Captain Nemo

captain nemoWhoops!

For some reason, I have actual events to report -some of them even pertaining to the local music scene. I left the house! I left the house! I went boldly forth, you know, to bars and stuff, on your behalf, scouring the globe for hip local music scene tidbits, soundbytes, news fodder and such, pretty much like I always do, vulture-like, clumsily but steadily circling in on the lowliest, last little bit of carrion; but this time, things happened. We went out! -It was wonderful.

Of course, I had to go first; one of my main functions with my wife, the devastatingly seductive yet hirsute Mrs. Kelp (actually, I’m not really sure what “hirsute” means -I just think it looks cool. I’m hoping it means, “devastatingly seductive”) has always been that of taster, anyway, and I do it mainly just to bolster her enigmatic and infathomable allure. Even with her shirt on, she wounds me. So, as I said, I left first for scouting purposes.

I went to a music convention -I don’t know why, I just did! It’s called the NEMO Music Showcase and Conference, and it featured about 250 acts playing for two nights in a bunch of clubs around Boston, plus a bunch of panels and seminars during the day with real music biz guys presiding. I’m not sure what “NEMO” stands for, and I’m too lazy to go to their stinking website (www.nemoboston.com), but I’ll bet it’s something like “North East Music Office” (orifice? orangatang? Ole? -maybe we’ll never know for sure.)

Probably the most valuable things these affairs provide are the schmoozing and networking opportunities, along with the fun all conventioneers have hanging out with their colleagues, drinking, and watching bands. Then there’s the panels, which can be spirited and fun -but rarely are. This year, the main thing I learned is that club booking agents love candy, so you should always include candy with any promo package, in theory. Personally, I say, screw ‘em -let ‘em starve. They’re booking agents, lower than vermin -no one feeds them, they find their food, they always have. They’re not getting any of my candy!

They also had booths with different services hawking their wares, the stand-out most amazingly bad idea coming from a company called Yellow Peppers.com, whose brainstorm it was to have a basket of yellow peppers with “Yellow Peppers.com” scrawled on them in Magic Marker. Their main service seemed to be converting rock songs into little beeps you can use for your cell phone ring -hallelujah! Can’t you people be happy with the theme from “The Flintstones”?

There’s nothing sadder than a bunch of musicians wandering around with notebooks and serious expressions -it’s even worse than when they’re on stage! Musicians need to remember that they were born to be happy, not rich, and the fact that so many of them got rich in the last half-century or so is just a temporary deviation from the norm. The very fact that people are starting to approach rock’n’roll like they would college lends a healthy, long-overdue dollop of doom to the whole enterprise -it’s OK, folks, show’s over; you can all go back to your houses now. Eventually, boys will find a different way to impress girls.

Needless to say, I played hookey on the second day of panels (well, golf, technically, which I’m no better at than hookey.) But I did go to a few shows, including longtime Provincetown legend Zoe Lewis’s set at the All Asia Cafe in Cambridge. Zoe’s set was exemplary, both of the kind of situations you find yourself thrust into at these music showcase conventions, and of making the absolute best of it. Zoe was presented with a bad P.A. system and a bunch of oblivious strangers, deep in conversation; but against all odds she turned the place around with pure vivacity, had ‘em cheering and buying CDs by the end -not an easy task, as the rest of the bill soon proved (among them Andy Pratt, who had a hit back in the seventies with “Avenging Annie” and was playing his first show in the area in years; besides the hit, he did a nice version of the Byrds’ lovely “I’m Goin’ Back”.)

Then I almost went to a hip-hop show by mistake. I was at the Middle East, being patted down for weapons, when I finally realized I don’t like hip-hop, and left, all my many weapons untouched. Saw a great NYC band at the Lizard the next night, too, called Vic Thrills (I can’t help it, that’s what they were called): extremely entertaining, high energy Devo-ish kind of riff (have album, will review.)

And then on Sunday, with my gorgeous satellite Mrs. K in tow, I attended the Boston Playwright’s Theater Marathon, which was a ton of fun. Crazy people from fifty or so Boston area theater companies doing ten hours of ten-minute plays, running consecutively in two adjoining theaters -wonderful! The few irritating plays are only irritating briefly, and most of it is amusing, well-acted, and well-staged -a fascinating display of how many different ways there are to kill ten minutes.

The highlights were many and varied, but I’m proud to say that the performance of the night belonged to our own Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater’s production of Jesse Kellerman’s “Til’ Death Do Us Part”, and, in particular to W.H.A.T. veteran Laura Lee Latreille, whose performance as The Bride was insane, inspired, over-the-top, and hilarious. The Marathon is a terrific event -next year, I’ll pester you about it beforehand.

Speaking of advance pestering, this Saturday, April 20th will mark the debut appearance of the Mayocks at Mahoney’s in Orleans, the Mayocks being a Connecticut quartet that leans heavily on the pop harmonies of the Everly Brothers and the Byrds. Their self-released debut album “Around This Town” (for more info, call 860 653 4095) has its ups and downs, but cuts like “Wet Fall Night” and “Leaving From the Past” give one optimism for their follow-up, which is scheduled to include guitar work from NRBQ’s Johnny Spampinato. In any case, new faces are always welcome -especially ones that sing good harmonies!

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