Panic Attack

"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?'"

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons