Bedlam/PBR Blowout at the Bedlam, 9/3/10

Categories: Last Night

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Photo by Nikki Miller
Bedlam/PBR Blowout
September 3, 2010

Bedlam Theater

Duhn duhn-duhn-duhn duhn duhn-duhn duhn-duhn duhn-duhn.

On Friday night last, the funeral march tolled for the Bedlam Theatre, if only temporarily. On one of its final nights before fulfilling its order to vacate, Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsored a blow-out to celebrate the venue's final days before moving on to greener pastures.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

The Bedlam Theatre, known in equal parts for its theatre, its live music, its dance nights and for the best patio in town (with a rooftop view of the downtown skyline), recently received news that it must vacate its West Bank property to make way for a mosque, and on one of its final nights at the 6th Street location hosted a packed-to-the-gears show featuring an eclectic mix of performers, true to Bedlam form.

The Bedlam's impressive rooftop patio hosted Dreamland Faces early, and a performace by a group of nail-sitters (courtesy of the Inflammati Fire Circus) later on. G Biz took to the indoor stage early on, with Phantom Tails to follow, a band who had played their first show at the Bedlam only a year before. Phantom Tails are one of a handful of groups in town you really oughtta make a point of seeing if you haven't yet.

Comprised of former members of Plastic Chord, Phantom Tails takes the schizophrenia of that band and hones it down to just 70s throwback punk/80s throwback dance/electro/fuzzy metal rock, with a little sass. The group on Friday played to an already impressive crowd considering the early hour - 8:30 by the time they took the stage.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

Up next were Brass Messengers (who, oh random, feature the dude I played Pat Metheny with in jazz band and Moody Blues with in marching band back in South Dakota, who'dathunk). By their second song, the room had erupted in dancing, just in time for the band to march outside. They played a handful more songs in the parking lot, the towers of Riverside Plaza looming in the background, a big clear splotch of sky above us, planes angling north from the airport and the brightest stars evident from down below in the parking lot. Soon they were joined by the fire wranglers of the Inflammati Fire Circus, and with stars and apartment lights twinkling above, fire burning below, I couldn't help but wonder how the new Bedlam will outdo the incredible space they have for the last few years been able to secure. When they do, it's gonna be real good.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

Hood Internet, a Chicago-based mashup outfit, elicited more dancing from the Bedlam crowd. Dance nights and DJs who play for them are kinda outside my realm of understanding. Exhibit A: I went to TML - once - and spent the whole night trying to dance with the only guy in the room wearing a plaid shirt, because I was the only girl in the room wearing a plaid shirt. Sadly, he did not notice how important it was that we, dressed as we were, should dance. Sad. Exhibit B. Bomp, the regular dance night at the Bedlam, dragged there by some friends. Those friends abandoned me to go make out with each other behind the projection screen. All three of them. As out of place as I feel in a dance crowd, the appeal of Hood Internet was undeniable. It's been a long while since I'd seen a room so crowded, and so moved to move.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

Pink Mink kept the crowd going on this dancing trend, and by the second song there was a dance pit operating on the verge of a mosh pit. As such, I ran away. Ever perfecting their sound, it's at its best when it borders on weird slow surf, and I don't even like surf music. Whatever they manage to do to it, I like it.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

Last up, Rifflord closed out the night. I think I got my ass grabbed three times during their soundcheck/setup. That means they took way too long.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

To be sure, Kiss once took a lot of guff for their posing and perfected image, and look where it's got 'em now. So I ain't gonna say a thing about how Rifflord should focus on the music alone and not allow the rest - the American flags they have draped over their gear, the work lights that steal all their juice such that their amps stop working, the insane above-the-head guitar moves - to be a distraction. May you, Rifflord, someday have five roadies apiece each hoisting you up on cables, on to platforms two stories above your adoring audience. Don't stop 'til you get there, lest it all be for naught.

Best of luck to the Bedlam during their transition!

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