Monday, November 3, 2008

Live at Hank's: Chesty Malone and Sister Anne, 10/31/08

Live FFotos at Hank’s © Robert Barry Francos

Last time I saw lead singer Jacqueline Blownaparte (love that name), was when she was lead singer of Lady Unluck (as Vikki Voltage), both at Peggy O’Neill’s in Brooklyn, and CBGB’s. But that’s a couple of years now, and I’ve been just itching to see her new group, Chesty Malone and the Slice-Em-Ups. I’d recently done a review of their incredibly fun new CD for Jersey Beat (, Now We’re Gonna See What Disaster Really Means, so I was looking forward to seeing them play.

Turns out they had a gig coming up on Halloween (the perfect day to see them) at one of my favorite haunts (pun intended), Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn. Hank’s is supposedly closing down for redevelopment (let’s finally get rid of that miserable mayor Bloomberg already, willya!?), so I was happy to not only get a chance to finally see the band, but to support one of my favorite remaining local music centers.

As for a costume, well I’ve never really been one to dress up, so I wore my official canary yellow Day of the Dead sweatshirt. It had been given to an editor of Fangoria by the film crew for appearing in the Romero film (as a zombie, of course), and he gave it to his girlfriend, Dawn. When they broke up, the girlfriend gave it to me. I don’t wear it often, but this was a special evening.

As the first band was setting up the crowded, tiny and slightly elevated stage, I saw Chesty Malone arrive all together. I went over and introduced myself to Jacqueline, who almost seemed a bit shy, and guitarist Anthony Allen van Hoek. Am I crazy, or was it just pre-show jitters? Or maybe it was the projection of myself who was bashful? Anyway, I found it kinda charming. While the band usually has some kind of blood-spattered appearance, for this show, Jacqueline wore a zombie Star Trek Yeoman Rand outfit that worked quite well, so I felt confident in my choice of “costume.”. At some point before the first band, Anthony came over and gave me a Chesty Malone t-shirt, and I truthfully told him that I would wear it with pride.

Got By Buckner
The first band up was the all-attractive Got By Buckner, the second band I know of that was named after the Met’s-winning 1986 World Series (other one is Miracle of 86). My guess is this is a one-off cover band made up of members of other bands, just having fun (I did a search through some Websites and came up with bubkus). And some of the crowd, obviously made up of their friends, seemed to be getting into it. I had some problems though, part of which was their choice of obvious Top-10 covers, from the good (e.g., Proclaimers’ “500 Miles, B-52’s “Love Shack” and CCR’s “Fortunate Son” – although I bet they were doing the U2 version), to the awful (e.g., Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”, and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”). The band's musicianship was fine, based on guitar (acoustic), drums, bass, and keyboards, but the lead vocalist was not. Her voice was incredibly reedy, and mostly tuneless. The guitarist had a much better and stronger voice (and in hair-band mode, looked like that blond surfer dude on TMZ). Their audience was tall and thin, preppy types (one of the great things about Hank’s is their diversity of bands), who danced in front of the stage. As good as GBB were to look at, I was honestly glad when they were done.

Chesty Malone and the Slice-Em-Ups
Next up was the band I had come to see, and Chesty Malone and the Slice-Em-Ups certainly did not disappoint. Immediately, there was a change of crowd, as an older, rowdy and fun group came to the forefront, including Lisa Brown (of Mongrel Bitch),who I had seen before at She Wolves shows.

CM&TSEUs are as horror-focused hardcore punk and horror-focused hardcore punk can be. In a long tradition of bands that focus on the macabre, horror film (gory-type), and serial killers, they sound like the howl of an angry wind in which you hear voices calling for your soul. Jacqueline is loud and angry, pulling the listener down and stomping on them until they submit. Hunched over and clutching the mic while standing in the audience, she rocks back and forth, spilling her vocal guts to the level that Lucio Fulci (were he not at the Quella villa accanto al cimitero) would be proud. Anthony, tall and imposing, played his Frankenstein monster on guitar to the hilt, making horror faces at the crowd and strum-pounding on his instrument. Jeez, it’s a fun band.

