Unfortunately I missed Mia Valentine. I still have this stupid obsession with the show "Cold Case" and once I started watching, I had to be there to find out that it was the cousin who shot the Elvis wannabe. So I watched and then headed to the bar and for a minute wished I had arrived either 5 minutes earlier or 5 minutes later because I was almost caught in the middle of a hooker fight.
I parked on the northwest corner of 35th and El Cajon, got out of my car and walked to the crosswalk. Me and two hookers on the corner, just as the "walk" sign turned green. We began to cross as three other ladies of the night came our way and suddenly some shit talking went down. "You the bitch fucking my baby's daddy? You fucking my man? You fucking whore!" Then the response, "Nah, Bitch, you got the wrong Ho, I don't know your shit. I ain't fuckin yo man!" There's stupid me just walking across the street as they're about to fight in the middle of the street, just minding my own business but kinda laughing inside about the almost fight happening as I cross 35th relatively early on a Sunday night. It will never cease to amaze me that this kind of shit is happening less than a mile from my neighborhood; less than a mile from the home of Mayor Jerry Sanders and Mr. 91X, Chris Cantore.
I quickly found sanctuary in the Zombie Lounge, as The Henry Clay People were mid set. People had told me about the band but holy shit, they are so good. I was thinking of Dusty Rhodes and the Little River Band in their presentation (though the music is very different)- the way you feel like the band is preaching to you, enlightening you of some secret they've learned with the hand gestures and emphatic expressions but in the meantime you're listening to the music and wondering how these young guys have it all figured out...and why they're playing the Zombie Lounge on a Sunday night?? They closed their set with a song dedicated to everyone who is "broke and poor but continue the rock 'n' roll". Then there was the acknowledgement that being broke and poor is redundant, but rock and roll anyway! And as Joey jumped in the crowd and knocked my shoulder and the crowd rocked along with them, you knew that everyone was right there with them. (This is a pic from their MySpace since I didn't take any.)
After The Henry Clay People, Swim Party took the stage and what else can I say about these guys. If I had a label, Swim Party would be the first band I'd sign. I took some heat because Petro shaved his beard after I posted a pic of him with his gigantic beard here but it was all in good fun. Anyway, the boys did their thing and seriously, if Swim Party hasn't been on your radar then you are sleeping.
The last band of the evening was Writer. They're a San Diego band I'd never heard of but who came highly recommended, and the second the singer, Andy, opened his mouth, I got a little pissed that this band isn't playing every other week in San Diego. In their live performance, there's this natural thing to connect them with The Smiths crossed with Wilco, and I would never take either comparison lightly. Is it too late to book them to open for Rocky Votolato at the Casbah next week? Can we make this happen? They were amazing onstage, and later, offstage, they were so nice, even after two of the three were bitten by a couple dogs running loose on El Cajon Blvd (unless it's edited, see my CityBeat column on Wednesday for more info on that). Anyway, Writer is playing some benefit show at a gallery or boutique or something in November, but I'm working on getting them seen around town sooner than that only because I don't think I can wait that long.
I couldn't be happier that the Zombie Lounge is diversifying and allowing more bands to take their stage. There was a time when you could only see rockabilly or punk bands but the shift definitely works for me.