Sunday, February 12, 2012

Don Giovanni Records Showcase 2012: Dirty Work and Death By Audio

Words and photos by Jason Duarte

This year was our first attending the annual Don Giovanni Records showcase.

I flew from Chicago to Laguardia, in Queens early Thursday morning, met up with my buddy Mikey Erg, and we made our way to NJ to take care of some business, rip CDs and talk all afternoon about Black Flag shows, Def Jam Records, Kraftwerk, touring, bands and other relevant topics of interest. He showed me this rare artifact:

He showed me the studio where his dad, Mickey Erg - I mean Yannich - worked on Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet album, and I saw Bon Jovi's (and Eric Truchan's) high school:

We walked past THE grocery store where Mikey wrote most of the songs for The Ergs!' DorkRockCorkRod and Upstairs/Downstairs. In the parking lot, he recalled writing "Stinking of Whiskey Blues," one my favorite Ergs! tunes, and a highlight from his solo show the following night.

We took our second bus to New Brunswick, where I was introduced to the 'Fat Sandwich.' At first, I pictured a generous amount of lard between two slices of bread, but what I got was much more delicious, and filling. Exclusive to the Rutger's University campus, the Fat Sandwich wears many masks. Mine was called the 'Fat Elvis (Jason),' and consisted of gyro meat slices, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, French fries and tzatziki sauce smashed into a hoagie roll. It was amazing, and quite filling.

From there, we took a train a few stops over to Metuchen, NJ, where the infamous Forum Theatre (see the cover of Night Birds' The Other Side of Darkness below) is located.

In fact, that album hangs framed in the theater lobby. Anyway, we arrived before anyone else and anticipated the theater employees to put Dirty Work on the marquee, but Hugo remained. I was hoping they'd put 'Men In Black Who Like To Have Sex With Each Other,' but some things are too good to be true. In a way, it felt cooler with Hugo written outside, while Norm MacDonald was making dead hooker jokes on the screen inside. The movie was more incredible than usual. It was a cross between a Rocky Horror Picture Show theater experience, Dirty Work and the Pop Punk Message Bored. It was awesome. After the movie, I went back to my friends in Brick Mower's apartment with friends, Jeff and Miranda. I had some delicious Yuenglings and hung out for a bit before finally crashing out on their couch. The two days of being awake got to me. Dammit!

So the next day I walked outside and saw the band, Thursday's old house. I think this was it...

Then I walked to the New Brunswick train station and took an expensive ride back to NY Penn Station. From there, I bummed around NYC like a tourist and took the subway to Brooklyn, where I grabbed a coffee at Black Gold Records, and some pizza at Vinny's Pizza. Then I visited with Mike Hunchback at his record store, Co-Op 87 Records, easily one of the best record stores I've ever been to. Their selection was diverse and ventured into obscurities that anyone who fits in a particular niche would be delighted to find. Everything was so reasonably priced, and Mike threw in free vinyl (The Ergs' 3 Guys, 12 Eyes 7'' and Screeching Weasel's You Broke My Fucking Heart 7'') Hell yes. The best part was hanging out and chatting with him again about music, movies, shows and the like.

Then it was time to head to Death By Audio, a 1.1-mile walk from Co-Op 87. I grabbed my backpack and records and walked over. First up was Plastic Cross. It was their first show, and the band features Fid (guitar) and Tim (bass) from The Measure [sa]. They were good - more hardcore than punk, but I'm stoked to see what they sound like on record. This is them playing "Future Science" from the show:

Nuclear Santa Claust had For Science's bass player and I'd never heard them before. They sounded like hardcore Ramones-core, if you can imagine that. Check them out below:

House Boat was a good time. All four original members were there. They didn't play the tightest set, but were fun. They played the new song that will be featured on The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore compilation album, coming out later this year. Check that out below:

But first, they opened with "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Also they also played "Real Life As a Metaphor For Real Life."

After House Boat, Mikey Erg! took the stage for his second set (for those who don't know already, he's House Boat's drummer/backup vocalist), the final one of the night. He played his solo songs off the heart-shaped 12'' released last year on Paper + Plastick Records, "Permanent Solution" by Psyched To Die, "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green, a new solo one, Ergs! songs: "Stinkin' of Whiskey Blues," "If You Don't" and "Books About Miles Davis," and others. The latter was the closer. Joe Keller (Ergs!/bass) and Fid (The Measure [sa]/guitar) jumped on stage to back him up and everyone lost their shit towards the end of the song, where it gets electric. You know the part. Fid played drums, and Joe did what he does best; bass. Check out "If You Don't" and a still shot from the show:

Friday night was a great time. It was nice meeting some people from the PPMB, and buying Chadd's 7'' vinyl! Stay tuned for the Don Giovanni Saturday night review. I wish I had more time for this to do it right now. I love you.

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