Jacqueline Blownaparte and some Queens of Pain

They went through a number of their songs from the CD, and I even videoed one of my favorite songs from the CD, the opening cut, “Satan Met a Lady,” but like a fool I did half of it at vertical (when I take photos, I'm not locked into vertical or horizontal), and of course, there’s no way to view it that way. Oh, well. That’s why I’m a photographer rather than a videographer. They did “13 Killers,” “Eat Shit” (aka “BPPS”), “Dotti Douchebag Sings the Blues,” and “Trouble With Cannibals” (another of their tunes I really like). The set list is copied below the band line-up.

This was the first time I saw them play, and I’m certainly hoping it will NOT be the last. They are exciting and fun, in an insane asylum, hardcore, take-no-prisoners, 28-Days/Weeks-Later-speed kind of way.

Chesty Malone and the Slice-Em-Ups:
Jacqueline Blownapart: Vox
Anthony Allen Van Hoek: Guitar
Ernest Anderson III: Bass
Angel Cotte: Drums

Set list (as listed on their sheet):
Eat Shit
Meat Factory
Exit 13
Everybody Hurts
13 Killers
Dotti Douchebag

Anthony’s excellent blog:

Sister Anne
After CM&TSEM’s set the crowd mutated once again, into one that was younger with urban-coolness, as we waited for the next band, Sister Anne. They are developing quite the following, though honestly I had not heard of them before. But there always is a first time anyway, right?

They all arrived in costume (listed next to their names below), and were very vibrant. There were tickets given to anyone who was in costume, and the winners got to take home basically stuff that the band wanted to get rid of. I remember the Nerve used to do that, too. It really produced some laughs and joy from the crowd, as one of the band’s bassists, Leon – dressed in full Queens of Pain Roller Derby gear – read off the numbers. The lead singer, Kitana (who also goes by the name Pink Chocolate), is tall and lean, with a performing strut-style stance, almost like an Egyptian empress. Next to her was diminutive Michelle, decked out in full nun outfit and carrying a huge guitar, which she played beautifully, I must say.

What I liked about Queen Anne is that they seem to really be having fun and enjoying themselves. They also play a mean, lean R&B rock. Kitana’s easy manner on stage and frank, sexual-based straight-talk between songs proved that she is a primed front-person. As I watched, she moved around the stage with a both a grace and slink. At one point, she swung her head, and her neon blue anime wig went flying into the audience (and was promptly worn by a male fan in front), followed by the nylon head cover, so her own hair broke free of it’s further binds and was free to move on its own.

Rather than having a set list, Kitana and Michelle had quick discussions, e.g., “Let’s play 'So-and-so'," which worked for them. They are definitely an up and coming band to look for.

About 20 minutes into their set, I left. It was Halloween night, and I wanted to get home. On the way to the train, outside of Hank’s, I saw Jacquline, Anthony, and Lisa, so I got to congratulate the band on a good and solid set. It was good to let them know in person.

Sister Anne (costume):
Kitana aka Pink Chocolate (Anime): Vox
Michelle (Nun): Guitar
Leon (Roller Derby Queen): Lo-bass
Sherry (Derek Smalls from This is Spinal Tap): Hi-bass
Jeph (Animal from The Muppets)

Epilogue: On the train ride home, I was listening to people talk about how crowded the Village Halloween Parade was (someone said they got there two hours before the its start, and couldn’t see because of the crowds, estimated in the news reports as in the millions along its route. Going to Hank’s was definitely the right choice.

Getting on the train at one point was a guy in the following costume: gym shorts, a t-shirt (yes, it was warm that night) with painted in sweat stains, and a gym bag. Oh, and he had an enormous soft rubber dildo and balls hanging out of his pants. Now that is just part of what disaster really means.

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