Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Post: Take a Walk with Shonny Constant

So I'm a mailman, right?

A civil servant. A grunt. A bug. I crawl about, day after day, on a schedule so defined that my rote pattern of existence could be represented on a graph. If you knew my routine, you would be able to track me down without issue roughly eighty percent of the time...although who would want to, right? 

Right. I walk. It's what I do, and nobody is much interested in a walker.

Yet here I was, deviated from my pattern on a clear, starless summer night, shadowing an intoxicated transgendered woman through the vacant spaces of Detroit. A woman who I'd only just met, and barely so at that.

The night had started off rocky, a few pleasant drinks with one of the beautiful Oliver Sisters and her friend Courtney Kostrick, a cool rogue of a dude that didn't let on at the time that the band he plays upright bass in, The Goddamn Gallows, were bloody incredible, have toured the country relentlessly, and released a ton of great music...juxtaposed with a chance encounter with Lars Fredericksen and his crew, who's Oi side project, The Old Firm Casuals, I was downtown to see at The Shelter, a dim, smallish club in the basement of Saint Andrews Hall, a thousand capacity joint where most big alternative acts cut their teeth on the Detroit leg of their early touring careers. That part? Not so much. Perhaps I wasn't wearing the right uniform. Perhaps the timing was just wrong. Whatever it was, the moment had been icy, and seeing as I'm a sweaty palmed fanboy at heart, that had been a real bummer.

Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit
Bruised inner child aside, we eventually made it into the club. The scene was yet undeveloped, people trickling in slowly, over the night as they do. There was a band onstage. Bad Assets. I liked what I was hearing-raw street punk, reminiscent of early Eighties hardcore. Sort of second wave CBGB kind of stuff that emerged after the pop culture fallout of The Ramones and Blondie had left their indelible mark on rock and roll. They were fast, loud, and raw. I recognized the guitarist, who dropped a dap on me while I struggled to remember where I'd met him before. That would eventually work itself out, involving a story containing a great Celtic Punk band from Quebec called Farler's Fury. My apologies to all involved, and those of you whose interest I may have piqued, but to go into that would be to digress to the point of no return. Another time perhaps.

So yeah, Bad Assets. These guys sounded good. And while they played, in came Jenna. Jenna Talia. I'd never met her, as I mentioned above, but I knew Miss Oliver was very fond of her friendship, so I looked forward to meeting her. After all had transpired, and even until now, I'm still rain-checking that one.

Jenna had started the party before she showed up at the club. I have no idea with what, or how hard, and I won't be so irresponsible as to speculate, but she was tipsy at best. Ripped at worst. By the time Hobo Gangbang had their set rolling (sorry, I've got nothing in the way of flavor text for them) she was agitated, and starting to cause a ruckus. First it was a chair she plopped onto the stage, next a table. Jenna isn't dainty, and she was drawing the wrong kind of attention that eventually got her thrown out. I was indifferent to the removal. I'd enjoyed the chaotic, entertaining sidebar she created, but it was pretty obvious what the outcome would be in terms of removal. Just another night at the Rock and Roll show. Until I realized how long Miss Oliver, who'd gone to see to Jenna, had been gone...

I went outside to investigate. There's a smoking ban in Detroit clubs, so there was a motley band of rowdies behind the building. My peeps weren't among them. Off to the side, obscured by a dumpster, I found them. Jenna was out. Incredibly out. Looking dead out. Miss Oliver was in a state of great distress-she'd later apologize for that, although she had no need to- as Jenna was non responsive. The peanut gallery was catcalling and mocking in a manner that was beyond crass and enflaming the situation. We needed help. Thankfully, one noble soul eventually stepped forward, a move that took some gumption considering the climate of the moment, and found us a pulse before calling EMS.

In Detroit, emergency services are painfully slow. In this case, they were slow enough to allow Jenna to come to, find out they were on their way, and in a fit lacking much grace attempt to gather her bearings enough to flee the scene. Miss Oliver was beside herself, trying to ignite some gentle flame of communication to no avail. Jenna moved, Miss Oliver was too unsure to follow. One party had a friend and a club show to see, and one was stumbling into the streets of Detroit, which aren't nearly as dangerous as you've heard, but not nearly as safe as I'm letting on. I had a choice to make. Stay with the beautiful Oliver Sister, or plunge out into the clear, starless Summer night...

I walked, it's what I do.

Maybe I was trying to impress Miss Oliver. Maybe I'm just a too nice guy in a too ugly world. Maybe I was hoping to have a story to tell in case I was afforded the opportunity to write for a burgeoning blog site (Thank you, Mr. Church!) Not sure. I hadn't been afforded the time to consider that part of it. Maybe you just need to embrace the impulse to walk in a different direction once in a while.

Miss Oliver is still beautiful.

Courtney Kostrick and the Goddamn Gallows are touring in support of a recently released album on Farmageddon Records. If you like the idea of raw, irreverent, Americana, find their music on Amazon or iTunes. I haven't talked to him since, so I have no reason to tell you that I love their music other than that it's bloody excellent.

Bad Assets sold me a shirt and gave me a demo that I listen to incessantly. I understand they're working on an album. If you like street punk, keep your radar humming for these guys.
I still have nothing more to add about Hobo Gangbang. By no fault of their own, that part of the evening got lost in the fog of war.

Old Firm Casuals were incredible. To see Lars play that close up was a transcendent experience for this fanboy. Their music is available for download or through Oi! The Boat Records. I also understand that Lars was a gentleman after the show, patiently meeting with everyone who had the inclination to remain into the night. I reckon I forgive him.

Lars Fredricksen
Jenna Talia was ultimately OK without my intervention. She sings for a band called Glitter Trash. Their first raw, first gen punk inspired full length "Wreckage" lays bare the emotions of their frontwoman. Do a search, you'll find them. The album is really, really good if you like really, really real.

I'm Shonny Constant. I play in a band called Detroit Perfect, nurture an infant record label called Disruptor, hope to write more for Bigfoot Diaries, and walk.

One Love.

(Entire text written by Shonny Constant)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this piece. Very well written. One love.