eye (2006-16)

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Girls on Skates!

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I, Audience

Girls on Skates!

The girls typically wear skimpy outfits; short shorts or skirts, sports bra tops, and some sort of hoserie. “People think the outfits are just designed to be sexy, and they do play up that aspect of it, but it also gets hot as hell out there, and the hose protect them from floor burns,” says Harris. The danger factor is what intrigues many of the girls, who might have been raised on more ladylike sports such as tennis, or in Jennifer Browning ’s case, ballet. “I thought Knoxville needed something for women to do that was a little more extreme,” says Browning.

This Thursday night, the Electric Ballroom will host a fundraiser for girls who still need skates and pads. The show features Leslie Woods & Dark Mountain Orchid , Twinkie Bots , Vinyl Season , The Bad Dudes , Mitch Rutman Group and Finding Phoenix . If you don’t come out and show your support, these girls might not make enough money to live out their dreams of beating each other senseless in the exhibition games they have scheduled for the spring. Browning’s comment on peoples’ reactions, though, should be more than enough to convince you: “I hear people say, ‘Wow! Chicks in skates, that’s hot! Chicks slamming into each other, that’s even hotter.’”

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“Futile!” the crowd roared. It was Thursday night and a sparsely populated Pilot Light housed drunks who just didn’t give a damn.

Umbrella’s unlike any other band in these parts, more performance art than music. They don’t really have songs, not in any traditional sense of the word. It’s more like sounds, somehow discernible as something other than pure noise, but melody has never been the point for these guys. Their set felt like a night at the improv, as their Buddha-bellied lead singer ate and drank himself silly, like a boozy Roman at a vomitorium, bingeing and purging ad libitum, washing down hardy chugs of rot-gut whiskey with 2-liters of A&W cream soda.

But this kind of gluttony, laid prostrate before a makeshift altar to Dionysus with a raging metal backbeat, wasn’t wholly selfish. When Umbrella’s on stage, no one misses out on the debauchery. They crushed apples on their heads, offering the obliterated pieces to only the drunkest of fans; they scooped large hunks of take-out Mexican food with their hands, slowly mixing a taco salad into a brownish pulp for all to share. Then, there were cigarettes, causing nicotine fiends to temporally lose themselves in a smoky dithyramb, all while an acrid tinge of body odor wafted throughout the room.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, Will Fist , with his signature late-night beery swagger, mentioned that he’s decided to take Metro Pulse ’s advice and run for Mayor as a write in candidate. So, help him out at the polls. His name is pretty easy to spell.

The oddities didn’t end with the blitzed brains of Umbrella. On Saturday night, everyone wanted to be Mike Patton. Ho-Ag , a delightfully quirky band from Boston that’s apt to plagiarize Thomas Pynchon in its press releases, had us all wondering what the hell “sci-fi transcendentalism” means. We still don’t know. Neptune , another Boston Patton-esque band, then came onstage with some homemade instruments and a slathering of electronic fuzz, the kind of miasmic noise-clutter that’ll get you brainsickly if you don’t have a few Schlitz’s under your belt.

All the freaky music lovers were there, including Leslie , an aging Pilot Light regular who showed up with his jam box and asked if he could play, too. His style was, well, unpolished, occasionally throwing random James Brown lyrics over his monotonous preset drumbeat. He had the liquid courage, enough to keep him talking until Ben Oyler , frontman of local thrash jazz group The Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight , finally ended the wino’s hollers with a forceful “No!” Keep that primal Mr. Bungle energy alive. Kudos.

© 2006 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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