All posts by Christopher Arnott

Back in the Mines

My children have been on me to blog again, and they are right. I backed off from it a year and a half ago because my freelance work was getting overwhelming. Then I unexpectedly got a full-time writing job again, as staff theater reporter and critic for the Hartford Courant. The job is great, just great, but it’s funny doing just the one beat after decades of being an all-around arts writer at large. So blogging brings balance and discipline, distinct from work. Plus I just can’t help myself. Never stopped jotting down “Rock Gods” band names.

I won’t be doing this daily. But I’m back in blog.

Rock Gods #390: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

The General & His Primaries broke stride Thursday at the Bullfinch when the pesky clubland gadfly Professor Poopydrawers sauntered up to the front of the stage, as is his wont, and dropped trou. G&HP were unprepared for the ass-backward action, and you could see a range of emotions cross frontman Joey General’s face.

The Prof. is a blight on the scene and must be stopped. Few bands are equipped to deal with his  backsided onslaught, which is what gives him the nerve to continue. Some bands have laughed. Others have lectured Poopy from the stage. Still others have spent the rest of the set mentioning him their between-song patter. In every case, it’s a lamentable disruption.

Here’s how the General reacted: He jumped off the stage and  grabbed PP’s pants in such a way that the prankster was upended in a painful and embarrassing manner. The indignity was not over, as Gen proceeded to remove the pants altogether, run into the mens room with them and stuff them in the toilet.

Poopydrawers had no audible response to the comeuppance, and after retrieving his keys and wallet (yuck) crawled home with his tail between his (pantsless) legs.

Tonight: The Beachy Kids and The Derwins at The Bullfinch. There’s a rumor that BK’s side project Our Pretty Girl Dances Free may make an appearance… Druggy jams with Dogi Pot and Hi-Rail at Hamilton’s, which used to swear that they’d never cater to that element. … Pet Waste and Transmits Disease, both from the well-named Metal Filth label, at D’Ollaire’s. An infinite local metal marauders are apparently opening the show, though the club could provide no details. Do we detect one of those if-you-sell-enough-tickets-you-get-to-play schemes?

Riverdale Book Review

The Archie universe is unrecognizable from where it was just a couple of years ago. The regular monthly comics have been winnowed down to a few staples (Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica just joined by Josie & the Pussycats with Reggie upcoming), all of which have been rethought in long-form formats where there’s one single adventure going on with a “…to be continued” tag at the end.

The short stories still exist in the Archie digests, which are still plentiful. Some new material lands there, and on Archie’s digital platform. But the longserving artist/writer Fernando Ruiz has announced he’s leaving the company, and the overall tone of the digests has become more classic, more historical, befitting the 75th anniversary celebration of its red-headed hero.

Then there’s television, which is often the ultimate gamechanger. How long did the Adam West series cast a shadow over Batman, or George Reeves over Superman? “Riverdale,” now set to debut in January, is an hour-long ensemble show with drama and mystery elements.

I have remained a steadfast fan, but in comic terms, it’s like living in a different universe.

Scribblers Music Review

Drakulas, Raw Wave.

Listened because the band name was intoxicating, though the album title’s pretty dumb. Shouty, pitchy retro New Wave Punk, with the climbing guitar solos and rudimentary harmonies and sharp-stop finishes. “Sunny Tzu” seems pure Buzzcocks. I am of a certain age (56), so this brings me back to my college radio days. I can listen to it happily and freely. It makes me smile and even pogo a bit. But no matter how close this sounds to the production styles and alcohol-induced anti-authoritarian attitudes of the early ‘80s, a certain authenticity is naturally lacking. Drakulas are not actually vampires who lived through this era. They are just tasting its blood.

Rock Gods #389: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Saying is One Thing Paying is Another put its money where its mouth (and instruments) were, Thursday at the Bullfinch. The indie side project, which has eclipsed The Casterbridges band from which it grew, held a fundraiser for what the band calls “New Bold Ideas in Audio.” Simply put, they want some enterprising person to build them a new amp. (They’ve been borrowing one, and the owner’s moving several states away.) Presenting this as an intellectual and social challenge made for an innovative Finch gig. The between-song patter was a science-based pep talk. And by the end of it, seriously, a kid in the back of the room had run home and fetched an amp he’d been building for himself. It was experimented upon by the band in the alleyway behind the club after the show. Apparently there are kinks, but the wonders of Science prevailed, the universe has gained a new level of knowledge, and SiOTPiA has gained a new piece of equipment.

Tonight: CoCaLe—anagramatic for Couldn’t Care Less—don’t rehearse. In fact, they barely play. They just couldn’t… well, you know. Somehow they got a gig at Hamilton’s, home of slavish cover bands. This seems unmissable. … …except that’s there’s a “Frisk Fest” benefit at the Bullfinch to defray legal bills from a drug bust affecting a band whose lawyers would rather they weren’t making such a big deal of it. The show starts at 4 p.m. and features Dry Measure, Table of Paper, Capa City, W8, A Po and the Caries, Sir Face, Great Gross, 3 Knots and Perch of Stone. Yes, one of those bands got caught with dope. … No show at D’ollaire’s. Paying for its sins. …

Riverdale Book Review

The new Archie? So much to say. Not a botch. A workable new beginning. But I’m obsessed with shelf life. How long can any such reinvention last? We kind of know, thanks to the Archie “new look” series of a few years back, or the Life With Archie multiverse. A couple of years, probably, before the mix of drama and comedy gets consumed by the drama and continuity and loses the interest of anyone but the loyalest fans.

It’s not that I disapprove of bringing a classic character into the here-and-now. It’s just that I openly question something that works so well in short, colorful bursts and imposing such grand structure on it. Archie comics endured throughout the second half of the 20th generation in large part due to the comic ingenuity and rapidfire pacing of writers such as George Gladir and Frank Doyle and artists such as Stan Goldberg, Dan DeCarlo and Harry Lucey. This new Archie isn’t taking cues from them. It ought to, for longevity’s sake.