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2008-09-28 14:20:34

Last night, I went to Turner Hall to see a show.  I walked in, got myself a beer, and found a seat.  I took my first sip as the show began.  I took many more sips as the show progressed.  Eventually, there were no more sips to be had and a fresh beverage was needed.  But something strange happened.  The spectacle going on in front of me was just too awesome to look away.


Let me tell you this:  If anything in this world can keep me, even for a split second, from getting a drink when I truly want one, it is the sign of true entertainment.  And that is exactly what the Mondo Lucha show was.


Whether it was the theatric and violent Mexican wrestling, the performance by the rockabilly band The Uptown Savages, the sideshow act Dead Man’s Carnival, or the burlesque performers (featuring Milwaukee’s Alley Cat Revue, St. Louis’s innuendo crooning stripteaser Lola Van Ella, and the amazing pole dancing duo, Gravity Plays Favorites), all of it was amazing.  It would’ve been worth the price of admission to see all these acts separately, which is why my guilt made me buy a T-shirt. 


For three hours, with damn near no break, there was always something to watch.  If it wasn’t a stand-up bass solo, it was a leap from the top turnbuckle.  If it wasn’t watching sideshow act Sanjula pass bike spokes through his cheeks, it was watching a pair of vibrant boobie tassels flutter in a gyrating breeze.  How can you not be sold yet?


Well, just in case you need more, let me tell you about the main event, which like the rest of the show did not disappoint.  The finally featured a special challenge match between wrestler The KGBeast and 91.7 WMSE’s station manager Tom Crawford, who decided to do some recruiting for wrestlers.  And where does one go in Milwaukee to find the feistiest combatants:  The Brew City Bruisers.  Yes, one Bruiser from each of the four teams was brought in to take care of business.  I was lucky enough to be sitting near some of the more rowdy fans in the audience.  And when those derby girls stormed into the ring, you would’ve thought the corpse of Paul Newman had strolled in and started handing out salad dressing to everyone (too soon?). 


Anyways, the Bruisers stepped in, took and gave out hits as good as anybody, and ended the evening victorious, thus capping off an incredible show.  So if and when another Mondo Lucha show is put together:  buy your ticket, get enough beer to sustain you for the evening, and if you have a catheter…you might wanna bring it.


-James, TLC

2008-09-16 20:28:13


Yes it’s true that Offend Maggie’s opening track may not have quite the same “grab you out of the gate, stand out single” feeling as Friend Opportunity’s “The Perfect Me,” but there’s still an incredible album here.  Their sound remains original, addictive, and even at times, simultaneously melodic and chaotic.  This is the kind of band that other bands should hope to be compared to.  Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about them.



DYNAMITE CLUB – FUSION ERA (Caminante Recordings)

With an extremely energetic and experimental sound, death metal growls, and a song with lyrics that literally just spout off pi to at least the 50th decimal, Fusion Era falls just on the awesome side of ridiculous.  And with twelve songs in less than 20 minutes, the fat has been cut off, leaving you with ample time to listen to shittier records.




Before listening to this album, I knew nothing about this band.  According to the press release, Mirror Mirror’s live show incorporates theater, visual art, food, and even giving massages to strangers.  After reading that last one and listening to this album (with it’s “One Of Us!” type feel), I really started to feel like I was being recruited.  All Polyphonic Spree jokes aside (which these guys sound nothing like by the way), I’m really tempted to just classify this as a cleverly cloaked form of modern cult/hippie music.  Whatever it is, I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid.



MOTHER MOTHER – O MY HEART (Last Gang Records)

When well-respected musicians or celebrities throw support behind an up and coming band, it can carry a lot of weight.  When your little rock band looks for these endorsements, and the best you can get is Perez Hilton, there might be a problem.  Granted, the album isn’t terrible, but if you’re a fan of Tegan & Sara and are looking for something new…uh…just wait for the next Tegan & Sara album.




Think of a small venue.  You know, the kind of dimly lit place with semi-uncomfortable chairs, candles on the tables, and scattered patrons chain-smoking in between sips of their drinks.  Now before you even imagine the music you’d here there, give a listen to Black Forest (Tra La La).  This is the music you should be hearing in places like this, though more often than not you don’t.  The Madison, WI based seven-piece Pale Young Gentlemen use cellos, violins, and pianos, among other things, to create their distinct sound.  And they do what they do as good as, if not better than, anyone.



-James, TLC

2008-08-17 13:34:46

We have a president that both the majority of our country and the world disapprove of.  We are a nation divided, as the race for our next commander in chief heats up.  We are confused, misinformed, and pissed.  All of the ingredients are there for the United States to say or do something profoundly stupid at this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.


Before I actually saw the above picture, I heard about it from a friend.  His exact words were:


“Did you see the basketball team’s group photo?  They’re all making slant eyes with their hands and making fun of the Chinese!”


When I heard this, I just looked down and put my head in my hands.  I immediately assumed the team in question was none other than USA men’s basketball.  Visions of Kobe Bryant pulling his eyes to the side with a million dollar smile ran through my head.  I’ll be the first to admit that America is way too uptight and crazy about being politically correct, but that alone should have raised the warning flag that this just might be a smidgen on the offensive side.  I guess that’s the American way, though.  If you’re gonna piss some people off with one picture, might as well take care of a few billion people all at once.


When I got home, I jumped on my computer to see the picture for myself.  I simply googled the term “slant eyes basketball photo” and there it was.  But something was wrong.  I didn’t see Bryant, James, or Wade in the photo.  Their jerseys looked weird too, all of them reading “España.”  This wasn’t USA’s basketball team: it was Spain’s.  I breathed a sigh of relief and read the rest of the article. 


Now what Spain’s basketball team did was dumb, no doubt.  But dumber things have been done.  Pulling the picture and providing a simple apology could have easily stifled the situation.  However, Spain and its players have decided to keep running the picture and have even defended it, claiming it was “an affectionate gesture.” Look Spain, take it from a country that fucks up a lot:  Just apologize…or invade said country on totally unsubstantiated terms.  Both seem to work.


It does suck that the Olympics, which should bring the world together, have become center stage for shit like this.  At the same time, though, it’s kind of nice that America isn’t the target for once, and we don’t have to feel like we owe the world a huge “we’re sorry.”  I’m sure we’ll do something terrible soon enough, but for now we’re a distant second.  And seeing as Michael Phelps has already won all his gold medals, it’s just a matter of time before he shits in the Olympic swimming pool and wipes his ass with every other country’s flag.  I’m just saying, he’s got the time now.


-James, TLC