/ Gay Greasers Unite: Make new friends at Cockabilly /
2014 just got a whole lot sexier! In summer 2013 Cockabilly (London’s only monthly queer rockabilly night since 2008!) was graciously welcomed back to its ideal locale, the ultra-bohemian George and Dragon in London’s gritty East End, for a regular monthly Wednesday night residency. On 31 January 2014, the George and Dragon management bestowed on Cockabilly a much-coveted Friday night slot as a trial. And it was such a triumph it looks very likely we may well have the last Friday of the month as a regular thing!
Swapping a week night for a Friday night took Cockabilly to a whole other level. It was incredibly exciting to look down from the mezzanine-level DJ booth and see a whole sea of people swarming below. DJ’ing to a packed house is such a buzz it's almost erotic!
As an added bonus, Mal (the brains behind Cockabilly) wrangled a projector and screened Hairspray (the 1988 John Waters original, natch – not the 2007 re-make abomination starring John Travolta!) as a sort of atmospheric silent video installation against the wall. Once Hairspray finished, we stuck on my DVD of raunchy 1955 burlesque film Teaserama for extra sleaze appeal. Needless to say, the crowd was utterly mesmerised by the undulating hips and lingerie-clad striptease cavorting of Bettie Page and Tempest Storm. (One of the wonders of Teaserama is that no matter what music you’re playing, it looks like the strippers are dancing to it!). I've always wanted projections at my own club night Lobotomy Room but never managed to get the technology together; this Cockabilly demonstrated it really adds that something extra.
/ Girls! Girls! GIRLS! The gloriously trashy Teaserama /
And it’s got to be said – Mal and I rocked the freaking house! (We're normally a trio but Cockabilly’s other regular resident DJ Emma Peters was engaged that night with her exciting new gin palace pop-up venture. Read about it here). During my lager-fuelled set, I aimed to keep things frantic, emphasising white trash rockers with high-pitched desperate wailing voices (think “Whistle Bait” by The Collins Kids, Ronnie Dawson’s “Rockin’ Bones”, the orgasmic shrieking of "Little Boy" by Johnny and Jackie and The Sex Pistol's punk thrashing of "Rock Around the Clock"). Otherwise I whipped together punk (X), frat rock (The Fendermen, The Trashmen, The Readymen), John Waters soundtracks, surf, greasy rhythm and blues (give me Ike and Tina or give me death) and tittyshaking instrumentals. In other words, all your favourite rancid vintage musical classicks (sic)!
Special thanks to my friends Christopher, Eric, Paul, Dez, Simon and Charlie for coming. Things were too hectic and drunk for me to take any photos on the night – I’ll endeavor to next time.
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Deuces Wild - Link Wray
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Rip It Up - Little Richard
You're the One for Me - Wanda Jackson
Whistle Bait - The Collins Kids
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Dragon Walk - The Noblemen
Club Delight - Jack Jolly
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Salamander - Mamie Van Doren
Jungle Fever - Charlie Feathers
Where's My Money? Willie Jones
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Willie Joe - The Mystery Trio
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Little Boy - Johnny and Jackie
Breathless - X
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Ain't That Loving You, Baby - Elvis Presley
Stranger in My Own Hometown - The Earls of Suave
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Chicken - The Cramps
Chicken Shack - Ike and Tina Turner
Shout - Johnny Hallyday
Dance with Me, Henry - Ann-Margret
Boss - The Rumblers
Save It - Mel Robbins
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Vesuvius - The Revels
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Margaya - The Fender Four
Ah, Poor Little Baby - Billy "Crash" Craddock
The Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Sweetie Pie - Eddie Cochran
Rockin' Bones - Ronnie Dawson
Uptown to Harlem - Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia