Monday, April 1, 2013

Down with Boozophilia

Good Friday? Depends on your perspective.

I rushed through my Shabbat Passover dinner to meet my son at Johnny Brenda's, a tiny venue at the corner of Frankford and Girard, smack in the middle of the on-going revitalization of Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood. Since last August, when I first witnessed the on-stage antics of raucous rockers Low Cut Connie (soon to be a household name), I have been aching to see them again. My son, a local Philadelphia DJ and friend of the band, got on the guest list for this show and I was designated as his "+1".

When I arrived, my son, E., was talking with a young man who was introduced as a member of a local band. We chatted briefly then made our way into the club, cutting through the crowd packed around a billiard table and heading to the stairway that led to the second floor concert facility. The room was empty, but as showtime approached, fans began to fill in the vacant spaces on the floor. (Johnny Brenda's is a standing-room only venue.) I staked a prime spot at a large wooden post that supported the balcony that hugs the perimeter of the room. Around 9:45, the lights were lowered and Philadelphia's own DRGN KING took the stage to get the crowd going before Low Cut Connie's headlining performance. Seven or so songs later, they thanked the crowd and the house lights, once again, came on.

More patrons filed in. E. and I talked, straining our voices above the recorded music playing to pacify the waiting crowd. Soon, a group of eight hipsters wedged themselves into a narrow swath of floor just in front of me, clearly and thoughtlessly breaching my personal space. I turned to E. and, while motioning around me, said, "They couldn't find anywhere else to stand?" They had to pick right here!" Disgusted, I asked my son to slide a foot or two to his right so I could put my feet in a place where they wouldn't butt up against someone else's. He complied and we continued our conversation. Not twenty seconds after our relocation, there was a loud BANG!, followed by a splash on the floor. The ambient noise ceased as confused patrons looked around for the source of the sound  Evidently, someone leaning over the balcony dropped a heavy pint glass filled with beer and it plummeted like a bomb, spreading its liquid shrapnel in all directions. Although the glass did not shatter, its trajectory was briefly interrupted by a young lady's head – the same young lady who unceremoniously forced me to vacate my original spot. The spot in which she now stood – bent over in obvious pain. She clamped a hand on top of her head and sobbed. Her evening's escort draped a soothing arm around her shoulders and guided her off into the darkened bar area, presumably downstairs for assistance. I never saw them again.

But, now, I could see the stage.

See what I saw...HERE.

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