skarhead set and the Murphy’s Law set all of The Minions of Filth found our way up to the front of the stage. We were ready to do this in full force. And it was also in full force that Curtis caught someone’s head right into his own almost as soon as the show started. From that point on his head began resembling that of a unicorn. Unfortunately he pulled back to spectator status after his head-butt experience. Although in his role as spectator he was able to witness dr.bhatt at a NYC Murphy’s Law show. Of course all the regular shenanigans must take place which include me rolling excessively, drinking as much beer as possible while not breaking form, singing along with every song, getting some decent mic time, and excessive stage time. (On a side note: in 1996 at Jimmy G.’s Murphy’s Law Birthday Party show, since my birthday is the day after Jimmy’s, when the cake came out and I happened to be on stage and Jimmy just got the crowd to say “Happy Birthday Ajay” he asked me “should we eat it, or should we chuck it?” Well needless to say the pit was covered in cake.) Although I know that I am always a very active participant at Murphy’s Law shows it wasn’t until Curtis mentioned that most of the show I was either on stage or rolling did I realize that I am an over-active participant of the Murphy’s Law experience. Hell, the back of my nugget is on the Murphy’s Law “Good for Now” CD back sleeve picture.
Just some of the ways the Minions of Filth participated. I got on stage and in an attempt to get Murphy’s Law to play Crucial BBQ I made a shout out to The Ape-Man BBQ over the mic. (For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of a Murphy’s Law show, they never have a set list. They ask the audience what they want to hear and play what ever they want or the audience wants at the time. I cannot even count the times I have made a request and heard it played next.)
I ended up with the standard issue Murphy’s Law wounds and additional damages that included damaged ribs and arm and leg wounds. Staley suffered from excessive facial wounds. He also got the tail-end of the Murphy’s Law party ball before he finished it and bowled it across the pit. That party ball may have caused his current illness. I am starting to get Staley’s illness and I stayed away from the party ball. The Dirty Greggle lived up to his namesake and totally ruined one of my shirts. It will never again resemble the original white color. The Dirty Greggle took it home, as a souvenir, or more likely as a basis for divorce I assume. And the e.Bowla had some ugly, unexplainable eyeball damage that blew up his eye a bloody red with visible damage, a chunk of the white part was gone. Curtis suffered almost immediately from a head injury that was excessively large.
After Murphy’s Law played for two hours in their Halloween Superhero costumes, the show finally ended a few minutes before 4:00AM. By the time we walked the one block to Cozy Soup’N’Burger they had cut off the beer. NYC law prohibits the sale of beer from 4:00AM Sunday until noon Sunday. Less the beer, we partook of some of the finer menu items that Cozy has to offer and headed home for the night, not before I made an illegal purchase of some beer to get us through the night and provide for Sunday’s breakfast beers.
Staley’s Murphy’s Law Weekend Recap Addendum
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 14:15:54 -0500
in copying the format from elbert's breakdown of the ape-man bbq, here are the grand totals of this past weAkend, in my estimation:
(a.k.a. the minions of filth):
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