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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day To Me!
or where's my cocktail? I'm freaking dehydrated here...

Dear Penthouse Forum-

Last night I spent 120 gloriously sweaty minutes with five strapping black men, one Asian and three white guys, two of whom were my hubby, Geo and my go-to-date, Howard. This morning I woke up with burning thighs, a sore neck and my back crying out for the sweet release of a chiropractic crack.

I believe I also caught a fever... a fever from an infectious ska-beat of British origin. It was the English Beat!!

That's right. We spent two non-stop, high-energy, dance-a-thon, rhythmic hours in a grungy theater packed with a sea of fellow middle-aged English Beat followers having a ball grooving to one of the few 80s bands whose return is most welcomed. I haven't danced that much for probably a decade... hence the bad case of "dance neck" and burning quads this morning.

The evening started with a local ska band No Pressure comprised of five guys and a gal who kept chewing her gum while alternately singing on-key then off-key. I kept expecting the offending wad of chicle to spew forth into the crowd as she blurted one sour note after another. Apparently she had it tucked deep in her cheek like a squirrel on an eating binge... so crisis averted there.

But by far the most entertaining part of this band was the bass player. His fingers sailed up and down the neck of his bass, keeping a perfect ska beat with the rest of the band, but his body movements were distorted, twisted and completely out of step.

How is that even possible?

How can you keep one rhythm with your fingers and a totally unrelated I-think-I'm-having-a-seizure-ala-Elaine-Benis beat with your body?!? While everyone else was bopping and jumping in time, he was moving in some other time zone to a crazy-assed, awkward, atonal beat like the poster child for the whitest of white guy dancing.


It was hilarious to watch. Then to top it off, at the end of their set, Fred Astaire raised his bass guitar to reveal to the crowd he had split the front of his pants. I kid you not. Thank God he was wearing Underoos because nobody needed to see his Wee Willie winking out from his crotch. Endless entertainment, this lot. In spite of all that, the music was actually pretty good.

Then the English Beat took the stage and the energy level went into orbit--not to return to Earth until the End of the Party! Pounding bass lines, commanding drum beats, screaming sax solos and Dave Wakeling sounding like he did 30 years ago. At the stroke of the first note, all of us old farts were up and dancing for the rest of the evening. (here's Geo's favorite)

It was fucking brilliant!!

Apparently the promoters were less than hospitable to Dave and the gang, because he was relentlessly slamming them throughout the evening. Calling them out for not providing water, Gatorade, sandwiches or a nice cup a tea. Come on, people! They're English! You could have at least given them a pot of tea beforehand. Then to add insult to injury, the brain trust in charge insisted they only play 90 minutes.

They obviously had no idea who they were dealing with. Ole Dave flipped them ye olde "up yours" two-finger salute and proceeded to spend the next two hours electrifying the crowd with all the old favs and a couple new bits. Aaaaah... Good times. Good times.

(By the way, turns out all the chiding during the night worked... The management did a Mea Culpa and ponied up for Subway subs for the band. It was all love and kisses during the encore.)

I crawled into bed at 12:35am with the sound of a thousand cicadas ringing in my ear, more exhausted than I'd been in recent memory and the glow of a night well spent.

It was a Happy Valentine's Day, indeed.

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