"What the hell is Britpop, anyway, Kreme?" queries the Jettster as I ease the shaggin' wagon into the lot next to Anderson's Fifth Estate in Scottsdale, site of the monthly Britpop night Panic!, the reason for our appearance this eve.
"Oh, you know, it's all those '90s bands from the U.K. like Blur, Oasis, crap like that," I tell her as I park it like it's not hot. "You remember those idiots the Gallagher brothers, right? The ones that bragged they were gonna be bigger than the Beatles? What a crock! Most people don't even know they're still alive."
"Gallagher has a brother?" wonders the PHX's bi-lovin', female Wilmer Valderrama.
"Sure, they perform together," I confirm as we head for the entrance.
"Wow, between the two of them, I bet they smash up a lot of them watermelons," comments the Inferno's curvaceous brain trust.
Before I can set the Jettster straight on the diff between Noel and Liam and that dork with the sledgehammer, we're standing before Anderson's patio, which doubles this Thursday as the entree for Panic!, one of the longest-running club nights in the Valley. Actually, ce soir is Panic!'s sixth-anniversary party. They're giving away tickets to the upcoming Bloc Party concert, and Tower Records has reps in house taking advance orders for the new Morrissey CD. It's a decent crowd, if not exactly overwhelming, and clubbers are going back and forth from the goth par-tay Area 51 next door. See, Anderson's is divided into two rooms, a big one where Area 51 is playing host to the black-eyeliner crowd, and a smaller one where the Brit-friendly Panic! is doing its thing. Folks can perambulate from the throbbing industrial noise of Area 51, with its boys in black vinyl pants and gals in bustiers, to the tamer environs of Cool Britannia overseen by DJ Manchester and promoter Robden Brethaven.
Brethaven's a thin, intense-looking guy wearing a Morrissey shirt, bobbin' about the place, takin' care of bidness. The Jettster and I corner him for a little history, 'cause even though his boy Manchester is spinning Britpoppy acts like Pulp, Suede, Placebo, and the Stone Roses, he's also throwing down tracks -- both new and old -- that don't neatly match the genre, stuff from Belle & Sebastian, Hot Hot Heat, She Wants Revenge, The Bravery, and even some electroclash.
"We'd like to play a whole night of Britpop, but we probably wouldn't get as many people that way," admits The Robden. "So we mix it up. Still, this is the only night in town where you'll hear a lot of the bands that we spin."
"I guess Britpop's never been known as very dancey music," I offer. "By the way, you're prolly the right person to ask this of: Why do they call Britpop 'shoegazer' music?"
"Shoegazer was a term used to describe a lot of early '90s British bands, like Curve, Lush, Catherine Wheel," he explains. "The term came about because the bands didn't talk a lot onstage, and when they were playing, they were looking down at their shoes, as opposed to interacting with the audience."
"Whew, and I thought it was gonna be some kinda foot-fetish scene," states the Jettster. "Last thing I'd wanna see is Kreme pull off his Pumas and flash those big ol' hippo hooves of his."
The Robden relates that Panic!, named for the famous Smiths single, was a weekly for four years, until Robbo burned out on it in '04, and ended the night, only to eventually bring it back as a monthly because of popular demand.
At the moment, the R-man has to get back to work, and vamooses stage left. Meanwhile, Jett has already gravitated over to this gothy dame named Cheri, who has the fleshiest pair of chest puppies I've seen since Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was still on the boob tube. I try to be a gentleman, of course, and not gawk at her upper badonkadonk, but the J-unit is about as discreet as Tori Spelling's new reality show, and is all over Cheri like Amaré Stoudemire's ma on a rock of crack.
"I love your dress," coos the Jettster. "Did you really design and make it yourself?"
"I did. I have this line called Hollywood Sex Trash," she relates, adjusting her corset. "The outfit kinda pushes everything up on me. Better than a Wonderbra, because when you take it off, you don't have to wonder."
"I'll bet," answers Jett, ogling mammaries the size of basketballs. "What are your measurements?"
"Well, I have a four-month-old baby, so I have a little more than usual," Cheri confides. "I had to go to Frederick's of Hollywood recently and buy some new bras that were double-F, which is the highest they go at Frederick's. Victoria's Secret sucks, by the way. I've gone into Victoria's Secret and had them go, 'You want what size?'"
"I can't imagine," Jett mutters, entranced.
