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I decided to not review one of my own shows for once and just do something different.

Lately, clubs have been opening and closing or changing directions and/or agendas.

So I decided to just go out on a couple of nights when I didn't have a show and see what's out there.

On Thursday, April 23rd, with camera in hand, I went out to catch some friends playing at 2 different venues. One old, ARLENES, and one fairly new, BOWERY ELECTRIC.

Starting at ARLENE's GROCERY to see a special one-time group. I don't even think they had a name for it, other than it consisted of ARLENES GROCERY employees.

ARLENES is still one of the best sounding rooms in the city. The staff is fantastic, efficient, professional and friendly! Now if the people who book the place weren't such DIKS! (Disclaimer: OK, I do have problems with these people who run the place, but so do alot of people.) They are notorious for putting unbelievable requirements on the bands,but because the sound system and staff are so good, bands put up with it.

The band on this night consisted of TONI LYNN (bartender) on one guitar, HOWARD (soundman) on another guitar, JOE VONCENT (door and etc.) on drums, KEVIN (bartender/SUFFRAJETTE) on bass and SIMI (SUFFRAJETTE) on vocals plus two other people that I forgot their names (I'm sorry!) on sax and keys.

They played a bunch of old school covers and played them TIGHT! They also did some songs I wasn't quite familiar with which led me to believe that they put in some time rehearsing. But, that was to be expected, because in their individual endeavors they always come out right!

You could see the band was having a great time - laughing, joking and dancing around the stage. I wanted to stay for the next band but I promised some other friends I would go check them out, so I had to leave.

Next stop was a faily new place called BOWERY ELECTRIC. This place is run by JESSE MALIN (D GENERATION, NIAGRA, CONEY ISLAND HIGH...). Now this is someone who knows how to run a rock'n'roll bar, having actually been in bands himself. This place just recently celebrated their one year anniversary. It's locateed one block north of CBGB's on THE BOWERY. There are 2 floors. The main floor is tre chic (like DELANCEY BAR) but downstairs there is a great room with a more rock'n'roll feel.

On this night I went to see some OLD friends - LUIGI BABE & ALL MOBBED UP! With ROCCO ROLL on the drums and KEVIN SHAW (HUDSON DUSTERS) on bass, the rhythm section drove the band in energetic covers of older rock songs and even a few jazzy tunes. With DANNY RAY (MAD JUANA, HUDSON DUSTERS) on sax and LUIGI BABE (formerly with BO DIDDLY and JOHNNY THUNDERS) on guitar and BIG JOE KELLY (BUDDY LOVE) on the vocals, these guys do a shtick laden set that is highly entertaining. Throw in the lovely dancers, JESSICA HIP-NOTICA and KARA KARRERA, and you are having a fun night of music and laughter. They even had STURGIS NIKIDES (JOHN CALE's band) and TOMMY BYRNEES (BILLY JOEL's band) sitting in on guitars for a few tunes.

The sound was outrageous and the sight lines good. It's nice to know that a rock'n'roll club can still open in the gentrified L.E.S. Hopefully it'll be around for a long time.

A few days later, Saturday, May 11th I walked around the block from my house and passed by PASSOUT RECORDS and THE DIRTY SHAMES were there doing an in store promotion. PASSOUT does that alot to help the up and coming bands a chance and also to provide a place where some traveling bands can sell some more cd's to help cover the cost of touring.

The whole feel is pure DIY punk rock! SCREW the big labels! PASSOUT RECORDS has an OUTRAGEOUS collection of current rock as well as ALOT of older vintage vinyl! Every time I go in there I wanna go out and buy a turntable. You name it and they have it! SURF, PUNK, JAZZ, HARDCORE, SWING and just about anything you could want and at VERY REASONABLE prices! Located on GRAND STREET in Williamsburg, a few blocks down from TRASH BAR, it still off the beaten path enough not to attract those damn hipsters that swarm around what was once a very comfortable place to be.

So go down there and pick up some cool vinyl before those idiot hipsters end up taking over one of the last bastions of REAL Rock'n'Roll!

I gotta go check out some more new places and, of course, my own shows, so I'll see ya around,