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Tattooed in A flat 

I dug The Franks (is that a cool name or what?) open for The Earl Cram Revue at The Montage a couple of Thursday nights ago (alas, it would turn out to be my last time there). Frontman Dan Frank is another great guitar player here who I'm afraid gets overlooked.

It's the 20th anniversary of The Projectiles and bassist Dave Anderson is still slugging it out on stage worldwide with The Riviera Playboys and soon with his new outfit called The Lost Marbles (check 'em out Thursday opening for Thee Shams). It's the organ-drenched fuzzed-out barroom rock you'd expect and I heard it blasting through concrete walls as I stood outside the rehearsal space. It sounded goooooood.

Spun the new Chinchillas' CD, Podunk,and discovered several trucker country tonk tunes on it that I liked a whole lot.

New Year's Eve and ink master Jet tattooed a dragon on my good side. The Stones cried Let It Bleed as Jet's machine hummed along in A flat. I lay there trying to pretend it didn't hurt.

First day of the year and I headed down to Water Street Music Hall to dig some first-class reggae with The Wailers and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The bands covered two ends of the age spectrum at this sold-out happening, and GPGDS held up its end remarkably. Not a Jamaican to be seen, but the group lays it down rich and authentic. And the Wailers opened their set up with some groove-heavy extended jams and sounded awesome. However, the singer came off a little contrived.

Celebrated Elvis' 70th birthday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, playing rock 'n' roll, devouring about 10 pounds of prime rib, and finally getting that TCB tattoo (I don't know in what key, though). Got to share the bill with Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Dale Watson, Mike Hendrix's Painkillers, Slim Jim Phantom (look for The Stray Cats touring this summer), The King Memphis Trio, The Neanderthals, The World Famous Pontani Sisters, and The Hi-Risers.

This past Friday I got a fresh perspective on Charles Bukowski when the Dryden screened Born Into This. The profanity in his novels has always struck me as unadulterated honesty and drunken impatience tempered with wisdom fashioned out of self-abuse. I had never really dug into his poetry. However, hearing him read it aloud gave me chills, as if I'd known it all along.

All the same I don't think I'll ever look at a girl in a skirt quite the same again. And as much as I like to think of myself as a hipster, I hate hipsters, especially those in the audience that were too cool to tolerate Bono or Sean Penn on the screen. "Look at me I'm cool. I hate Bono." Honkies.

Slipped out after the flick and caught The Hi-Risers' first set at The Dinosaur. The joint was packed but the audience seemed a little slow to get moving on the dance floor. I mean, if you can't dance to these guys, Jack, you dead.

Then it was over to The Clarissa Room for Vince Ercolamento and his group. They blew it so cool my coffee froze.

Saturday night The Atomic Swindlers, The Earl Cram Revue, and DSpell rocked the Bug Jar. The Revue has dialed back the histrionics a bit and lets the music do the talking. I've always liked 'em, but this was easily the best show I've seen them do.

The Swindlers' sound continues to grow on me in its glam rock otherworldliness. Singer April Laragy, oblivious to my Bukowski leanings, glowered and glowed while strutting the stage in a short, short, sparkly dress. DSpell closed the night with a tight FM sound that seemed a little rehearsed but energetic and enthusiastic nonetheless.

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