Have we mentioned lately that we’re total poetry dorks lately? That’s right, behind all of this snark beats the sensitive heart of a poem gnome. It’s true! We even drove as far as Cookeville to see some dudes read some words in a verse-like fashion. But the trouble with being poetry fans is that for the most part, poetry tends to be flowery middle-aged pap or dreadful teenage garbage. Sorry Robert Frost, that’s just the truth of the matter. It’s hard to find a happy medium, especially when you find yourself trapped at amateur hour in a coffee shop.

However! If there’s one thing we can get behind, it’s poetry in a bar. Especially if it’s in a shitkicking dive bar like Dino’s.

Poetry Sucks is having their inaugural night of poetry and (because it’s utterly inescapable here) music at Dino’s tonight at 8 p.m. The monthly event is meant to be, at least in some small way, monthly successor to the Thursday night bar entertainment crown vacated by Hate Life Thursdays. But where it lacks in hip Third Man approved DJing, it makes up in readings by UC Denver professor Jake Adam York and local bartender Dave Brown. Unlike those open mics, this thing is curated for maximum quality. Finally!

As you are well aware, Dino’s is on Gallatin Rd. next to 308 in East Nashville. There’s no cover, but Dino’s doesn’t have a credit card machine so you’ll need to bring cash.

It’s 5:45 p.m. on a Sunday and we’ve made a terrible mistake.

We’re in a parking lot on Lower Broadway, somewhere between the riverfront and a Joe’s Crab Shack that looks like it was irradiated with jauntiness. Consigned to the shameful act of paying for parking, we’re mere moments away from forking over $10 for a parking ticket when we hear someone shout “Stop! Don’t do that!” from across the street. A menacing looking dude marches over to us from across the street, waving his arms, desperate to keep us from swiping our credit card like the machine is armed to blow. When he reaches us, the man produces a fistful of parking passes, offering to sell one to us for $5. Without really knowing what was happening, we give him $3 and a Bongo Java receipt in exchange for a parking ticket set to expire in 30 minutes and he takes off.

That, friends, is how our night on a ghost tour in downtown Nashville started.

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We’ve got one more 8 Off 8th preview in store for you, just incase the tantalizing promise of seeing eight bands play for free hasn’t quite grabbed you yet. That’s right, you’re going to have to deal with us pimping our event one more time. Just to reiterate: deal with it. Also, we’re bringing candy. And we’re intentionally pissing off spirits to make them haunt the shit out of Mercy Lounge. Get ready!

Shaboi

New school genre-spanning Halloween goodness, has a rap song about zombies
Likely Greatest Fear: Ever seen Night of the Comet? Probably that.

Bummer (Playing The Misfits)

Members of Diarrhea Planet in a Black Flag costume, probably more punk than you
Likely Greatest Fear: Zombie Tiger Army fans, all wearing leather jackets reading “Punk’s Not Undead”

Fake Brad

Game Boy beats, the dance party light at the end of the tunnel
Likely Greatest Fear: His cousin saving over his game of Final Fantasy 7

The Greater Good
“My Goodness”
Hip-Hop in the vein of Del the Funkee Homosapien, doper than the other MC across town
Likely Greatest Fear: Vampire 2Pac

There you have it. Doors open around 8, show starts around 9. We can already tell you that that the Misfits cover band is going first and you’re going to want to see that shit. Of course it’s 21+ and free. Also, drink specials!

You’re probably all sick and tired of hearing us yammer on about our 8 Off 8th. Well, tough. You’re gonna have to put up with it for another few days. Especially because we spent $50 on rubber bats and plastic cauldrons last night at Party City in Madison and we’re determined to not look like fools. Since there’s a scant 4 days until Halloween, we’d like to get y’all acquainted with some of the bands playing Mercy Lounge on Monday (9 p.m., free, 21+), just in case you’re not already sold on this thing yet:

How I Became the Bomb

The ostensible headlining dukes of synth pop, and Halloween party animals.
Likely Greatest Fear: Robot uprisings, John Oates’ mustache gaining sentience (Idle Hands style)

Lylas

Nashville’s original Halloween band, the best funeral folk you’ll ever hear
Likely Greatest Fear:  Witches, haunted houses, witches in haunted houses

Bows & Arrows

Shoegaze pop straight out of MTSU, briefly considered playing a Jesus & Mary Chain cover set
Likely Greatest Fear: What’s really going on in Murfreesboro’s giant bucket

Casa Castile

Gorgeous ghost pop pulled from the brain of Andrew Nabuco
Likely Greatest Fear: Zombie Abraham Lincoln and Zombie John Wilkes Booth in a brawl for the ages

What else are you going to do? Go see Pretty Lights? Wait, no! Stop buying those Pretty Lights tickets! Come back tomorrow for four more bands.

