Music » Reverb




Imagine, if you will, a pack of ravenous, bloodthirsty zombies. Hundreds of them, scratching and clawing toward you with unrelenting, undead determination. Now, instead of some minor zombie nuisance, which can easily be remedied (sever the brain, duh!), imagine something truly terrifying ... tweenagers!

Even before loading my poor excuse for a disc jockey rig into North Middle School's cafeteria, I knew I was dangerously unprepared for the merciless flogging I was about to receive. The first of many Friday night "cootie platoons" struck immediately as I was banging nervously on the locked rear entrance. There were five or six of them. They circled around me. Without warning, the first one struck.

"Are you the DJ?" she prodded knowingly. "You ain't gonna play no ballroom music, are you?!" But before I could defend myself, another attacked. "You got any Ke$ha?" And another. "This better not be boring!" And then the first one again. "You better not play no #@&!$ ballroom music!"

Disoriented, I stumbled inside and started setting up my gear, which was just a simple turntable, laptop and mixer set-up. Simple as 1, 2, 3 ... unless you forget the laptop cables, which I did, and your stupid iTunes crashes, which it did, and there is only about 15 minutes until the zombies break through the barricade. Thankfully, I had my zombie-slaying super-hottie wife to bail me out (for a change), and she came rushing in at the last minute with my iPod and cables.

In my blissful ignorance, I had stuffed my record bag with all the jams: '80s school-dance fixtures, classic rock hits, old-school hip-hop, and adolescent pop-punk. The theme being "Mardi Gras," I foolishly grabbed slabs from Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and Dr. John, but after all those "ballroom" jabs, I knew that just wasn't going to "jive."

My iPod, loaded with thousands of awesomely inappropriate songs, was like a minefield, providing just enough material for me to get my computer going. Meanwhile, more and more zombies began crowding into the dimly lit cafeteria, frantically filing requests. Requests I knew damn well I couldn't fill.

Now, due to a crippling lifelong aversion to commercial radio, I had never even heard of most of their demands. But thanks to my incredibly intelligent wife, I had thrown a handful of crap, I mean "hits," onto my computer: Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, etc. ... which the zombies ate up like a platter of fresh brains.

Thinking back to my own junior high school experience, I had pictured a half-empty ballroom with a few balloons and streamers, boys and girls safely separated by an impenetrable wall of nerves and anxiety. Instead it was wall-to-wall chaos, a veritable "Where's Waldo?" of sugar-fueled tweenage insanity. Like the Katy Perry song, "It's hot and it's cold ... " they're young, and I'm old. Still, it could have been worse.

In happier news, this week's live music lineup offers up lots of excitement. The Conjugal Visits, featuring a majority share of the Nicotine Fits' revered membership, will debut its bleedin' "jingle jangle" garage rock jamboree at the Triple Nickel this Saturday night. Meanwhile, at the Black Sheep, there's Malakai, We Are All Destined to Fail, Spoken in Fire and the debut of a new punk band, the Ingrates, featuring former members of legendary local bands Last Supper and Blistering Body Pus. Lastly, Berkeley, Calif.'s most excellent "experimental" party posse, Antioquia, will burn back through town with a pair of shows alongside Grass It Up, Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Front Range Barbeque and Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Ancient Mariner.

Smell you later.

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