Saturday, October 1, 2016

Holland And Clark at Cheetahs Club, 9-30-16 Concert Review

Holland And Clark performing "I Only Have Eyes For You"
I’ve seen Holland Greco perform at some odd venues over the years. I remember seeing her with The Peak Show at an S&M club, people tied to a St. Andrew’s cross and whipped while the band played (that was a good night!). The Peak Show performed on the roof of a parking garage, in an art gallery, and other unusual places. And since that band’s break-up, Holland has found some equally interesting places to perform solo and with various incarnations of her band. Last night Holland And Clark played at Cheetahs Club in Hollywood. It’s a strip joint, where the women don’t actually strip. That is, they never get naked, but dance around wearing very little. It’s not exactly my thing, but no matter. What matters, of course, is the music. And when you’re talking about Holland Greco, the music is always excellent.

This was an interesting show, in that the song choices were mostly covers, and in fact Holland And Clark referred to themselves as Daddy And The Ladies for this show. Of course, a night of covers isn’t completely out of the norm for Holland. As Murdergram, she and her bandmates have done shows covering Misfits songs (and last night they did a few of those tunes). Holland shared lead vocal duties with other members of the band throughout the night. It was also, of course, an interesting show in as much as they shared the stage with dancers. There were two poles, one actually in the middle of the band, between Holland and the drum kit, the other at the far end of the stage. The dancers mostly left the first pole alone.

They opened the first set at 9:15 p.m. with a cover of “I Only Have Eyes For You,” a song that has been recorded by many artists over the years. Perhaps the most famous recording is that by The Flamingos in 1959. Those backing vocals always seemed weird to me. Supposedly they’re saying “Shabop shabop,” but it sounds like “Tabbum chabbum” to me. During this song, one of the dancers, Malice, attempted to use the pole in the middle of the band, rubbing her ass against it, and then against Holland for a moment. After that song, Holland said: “Thank you for having us. And thank you, Malice.” They then launched into “Be My Baby,” a song recorded by The Ronettes, with that famous drum beat by Hal Blaine. From that innocent-sounding song, the band went to the sexy “Bad Things,” with the main line being “I want to do bad things with you.” Oh yes!

There was a buzzing issue with Clark’s guitar for the first several songs, so after the instrumental “Surf Rider,” they took a very short break to switch things around, and the venue’s sound guy played some recorded music. They came back with “Rock With You,” following that with “Fool Around,” one of my favorites of the first set. They also did “Spooky” by Classics IV, changing the gender to a “spooky little boy like you.” Another highlight of the first set was “Deeper And Deeper,” a seriously good song from Deep Throat Part II. They ended the first set with a cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” Yes, the set list was full of surprises, as the band pulled tunes from various musical realms and times. Sometimes when the crowd cheered, it was for the band, and sometimes it was for a particularly acrobatic move by one of the dancers. And I might mention there is something really weird about watching some guy throw dollar bills in the general direction of a girl crawling around on the dance floor. The first set ended at precisely 10 p.m.

I was surprised by how many women were at the club, and they were just as eager as the men to throw their cash at the dancers. Lots of couples too.  I don’t think I could just toss money at a girl. I’d want to hand it to her. And before that, I’d want to get to know her a bit, her favorite band, her favorite movie, at least her real name. Yes, maybe I’m from another planet, but watching the women crawl around picking up the dollars after a dance made me feel depressed. I’m just glad I’m not paid that way. Just imagine, at the end of a long day on set, the producers toss dollar bills around the AD trailer and we PAs have to crawl around picking them up. Well, I suppose it’s no more humiliating than some of the stuff I’ve had to do.

At 10:45, Holland And Clark started the second set with “Down In Mexico,” and followed it with an excellent rendition of Eddie Floyd’s “Good Love, Bad Love,” with cool stuff on both keys and guitar. The band then did that Misfits material – “Vampira” and “Hollywood Babylon” – perfect as we head into Halloween month. It’s time to get our chills and thrills. Isn’t this the best time of the year? Listening to these tunes sure makes me think so.  And they followed those with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” And then they went in another surprising direction, from Prince to Tom Waits, with a cover of “Alice,” but with a slight alteration, making it a sort of tribute to Malice. And Malice danced during the song.

“It’s All About You” featured some really nice blending of vocals. And before “Addicted To Love,” Holland said, “This is for all you lovers out there.” “Addicted To Love” is not one of my favorite songs. I tend to get bored halfway through the original version, but actually really enjoyed what this group did with it. They breathed some life into that old lizard. But I was more excited to hear the song that followed it, “100 Proof,” a Holland Greco original.  Another guy was excited too, and kept throwing money at the band, but dollar bills don’t travel very far through the air. Holland And Clark ended the set with another Misfits tune, “Die Die My Darling,” followed by “After Dark.” The show ended at 11:45 p.m. (Weird that this show seemed to be carefully timed, right? First set was from 9:15 to 10:00, and the second set was from 10:45 to 11:45, exactly.)

Set List

Set I
  1. I Only Have Eyes For You
  2. Be My Baby
  3. Bad Things
  4. Surf Rider
  5. Rock With You
  6. Fool Around
  7. The Rumble
  8. As Long As I’ve Got You
  9. Spooky
  10. Deeper And Deeper
  11. Baby Got Back
Set II
  1. Down In Mexico
  2. Good Love, Bad Love
  3. Vampira
  4. Hollywood Babylon
  5. Let’s Go Crazy
  6. Alice
  7. It’s All About You
  8. Glory Box
  9. No Diggity
  10. Addicted To Love
  11. 100 Proof
  12. There Is An End
  13. Die Die My Darling
  14. After Dark
The stage wasn’t all that well lit, so most of the photos I took just didn’t work. Before the show, I asked the sound guy about focusing some of the lights on the part of the stage where the band would be. He told me the lights just did what they did, that there was no way to control them. I’ve never in my life heard of stage lights that are beyond human control. How did those lights even get up there? Perhaps they were born there. Anyway, dark or not, here are a few photos from the night (after all, What Is Dark?):

"Be My Baby"
"Bad Things"
"Deeper And Deeper"
"Hollywood Babylon"
"Let's Go Crazy"
"Alice" (or, in this case, "Malice")
Cheetahs Club is located at 4600 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles.

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