"I don't think it's that outrageous to expect to have a bra in a larger size, especially now with all this plastic surgery," sighs Cheri. "I've had double-Ds since I was a teenager, but I've grown into them, I guess."
Prying Jett away from Cheri seems near impossible, so I amble into the bar to score some drinks and talk briefly with this sharp-dressed cat named Mike, in a blue sharkskin suit who's sippin' on a gin and tonic and lookin' to make some time with the ladies. He spies this thin redhead with close-cropped hair off in a corner and prepares to make his move.
"What was the name of that actress in Rosemary's Baby?" he asks me out of nowhere.
"Mia Farrow," I respond. "Oh, I see what you mean. She looks like a dead ringer for a young Mia Farrow."
"Yeah, I think I've got my opening line now," he states, taking a gulp of courage.
"Go get 'em, tiger," I say, patting him on the shoulder. I stroll back out to the patio, where Jett has her head resting on Cheri's clavicle clumps. So I set the J-girl's piña colada on the table next to them, and suck on the triple Crown 'n' Coke I had the bartenderess make me. As far as I'm concerned, they can just put this stuff in a bucket and hand me a straw.
Nearby is this fetching roller-derby-type chick with green hair who I strike up a confab with. Her name is K.C., and it seems she really is a roller-derby chick. Hey, who said looks were deceiving? K.C. also has her own, one-woman band named Die Kranken Katzchen, Krautspeak for "Sick Kitten," a play on words I'll let you figure out. K.C. just happens to have some copies of her self-produced CD titled Transude on her and hands me one.
"Gee, thanks," I tell her. "What kind of music is it?"
"It's industrial," she says. "Hot Topic sells it locally. They just sold out and had to reorder. Their music buyer says if they have to reorder it a few more times, it'll go national. So I'm really pushing it right now."
"You do this all yourself, huh? What do you make the music with?" I query.
"This really awesome synthesizer called a Roland Fantom XA," enthuses the noise maven. "Then I use various music programs like Cakewalk and ReCycle, stuff like that. It's so much fun! I've been doing it for about five years now."
"Is this the kind of music you can perform live?" I ask.
"The last time I performed was four years ago at the Mason Jar," K.C. informs me. "But I'm hoping to perform with David Thrussell's band Snog. They're supposed to come through town in September."
Suddenly, Jett's at my elbow eating up K.C.'s cuteness with her eyes. "Do you like girls?" she inquires of the musician, hopefully.
"I have a boyfriend," answers K.C. coyly. "So I'm not allowed."
Dejected, Jett decides to try her luck on the dance floor, while I enjoy the company of all of these creative babes about, next up being DJ //she//, a.k.a. Shelley, a resident at one of the dopest nights in the PHX or the world, as far as I'm concerned. That's Sadisco, bee-ahtch! Shelley's a booful blonde, intelligent and ambitious, so much so that she seems to be all over the place these days. Not only will she be performing at the Fear and Loathing-themed Sadisco coming up Saturday, April 8, at Jugheads, she also has an industrial/noise/EBM/electroclash night called Club Hell popping off at Chasers this May 20, and she's started doing some late-night DJ-ing on that new indie rock station KWSS-FM 106.7. Her DJ handle? It's short for "Shelley," as well as a vague reference to the H. Rider Haggard novel She, which revolves around the mythic warrior-goddess Ayesha, or "She who must be obeyed."
I note that Sadisco's been trading venues a lot lately, and mention that I've heard of problems over at The Sets, its former digs.
"The Sets was going back and forth a lot on things," she explains. "First they'd tell us we could do after-hours, then they'd cut us off 10 minutes to 2. Or say we could bring in bands, but then say the bands were too loud. It upset our fans. So now we're sort of trading off between that club Mardi Gras and our old home of Jugheads."
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"I've never been to Mardi Gras," I admit. "Jugheads is a cool place, but I could see how things get a little cramped in there."
We chat a bit more. Then I wish Shelley and her fellow Sadisco-ites better fortune in '06, and turn to head back into the bar for some bevvy, when Jett slams into me.
"Kreme, you won't believe it," she pants. "First I was making out with all these girls in the bathroom, and then I ran into this cute boy and was Frenchin' him on the dance floor!"
"Nutty," I say. "I was just talking to she who must be obeyed, and now I'm left with the ho who needs to be spayed."