Superthrive was also on the “Chicks That Rock” bill, featuring a wild-looking, spike-haired bleach blond (gal named Sue) on a white Les Paul. I heard they shred. But it was getting late, all that nasty cigarette smoke was getting to me (yeah, right) and I had to high tail it back to NYC before they sealed the tunnels and the nighttime curfew kicked in and I’d risk getting my skinny butt thrown in jail. Oh, that’s right! Mayor Mike hasn’t issued those executive orders – yet.

End of rant.

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Bonnie Tagate's Open Bar
Copyright 2003 NEON, blue door productions
Bonnie Tagate's
Yeah, so now I gotta guzzle down my long-neck like some cafone and leave the music behind just so I can go outside and share a sidewalk smoke with my fellow nicotine addicts. I tell ya it won’t be long before the only legal fun in ole NYC will be raising my pinky while sipping on some pissy-ass white wine in a brightly lit and sterilized lounge on West 57th Street. And the only sounds allowed will be the mechanical hiss and hum of a dozen humidifiers blasting purified oxygen through the joint. It don’t seem all that long ago I’d be club-hopping in the back of a Yellow Cab, puffing on a Kool and taking hits off a Rolling Rock in a paper bag. And nobody bothered you. Why are my rock ‘n’ roll liberties being stomped on by pussy liberals!? If they even go to rock joints, who the flying V wants ‘em there anyway!? End of rant.

Yeah, so
Rock Spot Records out of Brooklyn is billing this as “Chicks That Rock” night. Whas up, boys? Never heard of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Patti Smith, Lorry Doll, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett and the hundreds of other gender privileged folk who’ve rocked our tushes over the past century or so? It ain’t exactly a new concept. Whateva, at least it’s on the Jersey side and I can legally light up while I’m getting’ rocked ‘n’ rolled. Besides, that jackass billing - which I guess ain’t as bad as “Chicks With Picks” - probably sold an extra ticket or two.

Here’s what was happenin’:

THE MATTER - Yeah, the Matter got a “chick” in their band - guitarist Nina Interlandi. But the real focus of this group is frontman Derrick Mangroo who performs as if he were born into that role. He commands the stage with his powerful vocals, and his dramatic movements drive songs like “Beat City”, “Sloe Jam” and “Dog House”. That’s not to say that the rest of this band doesn’t – matter. The two guitar attack of Nina and Ian Bel is righteous. Bel squeezes some real luscious notes out of that Fender. Meanwhile, drummer Jeff Rohe and bassman Dave Roberts provide a solid and funky rhythm section. This Brooklyn band has been around for five years and have played all over the city and thereabouts.The Matter have described their music as sweaty, sexy and ass kicking rock and roll. Sweaty? Yeah. Sexy? Oh, Yeah. Ass-kicking? I'm still sore.
(l-r) Jeff Rohe, Derrick Mangroo, Nina Interlandi, Ian Bel, Dave Roberts  (front)
Photo Paul Brown
SLUSHPUPPY - A classic rock ‘n’ roll four-piece fronted by Dawn Botti who more often than not has a black Les Paul slung low on her diminutive body. Yer prototype sweet little rock ‘n roller. Slushpuppy started up in ’99 and have played all over the New York area. Botti’s joined by hubby Gary Szczecina on drums (sorry, guys ... and gals), lead guitarist Rich Sarnicola and bassist Cory Baker. They’re a tight outfit, but Dawn is undeniably the star of this show. Live, she belts out bluesy songs with a gritty sensuality set to a hard and heavy backdrop. Too bad that down and dirty sound hasn’t translated to the recordings I’ve heard so far – a debut EP, Unleashed, produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Jawbox, Screaming Trees), and a 2002 demo produced by Chris Gibson (Quicksand, Rival Schools, Dragpipe, Adharma). Although both of these discs have gotten Slushpuppy significant radio play and notice (including a few airings of a couple cuts on MTV), the recordings come off as heavy handed productions of commercial pop. That’s a stark contrast to the tough (but enticingly vulnerable) soul of Slushpuppy’s well written material. Standouts of their set were the slicker than sweat “Deeper Down” and the very heavy “Say My Name”. See Slushpuppy  live to find out what they’re really about.
Photo Kevin Mooney
NIJA are your basic schoolboy fantasy. Not only are Leigh Ann and Jenna Emens sisters, they’re also TWINS! And not only do they look hot, they rock that way, too. But, this ain’t no shtick band. Leigh Ann is front and center on vocals and guitar, while Jenna switches off between bass and guitar with lead axe man Rich Trotman. Anchoring the backbeat is Justin Neighbour on drums. They’ve been gigging extensively on the New York and East Coast circuit for the past four years or so opening for the likes of L.A. Guns, Dee Snider, the Misfits and Kings X. Some pretty heavy company. But Nija are pretty heavy in their own right, meshing their melody driven songs with the rolling thunder of metal. I’ve seen them before - about six months ago - but this night it was obvious their time on the road has paid off with a more intense stage presence and an added dynamic strength. They’ve got a demo out with “Just Like Me” and “My Realty”. Neither recorded song approaches the energy of their on stage performance. A full length CD is due out this summer.
NIYA: the sisters Emens. Jenna, above, Leigh Ann, right.