As much as we love Halloween, we’re big ol’ scaredypants babies about haunted houses. We don’t know what it is about us, but we don’t have a fine appreciation for bros armed with chainsaws jumping out at us from the darkness. We’re even less down with paying $15 or more for the pleasure of being scared by the Halloween seasonal equivalent of the mall Santa. You know what we are down for though? The ridiculous commercials that these houses of horror produce to entice would-be haunted housers into their particular zombie maze and away from, say, Devil’s Dungeon.

If you’re a discerning haunted house fan, perhaps you’ll find this collection of haunted housery useful.

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“Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on Oct. 21.”

—Good news, true believers! Rapture guy says we’re totally going to get raptured today. For real this time. Feel free to throw another rapture party.

One fateful Fourth of July, following a failed attempt to watch the fireworks from Love Circle during a westward wind, an ambitious and gracious triple-drag-Frank-N-Furter-as-the-Statue-of Liberty popped my cherry, and to put it lightly, I was infected. (No, it wasn’t the herp.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show bug took its toll on my life, and less than four months later I was hosting my own RHPS “live experience” at the Backdoor Playhouse in Cookeville (yes, we get the homoeroticism there; In fact, I like to think we celebrate it).

Criterion Pictures owns the rights to screen Rocky Horror, and the price seems to increase yearly. The last I booked it, the going rate was $400. Chances are that if you’re trying to book Rocky Horror at a small school in Cookeville, you don’t have have $400.

But, in a true “Dixie Downturn” spirit, I found that through writing a short paragraph or delivering a brief speech at a student government spending meeting I could pass that bill along to an entity with a few more dollars than me: my University. In our inaugural year we went a little overboard with marketing, which led us to break fire codes and turn people away. Apparently the name sells itself to such an extent that small capacity theatres require at least a two-night run and pre-show ticketing. But through the clusterfucks and catastrophes, I picked up a few tips for those who dare to host their own Rocky Horror Picture Show:

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Two weeks ago, we found ourselves at the fanciest party Nashville has to offer. Well, the fanciest party Nashville has to offer that doesn’t require a thumbprint scan and being in the same room as John Rich. Like our pal Seth Graves before us, when presented with the opportunity of an open bar and free food, we’re determined to get the absolute most out of it (even if we do spend part of the night paralyzed with indecision).

Though we wrote these tips with our specific experience in mind, you could probably apply them to the next time you’re at a SoundLand VIP party/wedding reception/bar mitzvah. Just stay cool and keep your eyes on the prize (the prize in this instance is barbecue).

Use the Valet Parking — If You Can Find It

If the party is offering valet parking, get on that. Don’t worry, the valets won’t judge you too harshly for driving a $900 piece of crap that’s littered with fast food receipts and has a mix you made for an ex stuck in the CD player. It’s cool, bro, we’ve all been there. On the other hand, if you can’t navigate the catacombs of barricaded roads and one-way streets to find your way to valet, you’re not too good for street parking just because someone wrote 75 pleasant words about your blog. Just don’t forget where you left your car. This is crucial.

Don’t Get Distracted by the Entertainment

Don’t get us wrong, we respect the many, many people who make up Nashville cover band supergroups (well maybe not The Aught Nots [jk, you guys are alright!]) but when given an option to watch the local rock & roll elite jam out to a Cyndi Lauper song or cramming ourselves full of delicious food, we’re gonna pick food every time. The fact of the matter is that you know Guilty Pleasures will be there all night, but you don’t know how long it’ll take before the hordes eat everything that the fancy yet undersupplied Italian restaurant has got to offer.

