Just like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, I had jam in my pocket watch and was running late for my big Rockmaggedon date on Friday night. The show to end all shows certainly can wait on one untimely white blonde in boots, right? No way! You want to rock, you get there on time because Rockmaggedon & Bitchin’ Burlesque Show waited for no one to blow the roof off of Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday, September 16.
The evening opened up with The Sexual Side Effects, a band that I’d heard good things about, but unfortunately I missed their opening set. When I got there in between SSE and the next band’s set, the crowd had nothing but rave reviews and comments about how refreshing SSE’s sound was to hear. I’ve put them on my “Bands to Stalk” list now. However, I did try to Google “The Sexual Side Effects” and wow – just wow – lots of medical SSEs. Once I found the band’s site, I pulled up a couple of their demos, Aurora and I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used to Be A Man), on SoundCloud. From these two demos, I can tell you that SSE has a very solid, psychedelic sound – the kind you might hear when falling down a rabbit hole.
The second band to tear it up on stage was Asphalt Valentine. They were high energy, loud, rock n’ roll machines and apparently not Atlanta’s Dirty Little Secret as they played to a packed out room. Asphalt Valentine had a modern edgy style with a throw back sound, which was rooted in the rock of beloved 80’s hair bands like Motley Crue, AC/DC, and Bon Jovi. (Although the Bon Jovi comparison also has a little bit to do with the lead singer’s beautiful blond chin length locks.) With mega guitar riffs and wailing vocals, this was one rockin’ band that got everyone moving and shaking their hips to the beat. You can even hear the rock band goodness oozing out of their song titles (from their first album “Strip Rock Roll”): Dirty Little Secret, It’s Not Me (Baby It’s You), Be Your Drug, Down to the Aces, and Bombshell. I’m certain a few ladies in the audience were even thinking, “Hey Asphalt Valentine, I’ll be your bombshell, if you’ll be my drug!”
What’s the best way to end the rock portion of Rockmaggedon? With The Issues! Ok, imagine if you will, lead singer Mike Ness from Social Distortion getting into a knock down, drag out brawl with Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer from Green Day – the end result would be The Issues. Even though he looked like Perry Farrell (lead singer from alternative bands Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros), lead singer Wayne Vokovich’s vocals sounded more like Mike Ness with a pinch of Billie Joe during the choruses. Every once in a while I got hints of influence from the punk rock band The Nobodys, like in The Issues’ F**k Me Pumps song. Overall the band had more of a pop punk Green Day feel (which another concertgoer had pointed out to me), but they also had a few songs that could be classified as purely alternative music with less of that pop punk edge. My favorite song – and by far an audience favorite – was their last song, Straight to Hell. The Issues turned it into one big sing-along, inviting their friends and everyone else on stage to sing with them and rock the roof off the SOB.
Speaking of hell and its demons, then the devilishly good looking New Orleans Jon appeared on stage to emcee Mon Cherie’s Va Va Voom – Bitchin’ Burlesque Show. To transition from rockin’ to bitchin’, Scarlett Page came out fierce in an all black ensemble, bumping and grinding to Joan Jett’s I Love Rock N’ Roll. Next up, dressed in white newbie Lola Lesoleil dared to dance a lovely tease to a dark blues-y, gritty song. Following Lola, crooner New Orleans Jon serenaded the beautiful, red feather fan dancing Chameleon Queen with The Jeff Healey Band’s Angel Eyes. Then the show took a break from its rock-themed numbers to include a bitchin’ belly dancing one. Mina, dressed in traditionally flashy, colorful belly dancer garb, played the zills, shimmied, and veil danced beautifully all over the stage for three electronic- style middle eastern songs. And finally, we were at the show’s finale – Katarina Laveaux’s sizzling hot chair tease that brought the house down and ended the rockin’ evening!