A night at The Jinx with Superhorse, an Evening with Legs McNeil

Yeah, it's been too long since my last post. I know that. Whatchu gonna do about it, huh? Huh?! I do have one or two good excuses on top of my usual laziness: family emergency and then the computer died. Don and I had to replace the hard drive. Work is slow, but I've been trying to fill my days with interesting things. I spent the night of Saturday, January 5th doing something I've never done before: working for a band! The band in question is a local group called Superhorse, often referred to as a "superband," though I'm not sure if that's a comment on the quality of their music or the unwieldy seven man lineup. I'm friends with the drummer, Jim- the same Jim who runs the Psychotronic Film Society. So, there's one drummer, one keyboardist, one bassist, and... four guitars? One of them belongs to the lead singer, though, and he doesn't play on every song, so I guess sometimes it's just three guitars. You can read a good write-up about the band in this Connect Savannah article. You can listen to a selection of their music here.

So, I knew Superhorse was gonna be playing The Jinx that Saturday, but I didn't plan on going because I'm too poor to pay a cover charge and I'm more devoted to local theatre than live music and the music's always too loud for me anyway and blah blah blah, but then Jim put out an APB on Facebook for someone to work the band's merchandise table. Don and I had just seen The Hobbit a few days before, so I kind of had a Bilbo Baggins moment and decided I would volunteer myself for a night of adventure. I guess that would make Jim... Gandalf? And the other band members would be a company of six doughty dwarfs on a quest to, um.... eh, that analogy got away from me. Anyway, Jim was glad to have someone he knew in charge of the money, plus my handy dandy iPhone with the handy dandy Paypal Here app would make it possible for them to accept payments other than cash. No one in the band has a smartphone, so it has to be all cash all the time whenever Superhorse plays. You'd think out of seven guys, statistics would favor one of them having acquired a smartphone by now. And anything that makes it easier for people to give you money is a good thing. Jim said they didn't usually sell a whole lot, though, so no one worried about it much.

The music wasn't even set to start until about 10, so I arrived at The Jinx around 9:30. Knew it was gonna be a late, late night, but hey, sleeping in is what Sundays are for! The Jinx is a fixture among live music venues in town, but I had never been to the place. I took some pictures before it filled up and during the performance, which you can see on my Pinterest right here: Bonnie Blue Tours Pinterest- Downtown Events and Venues. I also just added a couple of new shots from last night's outing to the Bay Street Theatre to hear Legs McNeil read from his book Please Kill Me as well as his newest book, soon to be published yet still untitled. More on that later.

Jim set me up with Superhorse merchandise: t-shirts, a special edition poster, their first album (rock) and their (sort of country) EP, and chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were there basically because Jim had joked with someone about selling cookies at the show, so he actually brought some to sell at $1 for a bag of two. Or at least sell the ones he didn't go ahead and scarf down. Cookies and beer, the dinner of champions! Jim also brought a jar of earplugs to sell for $1 a pair, which strikes me as somehow genius, considerate, and cynical all at the same time. I had the good sense to bring my own earplugs from home. I'm not very experienced at this "going to clubs and listening to live bands" thing, but I'm no fool either.

I set up like a good little merchandise girl, folding and stacking the t-shirts just like I used to do when I worked cash and retail at Cracker Barrel, oh, so many years ago. There were two different shirt designs and Jim had me clip one of each, along with a few bags of cookies, to the suspended section of chain-link fence that served for display. The Jinx is that kind place. The decorating scheme abounded with bats and skulls, the bartender looked like the only thing longer than his beard was his rap sheet, and every hand had a PBR Tallboy in it before the end of the night. My base of operations was in the back corner to the left of the door as you walk in. The floor rises up a couple steps and there are some booths and tables along that wall. The rise on the left side coupled with the bar on the right side creates a kind of canyon in the middle of the club that pushes all the people toward the stage like a human waterfall crashing down onto a drum kit. Funny thing about those booths- the tables are actually old arcade games. Working ones! My merchandise table was Frogger and I think the people one booth over from me were sitting down with Mrs. Pac Man.

