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Time to rant! Yeah, I know it’s sooo boring when one ‘zine disses another, but I just gotta say something about the demo review policy of at least one well-known “entertainment” site out there on the web. Not only do they insist that a band have a minimum number of songs on their demo to even be considered, but then they have the balls to charge that band money for a few half-assed words that more often then not say less than nothing about the music. Oh, if you want a pic included, toss in a few more bucks, kids. Hundreds of bands are listed on the site’s review archives. Why, oh why do young (and not so young) groups keep falling for this crap? It’s nothing new. I think it all started in the early days of punk, when bands were so desperate for any gig they would play for free. Yeah so you thought you got a “real” gig, but eventually that turned into clubs charging bands to play their venues or forcing them to sell tickets for them. Paying to play continues. I always thought that bands (talented or not) who supported that system were friggin’ scabs who deserved a lifetime of obscurity. Not much better are the New This or New That Music Festivals that bilk hundreds of bucks from bands to participate in their events even though they’re charging fans even more hundreds of bucks to see those bands. But, at least you might get written about (rock journos gotta pay back their freebies) and there’s a possibility that someone of note will actually see you play. Even if that someone most likely will be the intern of an assistant A & R go-fer who got turned onto a free pass for being good in bed. Enough! Figure it out. The business end of this thing is frustrating, but if you got the cajones to play out often enough in NYC, in time you’ll get noticed. And, if you think you’re talented then you shouldn’t have to pay for shit . Otherwise you look like a loser. End of rant.

Despite the major spike in drink prices that bars needed to impose in order to survive Mayor Mike’s smoking ban in rock clubs, I still had a fun time bar-hopping. It seems like the best party may be out on the street with the rest of the nicotine addicts (what happens when Winter hits?), but yeah, I managed to check out some pretty cool bands:
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Jon Bon Rizzak along with Eddie Van Rizzak crack the whip at a recent Luna Lounge show
Spicy Rizzaks

Whoa!! The Spicy Rizzaks come on strong. The ’77 punk influence is definitely happening here with rhythms chuggin’ along like the Ramones and early Clash, but with a bit of the dark humor of the NY Dolls and the Misfits thrown in. But this ain’t a one trick pony. They also dish out a bit of 50s style punkabilly and other weird stuff. Frankly, they scared me. That is until I realized they were kinda putting us all on (Duh!). Following the lead of the Ramones, the band members have all adopted the same surname – so you’ve got lead singer Jon Bon Rizzak, guitarist Eddie Van Rizzak and Bootsy and Ringo Rizzak on bass and drums. The Spicy Rizzaks were formed on the Lower East Side a couple years ago. They’ve toured the East and West Coast and got an EP out, Actually, No … This Is It!, that features songs with titles like “Crack The Whip,” “Action Slacks” and “Mudflap Girl.”

Usually, I have a problem with 'humorous' bands (if I wanted to see a bunch of clowns, I’d go to a comedy spot not a rock club), but the Rizzaks play real good and they kick it. Live, “Crack The Whip” is a gritty, biting rocker with Eddie Van finger-pickin’ some cool and cruel notes out of his SG and John Bon stalking the stage with his brash and boisterous rap. Ya can’t help but love it. The Spicys also have been known to perform with a full horn section – featuring Dizzy Rizzak on trumpet and Sonny Trombono Rizzak on the ‘bone. Look out!

Southview is a pretty straight ahead punk 'n roll group with the emphasis definitely on punk. On the night I caught 'em at the Luna Lounge they even had a guest vocalist step up to the mic to keep things jumping. "Within Arms Length" and "Fifth Year Goodbye" are early-Clash style rockers, though both tunes dipped into kinda introspective moments - but not enough to make things boring. Southview served up a well-paced set that covered most of the stuff off their current release (The Leaving Town EP) and more.

"....And A New York City Dream" slowed the tempo (though not the mood) a bit and along with the subdued intro into "Long Distance Let Down" gave all a chance to catch their breath before Southview closed it out with a hard-core style finish, then kicked back into the rockers. This is a fairly new band and one we'll keep an eye on.
The Head Set

The Head Set is a very heady and heavy band fronted by the serpentine Jordan Blaugrund. What drama! His lyrics are dark and delivered in a poetic style. This is almost too much Doom and Gloom for a club setting like the Luna Lounge, but the band (Brett Sherman on bass, guitarist Eliot Wadsworth and Michael Blaugrund on drums) keeps everything tight and bright for an entertaining and moving set.

They’ve been compared to Squeeze and The Wondestuff and the Head Set have an EP out (their second) titled
Ask Her Twice that contains eight songs including “Paper,” “Golden Rule,” “Problematique” and “A Regular Bonnie & Clyde.”