Hornswaggler | The culture, the humor, a bit of the sports, not so much the politics, and the workplace distraction

Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

Culture, Humor, Sports
Workplace Distraction

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Okay. I mentioned going to see the Ghosts at the Parkside cafe in Potrero Hill last Thursday. Here's the review:

As I said earlier, musicians with keen senses of humor donning primitive Halloween costumes and getting wildly intoxicated -- these are my kind of people, living my kind of dream. My friends and I got to the Parkside a few songs into the Ghosts' set, but I was dead set on doing my journalistic duties, so I obtained a set list from one of the rocking undead after the show and it goes like this:

Jack the Ripper
Bloody Mary
The Tavern
Death Pt. II
Sell It to the Man
Sexy Dance
Death Pt. II
Revenge of the Cybermen

The Ghosts -- who were all clad in white sheets with the eye- and mouth-holes cut out -- consist of a drummer, a bassist, a keyboardist, a guitarist and a determinedly interactive lead singer. The keyboard player and bassist were female. The drummer, Mike Dead, appeared to be either drunk to the point of sickness or feigning the same. The bassist, keyboardist and lead singer wore Chuck Taylors. The guitarist was playing a Gibson hollow body, the bassist what appeared to be a lefthanded Fender Stratocaster bass guitar.

The music -- I think we got there during Tavern -- was punk/surf in style. I'm not too familiar with these genres -- though, I might add, completely open to elucidation thereupon -- so forgive me if my descriptions sound amateurish; to wit, one of the songs had a guitar riff that sounded like the theme to "The Munsters" and another a riff that sounded like the B-52s' "Rock Lobster." The keyboard sound definitely added a '60s surfer feel to the music.

Regardless of what category the experience might fit into, it was very entertaining. The lead singer capered around the floor, engaging and mugging with members of the audience (including members of the next band, the "Bitter Pills," who happily obliged), and at one point mauled a hapless candy-cigarette girl. She did not reciprocate his invitation to dance and left shortly thereafter, apparently not having seen the brilliant humor in it all. I button-holed her outside, as she was hopping into a car, and she said, in broken English, that she deemed the encounter to have been "dangerous." (I'm sympathetic to her culture shock, but the only real danger she was in was that of having the stick shaken out of her ass.) She sounded Eastern European and the sight of her driving off in a Toyota Tercel to her next destination with an unexplained old man at the wheel (father? uncle? candy pimp?) constituted a sad counterpoint to the evening's festivities.

The lead singer also stopped at the bar for a beer, did a Jaeger shot through his eye hole and, during the last song, dragged the guitarist around the floor by his ankle. There was also merry banter with the fans, some of whom booed lustily following different songs. When an audience member pointed out that he could see the band in the mirrors lining the back wall (I thought this applied to vampires) and wondered what was up with that anyway?, the band ducked down low before the lead singer explained that "we gotta know just how good we look."

After the show, the band left for awhile and then filtered back in incognito, having doffed their sheets, though with a little observation you could tell who was who. (The keyboardist and bassist have the same funky shoulder-length haircut.) Only the lead guy preserved his anonymity and this is perhaps just as well, as far as any liability issues are concerned. To sum, the Ghosts rock hard. I predict a mosh pit will soon develop. I'll be back at the Parkside to check it out.

.: posted by hornswaggler 2:24 AM

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