Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Custard Wally – Call Me Walt

Custard Wally has a unique sound: there isn’t any other New York band who sound like them. They mix scorching punk with quieter, more straight-up rock that some might call more sensitive, but that wouldn’t be true. Frontman/guitarist Chris Giunta writes very funny songs with a no-holds-barred, punk rock sense of humor. This new cd begins with an intentionally over-the top Spinal Tap style heavy metal solo and then launches into a UK Subs type tribute to slum life, right down to its Nicky Garratt-ish metal guitar. The next track, Twinky’s Pudendum rewrites Led Zep’s Communication Breakdown as dirty-minded punk/metal. The cd’s third cut The World’s Silliest Clothes is a pretty janglepop song that sounds a lot like Brooklyn band the Larch, Giunta lapsing into the fake British accent he adopts on much of the band’s more comedic material. This one pokes fun at the traditional woman’s fixation with clothes and shopping.

 

Come Home Baby is Custard Wally’s Comfortably Numb, featuring slightly David Gilmour-influenced multitracked slide guitar by guest lead player Jeff Kelly. I’m in Luv Wif Shithead, which follows, is a twistedly catchy singalong about a relationship with a retarded girl. I’m So Glad I Left You Behind is pretty self-explanatory, but goes on for considerably longer to make sure you get the point:

 

I feel as tho I just got out of prison

But now you’re back just like the dead arisen

 

Set It Right is straight-up 70s rock, a cynical response to an ex who wants to get back together, featuring more Jeff Kelly lead guitar. Hard Night is a jazzy reggae nocturne with sax along with funky bass by guest Albey Balgochian, possibly a parody of a romantic song. With this band, it’s hard to tell whether they’re being serious or not. Chances are they aren’t. The last cut is Damn Big Liar, which has a second-generation Stones, Johnny Thunders feel:

 

The only thing I ever need is to feed my lust and desire

But I’m a damn big liar

 

Definitely a fun album, no lie. The cd cover illustration, a Wailing Wall pun, is also viciously amusing. The band will probably turn the volume up all the way and play punked-out versions of many of these songs at their cd release show this Saturday, August 16 at 9 PM at Don Pedro’s, a comfortably laid-back club located on the Willliamsburg/Bushwick border.

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Music, Reviews | Leave a comment

Concert Review from the Archives: the Village People at Brooklyn College Auditorium, 8/13/92

[Editor’s note: we see way more bad bands than you ever will – let’s hope, anyway. It’s just that you’d never know it: since no press is generally worse than bad press, we keep those things to ourselves. And as much as we like to avoid boring, predictable stories of nightcrawling in various altered states, we’ve been sitting on this one for too long not to share it.]

 

With my girlfriend on crutches and all pilled up, we decided the only way to truly appreciate this show would be to get even more intoxicated at her place beforehand. Either despite or because of our condition, we managed to negotiate both the up and down staircases on the D train without sending her tumbling into the turnstiles. Expecting to be able to slowly stroll onto the Brooklyn College sports field where the concerts are usually held, we followed the crowd through the campus to the auditorium where the show had been moved since they were expecting rain. They were charging a cover now, $3, and the place was sold out: apparently the Village People are still big in Midwood.

 

Not to be deterred, we sought out an alternate means of egress and, bingo, found one in the person of a sympathetic cop who saw the crutches and beckoned us inside through a back exit. Inside, the tension was palpable: this was a crowd on the verge of rioting, or so it seemed, the place completely packed, the room filled with every kind of weirdo you ever saw on the subway filling the seats and the aisles, muttering to themselves and scowling. There were no seats, so we wandered stage right. Standing in the aisle, we were screamed at by several audience members, so we finally took a seat there: when the citizens are worse than the cops, you know you’re in a police state. Within a minute, a voice came over the PA, advising that unfortunately, KC & the Sunshine Band would not be playing this evening. Howls of anger! But – but, but, the announcer hastily told the assembled multitudes, he was pleased to introduce the Village People. Crisis averted.

 

The sixtysomething lady in front of us, squeezed into a leotard and tights and gripping a walkman recorder, wriggled with delight as the lights went down. The backing track began to play and the Village People emerged from the shadows, all the original members: the cowboy, the construction worker, the leather queen, the Indian and the rest of the gang, twirling and stepping to what was obviously a new recording. With the 70s schlock revival in full swing, apparently somebody thought it was time to get the Village People back together, so they put together a new tape incorporating 80s production values, with both drum machine and heavy metal guitar flourishes. They hadn’t even bothered to set up mics onstage, making it even more obvious that everybody was lipsynching. After some unfamiliar songs, they did a medley appropriately titled Trash Disco and then Macho Man and this really got the aging disco freaks going. Eventually they did YMCA and everybody except the guys onstage sang along. Or maybe some of them actually did, but nobody could hear them. After about a half-hour of this sideshow, the joke was getting old and homegirl needed to sit down, so we carefully made our way back and went out the same way we went in. Maybe next time there’s a show I really want to see I’ll borrow those crutches, or, even better, I’ll get her to bring them along. 

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | Leave a comment