Part of my return to my job was the caveat that I would have to broaden my coverage into certain areas I find, shall we say, less than desirable. As such, I found myself on the south side for a night of dub reggae at
The Locker Room
(a bar that is attached to strip joint Cheeks). Why, you ask, would I find this situation undesirable? Well, it’s because I absolutely hate reggae. “What?” you may be thinking or, “How dare you, Alex?!” Sorry, I guess.
It’s not only that I find the music awful—God, that feels good to say after five years of worrying the backlash would require too much energy, and finally deciding I just don’t give a shit—I’ve never really looked at reggae the same since I stopped smoking weed a million years ago, and the homophobia rampant within the genre freaks me out. Just check out these utterly ridiculous Buju Banton lyrics from the song “Boom Boom Bye:” (Two man) Hitch up on an rub up on / An lay down inna bed / Hug up on another / Anna feel up leg / Send fi di matic an / Di Uzi instead / Shoot dem no come if we shot dem. Yikes. Anyway…
Since I can’t hold local performances accountable for the ravings of mainstream bigotry, I went anyway. And as I’m the paradigm of chic and fashionable, I showed up nearly an hour late in an effort to avoid what I like to call the “sadness hour”—a depressing time in which performers stand around listlessly waiting for any kind of audience. No such luck. I don’t know if it’s because Wednesday nights are tough show nights or if it’s because The Locker Room is semi-terrifying, but sadness hour was in full effect. The girl at the bar, however, was outrageously awesome and nice (give her a raise, Locker Room!) and the place does have a Tekken 4 arcade cabinet! The beer was affordable, the smell was tolerable and a very nice woman complimented my tattoos. Dang, maybe The Locker Room is actually more welcoming than a lot of downtown spots.
The band, Vicious Kitties, set up alongside DJ Ol’ Curty and actually accomplished the impossible: they made me not hate reggae. OK, OK—to be fair, the live drummer and guitarist drowned out most of the reggae-ish stuff Curty was spinning, and they did so in a grand, sweeping, psychedelic fashion.
When it comes to jamming, there’s a fine line between Phish and fun, and these guys actually kind of nailed it...at first. What began as a tight set of stonery riffs and mildly interesting drum work soon devolved into an aimless display of dudes who thought it might be a cool idea to not really practice and kind of see what would happen if they just sort of started rocking out.
Hip-hop elements were a welcome addition, but if I attend a show to find the entertainment is more interested in dicking around improvisationally than playing a cohesive set of songs, I start to wonder why I’m putting in time that they wouldn’t. It’s also why I hate a lot of jazz (a story for another day).
I will never fault anyone for attempting something to satisfy their artistic selves, but I came so close to actually enjoying the music and wound up feeling like some sort of music-critic version of Icarus as the set went on.
Later, more and more reggae reared its head, and eventually, it seemed the performers themselves had lost interest and left the DJ to do his thing.
According to the show’s promoter (also the drummer) Aron Kalaii, this will be a weekly event. I urge Kalaii and all involved to try and nail down an actual set or vision for the show.
None of these people were lacking talent; they just seemed to be without direction. Open donations will later be collected at the door, and I might even return…just so long as there’s a little more structure. Did I mention there’s cheap beer?
Every Wednesday, 9 pm
The Locker Room Sports Bar & Grill
2841 Cerrillos Road