Drawing by John V Forbes
It was our third night in a row.
Thursday we were a quartet: John, Julia, Jim & I.
After the set, Live Wire Lounge offered up a German smögâsbord of spiced sausage, potatoes and kraut. Plus a Satanic sit-down version of Galaga called Satan’s Hollow.
Friday we were a duo: John & I.
I took the bus to the gig, so I only brought pots, pans & the giant harmonica.
As the musical guest on Talk Hard at ComedySportz, we played a six minute, seventeen second set. I know because I timed it onstage with a stop watch.
Meanwhile, a drunken shell shocked comedian clutched his Fosters despondently.
“That was weird.”
Tonight we were a trio: John, Chris Hall & I.
The van was seatless and I gladly claimed the floor for the trek to America’s Dairyland.
Y-Not Y-Not Y-Not is a wooden A-Frame on Milwaukee’s East Side.
It attracts all varieties of drinkers and thinkers, but mostly drinkers.
We lugged our gear up to the second floor, a loft with a stripper pole and an inaccessible Romeo & Juliet balcony.
To our surprise (read: dismay), there were no other bands on the bill.
The booker was decidedly unavailable.
And no sound man.
The bar manager pointed us to the PA.
“There’s a CD player so you can play CDs between sets.”
We retrieved the lone microphone from downstairs, and fiddled with the sound system.
To set the mood, John played the club’s Madonna CD from The Year 2000 and activated a Radio Shack tri-color freakout light.
At 11pm, John & I took seats behind our instruments while Chris Hall stood behind loner drums.
We settled into a comfortable bed of F#m.
A small cluster had gathered at the bar.
We had accepted our role as background music for Saturday night drinking chatter.
Out of necessity we began to amuse ourselves.
My sticks took to playing the stripper pole and the metal air ducts on the ceiling.
A few heads turned when I started ramming them into what looked like a glory hole.
The barflies liked that bit.
I pulled the blanket out of the bass drum and used it for a brief nap on stage.
Then I wrapped the blanket into a bindle and tied it to the end of my harmonica.
Chris played the carpet.
John remained seated an in F#m.
It was 1am.
We had been playing continuously for two hours.
Just when we were about to wrap things up, a siren in a short skirt began dancing.
At this point I was under the pie tin mistletoe by the glory hole, pounding a floor tom with my bare hands.
She took off her shoes.
Her legs were shapely and delicious.
Suddenly we regained our appetite.
The Barefoot Siren attracted attention from all circles.
A couple of folks joined us on percussion.
One gal spun around on the stripper pole.
Her suitor hovered nearby, his bling sparkling in the Radio Shack lightning.
A few girls shook their asses to the drum accents.
Occasionally the Barefoot Siren curtseyed in the opposite direction, giving us a wondrous eyefull.
R Crumb heart attacks all around.
During this new found joyousness, drama at the bar ensued.
The bartender blew his top and slammed a door off its hinges.
A few moments later the cops arrived.
An offending patron was taken into custody.
We stayed in F#m.
As long as the Barefoot Siren kept dancing.
We played until 2am.
Bruce Springsteen eat your nuts off.