Pace Yourself

What could possibly go wrong with a gigantic tent lined with wall to wall food and endless (well, six) superhero themed cocktails? Vomiting in a chocolate fountain, that’s what.

Following up a bacon cupcake with oyster lo mien while drinking a vodka/Orange Crush concoction may sound like some classy hotness while it’s going down, but we promise you’re going to regret it. Especially when you’re feeling so disgusting that you’re forced to trade out that impressive spread of free food and booze for woefully sitting alone on a stoop, watching George Michael covers.

We suggest taking breaks. Or maybe not eating everything in sight, no matter how badly you need stale tortilla chips from the Calypso Cafe for the thousandth time. You have a choice: watch the Belmont Bruin do the Macarena to “Father Figure” while your stomach mutinys… or enjoy your evening. Decision’s yours, friends.

Choose Your Bartenders Wisely

You got your drink tickets on the way in, right? Good! Time to cash those suckers in. The lines are going to be long, but before you hop in one, take a minute to observe the bartenders. See if they’re referring back to the vodka stained recipe sheet constantly before you decide to ask them to make you a Grape Ape (that’s grape vodka and grape juice and possibly something else). You may find yourself drinking grape vodka and gingerale, which is about as foul as one would expect.

If you’re already in line and too deep to get out, don’t be afraid to abandon the idea that you’re going to be drinking one of the absurdly named mixed drinks. There’s no shame in just drinking a beer.

Stick Around Until the Bitter End

Speaking of drinking a beer, if you burn through your drink tickets (as you should), the bartenders cease to care about the ticket-based party economy as the party is wrapping up and vendors are tearing down. We all know that the bartenders don’t really want to pack up and carry out that nearly empty bottle of cherry-flavored vodka. Why not take it off their hands? Why not swipe a display beer off the table while no one’s looking? Maybe it’s gauche but at this point, but if you did it right, you should be crammed so full of free food and booze that you’ve lost all sense of decorum.

This works for other vendors too. By the end of the night, one of our companions got an entire sub from Jersey Mike’s. Another came away with basically an entire box of CSA vegetables. If you play your cards right, you’ll be living large on free food through the weekend. It’s like dumpster diving, except without the paralyzing shame that comes along with the dumpster part of that equation!

Don’t Be Afraid to Fly Solo

Just because your invitation says you can bring a guest doesn’t mean it’s required. In fact, maybe you’re better off wandering aimlessly. If we had a date, maybe we wouldn’t have had a drunken conversation about Tom Scharpling with the singer for The Ettes. The social contract can be kind of a B, y’all. That other person is probably just going to slow you down anyway. To hell with companionship! Your goal is to party and party you shall. Just don’t forget to call a cab if you couldn’t con anyone into being your designated driver.

Spotted in the wilds of Music Row, Squidly Diddly and his spectral buddy are tucked away somewhere between 17th Avenue and Pizza Perfect. Or, at least, we’re assuming they’re buddies. It’s entirely possible that they’re bitter enemies locked in a deathmatch with no end (as they are on different garage doors). Ghosts are, after all, natural enemies to cephalopods. But you already knew that from science class.

// Photo by Lance Conzett.

We never got quite all the way on the R.E.M. speedwagon, but even we can acknowledge that, in their time, they were a band that meant a great deal to people. We can tell because when they announced their break up in September, all of our Facebook friends were losing their collective shit over Michael Stipe no longer Michael Stiping around as the singer for Athens’ favorite sons. And for good reason! R.E.M. were alt. rock pioneers in the days when “alt. rock” meant something. We’ve been told those days were called “the 90s” and they sound magical.

If you’re not quite done lamenting the fact that you’ll never hear “Losing My Religion” again (and by “never” we mean “maybe 5 years until they reunite”), hear it tonight coming out of the mouths of local bands! Tonight’s 8 Off 8th at Mercy Lounge is an all R.E.M. tribute, featuring the following bands:

The Stateside Menace
Emily DeLoach
Ugli Stick
It Crawled From the South
Mayhem
Tom Schreck
Kyle Christopher
Black River Falls

They’ll, collectively, play 24 different R.E.M. songs including the hits and some songs we don’t recognize (basically all of the songs that aren’t “the hits”). Show starts at 9 p.m., as always it’s free and beer specials are offered.