By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Before the P-town Rihanna and I get blunted at the four-year anniversary of the Dolemite of hip-hop clubs in the PHX, there's a little information we must convey to the masses. In the last Inferno at WWIII Sadisco ("War Games," May 18), I mentioned that Sadisco co-founder Donnie Burbank believed the County Attorney's Office was not going to press charges against Pedro Madrigal, the bouncer at Palazzo's Tranzylvania club downtown, who allegedly broke Burbank's arm while ejecting him from the goth spot last October. Well, the case is still ongoing. The County Attorney's Office is pressing charges against Madrigal for one count of aggravated assault, a class 4 felony, the sentence for which could earn him up to three years-plus in the poky.
Bill FitzGerald of County Attorney Andy Thomas' office confirmed that a trial date had been set for September 18. A phone call to Steven Rogers, Palazzo's owner, was not returned, so I wasn't able to determine if Madrigal still works at the posh, Anne Rice-y nightclub. Some friends of Burbank's in the industrial/noise scene continue to boycott Tranz, so the beef keeps on keepin' on. Stay tuned for more drama as it develops.
Anyway, it's been a looong-ass time since the Jettster and I visited the cats over at the Blunt Club, but their four-year anniversary par-tay seemed as good an excuse as any to stop by the Blunt's current digs at Mesa's Hollywood Alley on the northeast corner of Price and Baseline roads in a ghetto-fabulous strip mall called Don Carlos Village. We last inhaled the Blunt's funky haze back when it called the old Priceless Inn home. Since then, it's changed venues a couple of times, and now seems to have made its match in this extra-gritty Alley, a way-cool venue that looks like it hasn't changed in 20 years, with these black scallop-shaped booths that sit up off the floor and face a ragged dance area and a low stage. That's on the right side, the tight side, the side you enter on. The other side has pool tables and old-school pinball machines. Traversing both areas in the far back is a long bar, with 'tenders who move like they're all on something that ain't speed, if you feel me.
As we step up in that bitch on a Thursday night, it's already tighter than a virgin at a Baptist Bible camp, with booful breezies all about and plenty of fly guys tryin' to get with 'em. Up on stage, Blunt Club co-founder/graphic artist Dumperfoo is busting out a canvas like Bob Ross on crack, while artist Jim Mahfood does likewise to Dumper's left. Foo-man-chu's piece is of this big yellow dude's face with black glasses, smokin' a butt in the corner of his puffy lips. MC Ohm is on the mic, spittin' faster than Chi-towner Twista, with vocalist Nug backin' him up with some soulful crooning. I'll be damned if Ohm doesn't resemble a darker version of Japanese cult leader Shoko Asahara of the wacky Aum Shinrikyo "Supreme Truth" Buddhist sect. Of course, I doubt the sarin-gas-lovin' Asahara has the kinda flow that Ohm boasts.
En route to the beverage center, the J-Unit and I bump into Blunt Club pooh-bah Emerg McVay, who rivals even yours truly in circumference, and yet always seems to have a passel of fine squalies all on him. I know the game's to be sold, not told, but share some of that science with me, Merg! You know it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none.
"We just got written up in the June issue of Spin magazine," relates the amiable MC. "I was just telling the crowd that if we were in New York, Chicago, some place like that, we'd be all over The Sourceand XXL. But because we're out here in the desert, it's like we're not supposed to have this shit goin' on."
"You've been here since the beginning, right, Merg?" I ask.
"Yeah, I'm one of the founders," he replies. "Along with Dumper, Keith Nichols, and Hyder, and my man Catalyst. We started it out. At first it was poetry, then it turned to hip-hop, and now it's this big ol' thing. A lot of the big underground acts are running tours through here because of the love they get. I think that needs to be recognized."
True dat. The kind of performances you see in the Blunt are world-class, and could easily be taking place at, say, either the Knitting Factory in Gotham or La-La Land. The Bay Area-based jazz-hip-hop troupe Crown City Rockers have played the Blunt before, and they always raise the roof with their De La Soul-ish, Roots-esque jams, led by MC Raashan Ahmad. The rest of the eve is like a big house party with the 'rents away on vacay. After the performances, b-boy shit pops off, with battles between dancers going down in the makeshift circle that forms before the stage. There's a sort of electricity that's natural, not forced. And folks are all about having fun, rather than just getting faded, though, thankfully, that does happen, too. At least, I want it to happen, if Miss Skankervision and I can ever push past the bodies lined up three-deep at the bar.