Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Lobotomy Room DJ Set List at Fontaine's 29 March 2019

Fancy an evening of sex, liquor and degradation? Of course, you do!

Yes! Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly bizarre dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s most unique nite spot Fontaine’s! Friday 29 March!

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly booze party! Sensual and depraved! A spectacle of decadence! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Bad Music for Bad People! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted tittyshakers! Punk cretin hops! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and Other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell. Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock!

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it! A tawdry good time guaranteed!

It’s that time again! I fly to Las Vegas for the 22nd Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender tonight (16 April)! (I skipped 2018, so this is my first time since 2017. I've been attending off and on since 2003). And as per usual, I’m packing and un-packing and checking and re-checking everything in jittery OCD-style! One particular source of anxiety: I’m flying with Aeromexico – an airline I’d never even heard of until now! They depart from Heathrow and the agent at Flight Centre assures me they’re 100% legit! The flights in and out will be brutal with long stop-overs in Mexico City airport. (This is probably the closest I'll ever come to experiencing Mexico!). I’ll be glad to get the draining travelling stage over with. But I’m mostly looking forward to reunions with my American and Canadian friends (and drinking Mai Tais at Frankie’s Tiki Room!).

So, this blog post is a bit of a rush job to get the March 2019 Lobotomy Room scene report online before I split! You may have noticed there was no January 2019 scene report. To re-cap: the November and December 2018 club nights were pretty damn triumphant! Then the January 2019 club was absolutely catastrophic and soul-destroying (no one came! My worst fear was realized!). There wasn’t a February Lobotomy Room (the Bamboo Lounge was reserved for another event that night), so it felt like a lot was riding on the March 2019 club! Happily enough, we pulled a decent-sized crowd – and they were stylish, sexy and keen to drink, dance and carouse! Fingers crossed they return in April!

/ Hair hopper role model: the regal Wanda Jackson in the early 1960s /

One of the headliners at this year’s Viva Las Vegas was meant to be the truly great and much-loved 81-year old veteran First Lady of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson. Last time I saw Jackson perform, it was at the 2017 Viva Las Vegas. She was visibly frail and sang sitting down (and relied on a wheelchair offstage) but was still in ferocious raspy voice and radiated earth mother warmth and grit. It had been noted that Jackson – who still tours regularly – had recently begun cancelling engagements. Then in March her official social media page issued a statement confirming that after over sixty years of performing, Jackson is retiring for health reasons. I hope Wanda Jackson enjoys a serene well-earned retirement. I will treasure my memories of seeing her onstage over the years.  (I played her track “Mean, Mean Man” at this Lobotomy Room). Intriguingly, Jackson is currently recording a new album due out later this year - produced by Joan Jett! I wonder what that will sound like! 

/ Wanda Jackson and I in London in 2007 / 

In other news: in a cruel twist, we lost both King of Surf Guitar Dick Dale (4 March 1937 - 16 March 2019) and ineffably raunchy high priest of greasy rhythm and blues Andre Williams (1 November 1936 - 17 March 2019, aka “Mr Rhythm”) on the same weekend. Like most honkies of my generation, my introduction to Andre Williams came via The Cramps. The most famous song Williams ever wrote will always be soul standard “Shake a Tail Feather” (I’d argue Ike and Tina Turner’s version is the definitive!), but I particularly treasure his lewd and flamboyant low-life compositions like “Jail Bait”, “Bacon Fat”, “Sweet Little Pussycat” and “The Greasy Chicken.” He was a poet of the gutter! As The Guardian’s obituary concludes, Williams was “an innovator with a smile on his face and a hard-on in his pants.” Andre Williams was one suave fuck! (Rest assured I dropped Williams’ essential tittyshaker “Sweet Little Pussycat” at the March Lobotomy Room in tribute).