The opening act was supposed to be a San Francisco group called Whiskey Pills Fiasco, but they missed their flight so Superhorse had to scramble. That's why the show started late. Luckily, local band Bottles & Cans was just finishing up a set somewhere else and didn't mind racing down the street, picking up Superhorse's instruments, and playing a bit to warm up the audience. As I once explained to a friend, I can hear the difference between good music and bad music, but I can rarely tell the difference between good music and great music. Jim sat down with a beer and assured me that Bottles & Cans is really good. He said their guy plays the drums better than he does, but it's not like I would ever know the difference. The music sounded good enough to me, especially once I put in my earplugs. It's nice to have that "listening from across the street outside" sensation while being able to remain in the room. Bottles & Cans are kind of blues-rock-ish or something. Their singer sounded a lot like Louis Armstrong with some extra handfuls of gravel in his throat. The audience swelled and swelled and swelled and loads of people I knew showed up. Hm, when and how did I ever become so connected? Sales were actually quite brisk, especially the earplugs. Those sold like hotcakes, though there was still no shortage of people out on the floor who seemed to think a live music experience wasn't complete unless you left with a hearing impairment.

I had the presence of mind to shoot a little video with my phone. I still forget about all the things an iPhone can do. I caught most of Superhorse's first number (minus the opening verses), which you can view here: Superhorse- Shadows and Shapes. That's the video of it I posted to Superhorse's Facebook. I tried to upload the thing from my phone to the computer, but stupid Windows Media Player kept playing the video upside down! What is wrong with you, Windows? And now with the new hard drive and re-installation of Windows, the Media Player says it doesn't recognize the format (.mov) at all. Ugh, seriously Microsoft, how did you become the only game in town? Here's a second video I took later in the night: Superhorse- Joyride. I got cut off because of this guy who was trying to get my attention. I thought he wanted to buy something; turned out he was just asking if he could fold up his jacket and leave it with me.

That was another quirky development of the evening: my little space became Coat-Check Corner. I think it was JinHi who started it when she asked if she could leave her jacket there with me. Then she bought a t-shirt and I stashed that for her too. Then Jamie bought a poster, but didn't want it to get creased up, so I hid that for her in the box behind me until she came back for it at the end of the night. Then Mandy came in and asked if I would hold on to her coat too and, Jesus, I think I had a whole department store's worth of outerwear tucked into the booth with me by the time the show ended! I guess once everyone I knew had put me in charge of their clothing, I should not have been surprised when strangers began to follow suit. The guy who interrupted my filming process was a nice young man in a button-up shirt who thoughtfully offered to share his shrooms with me when he discreetly pulled the baggie out of his jacket pocket. I politely declined.

So, a good time was had by all and a very good time was had by some. The band made out better than usual in terms of merchandise. Plenty of the sales were cash, but having the use of my phone did nab about $90 the guys would have missed otherwise. They sold around $300 worth of stuff all in all, which Jim told me that was three times what they usually sell. He thought it was because a lot of new people came to see the band that night, but I noticed more than a few familiar faces at my table. Plenty of friends and acquaintances bought stuff just because they like Jim and wanted to be supportive. He has the novel effect on people of making them want to give him money, while also having the misfortune of knowing only a bunch of penniless losers such as myself. He'd be all set if he'd start hanging around with a more well-heeled crowd. I finished up the night by going all middle-school and having Jim write his PayPal ID on my arm so I could transfer the band's money to him from my account. I was traveling light and hadn't bothered to carry my purse, so I was bereft of things to write on and things to write with.

I snagged a cheap hot dog from Sweet Melissa's on my way back to the car. They make a killing being the only place open after the bars close down. I got bumped into by some drunk guy, kidded around with by some other drunk guy, and finally got home and made it into bed sometime after 3am, I think.

My little excursion to the Bay Street Theatre last night was also rock 'n roll, but less drunk and noisy. Jim runs an organization called Knocked Out Loaded through which he promotes live music and other music-centric stuff. He snagged Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain for a stop in Savannah to answer questions and read excerpts from Please Kill Me! The Uncensored History of Punk as well as from McNeil's newest book, which he hasn't even given a title to yet. I know exactly squat about the history of American music, rock music, or punk rock, but even I still know that sitting in a room talking with Legs McNeil about The Ramones and Iggy Pop is totally cool. In case you don't know, Legs McNeil is the guy who started Punk Magazine back in the 70s and is credited with giving the genre its name. He hung out at CBGB's night after night with people and bands who are the stuff of legend now. I still wasn't going to go because I'm not that much of a fan girl and, as usual, I'm poor and didn't have $10 to spare for a ticket. But Jim came through again with the need for someone to sell merchandise, just some special posters he'd had made, and offered me the job. So, I got to enjoy the reading after all.

This January was bookended by serious rock 'n roll submersion, which surprises me. I'm not sure how that happened. I think I was minding my own business and got sucked into this punk rock vortex. I mean, Jim showed the movie Rock 'n Roll High School last summer, then CBGB filmed here, then I heard Superhorse play for the first time (and got to take home each of their cds for working the merch table!), then Legs McNeil came to town. What's next? Whatever it is, I hope it involves Alan Rickman filming another movie here.