More recently, I was saddened to hear about the death of Angel Walker (18 September 1944 – 11 April 2019), aka fierce doyenne of exotic dance and veteran burlesque royalty Satan's Angel, the Devil's Own Mistress. I got to see Satan’s Angel perform and briefly meet and talk to her at Viva Las Vegas in 2010. She was great – a raspy-voiced, hard-boiled but sweet tough cookie and a true old-school, straight-talking broad. What a life and what a woman! A true ultra vixen! As a defiantly out-and-proud lesbian on the Mafia-ruled striptease circuit in the 1960s she endured her share of prejudice. (Apparently her female lovers included Hedy Lamarr and Janis Joplin!). Satan’s Angel also used to play bass in a topless all-girl rock’n’roll band called The Hummingbirds who did a residency at the nite spot Tipsy’s in San Francisco’s North Beach. (How Beyond the Valley of the Dolls / Russ Meyer-esque! Oh, for a time machine!). I would have loved to corner Walker with a tape recorder and get her to divulge all the juicy details of her life and career! At one point she spoke of writing her memoirs – I wonder if she ever completed them? I know a documentary was made about her in 2013. Satan’s Angel features prominently in Peaches’ 2015 video “I Mean Something” – a nice way to remember her. She will be missed.

/ Satan's Angel and I at Viva Las Vegas, 2010 /

Anyway, here's what I played at the March 2019 Lobotomy Room:

Prancing - Ike and Tina Turner
Little Queenie - Bill Black's Combo
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Love Potion # 9 - Nancy Sit
Road Runner - The 5,6,7,8s
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
Aw! Shucks Baby - Tiny Topsy
The Whip - The Frantics
Boss - The Rumblers
Let's Go Baby - Billy Eldridge
Breathless - Arlie Neaville
Jukebox Babe - Alan Vega
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Surf Rat - The Rumblers
Eight Ball - The Hustlers
I'm a Bad, Bad Girl - Little Esther
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Scorpion - The Carnations
Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramonetures
Woo-Hoo - The Rock-a-Teens
Love Me - The Phantom
Garbageman - The Cramps
I Don't Need You No More - The Rumblers
Riding with a Movie Star - L7
Cha Cha Twist - The Detroit Cobras
Breathless - X
Be Bop a Lula - Alan Vega
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Ring of Fire - The Earls of Suave
Mean Mean Man - Wanda Jackson
Wild Wild Party - Charlie Feathers
The Swag - Link Wray
Tornado - Dale Hawkins
One, Two, Let's Rock - Sugar Pie and Pee Wee
Little Girl - John and Jackie
Big Bounce - Shirley Caddell and The Aristocrats
Chicken Grabber - The Nite Hawks
Vesuvius - The Revels
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
Year 1 - X
Ultra Twist - The Cramps
96 Tears - Big Maybelle
How Does That Grab You Darlin'? - Nancy Sinatra
Beat Party - Ritchie and The Squires
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
A Fool in Love - Ike and Tina Turner
Wipe Out - The Surfaris
Pedro Pistolas Twist - Los Twisters
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
I'm Blue - The Ikettes
That's Life - Big Maybelle
One Night of Sin - Elvis Presley
I Love the Life I Live - Esquerita

You can hear the set list on Spotify here. I feel torn on whether to continue with these Spotify playlists. Spotify is a hideous, soulless corporation who rips-off musicians (although, to be fair, many of the artists I play are dead). I’m not sure how many people actually listen to these playlists and whether they help promote the club night in a meaningful way. And plenty of the songs I play aren’t even featured on Spotify, so the playlists are very approximate! We’ll see.

Remember: the next Lobotomy Room dance party downstairs at Fontaine’s is Friday 26 April 2019! Full squalid details here. 

Further reading: 

In August 2018 I spoke my brains to To Do List magazine about the wild, wild world of Lobotomy Room, the monthly cinema club – and my lonely one-man mission to return a bit of raunch, sleaze and “adult situations” to London’s nightlife! Read it - if you must - here. 

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