Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Maxi Pads CD Release Party

When Katie, or KT as she refers to herself at times, emailed a couple of weeks ago to ask if I was interested in emceeing the Maxi Pads’ CD release party, I immediately agreed. You see, Katie, her bearded boyfriend Robbo, and a small group of folks have embraced me as the Ring Announcer for the KSWA ever since I stepped through the ropes in Lawrenceville more than two years ago. For that alone, they’ve earned my respect. I was honored to even be considered.
The gal I’ve always considered the “leader” of this clique of “cool kids” is an adorable little sprite named Nikki. Perhaps the first time we met, Nikki asked me to autograph her bare shoulder, all to the great excitement of La Lucha, the KSWA Megastar who was sitting nearby. Although “The Mayor of Mexico City” and I do not share a common verbal language, the future World Champion scrambled to give me a Sharpie pen. Of course I breathlessly obliged as Nikki has an exotic look that can best be described as Ohioan. It was my first autograph with the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. I’ve signed a few since, but none nearly as gratifying. People still enjoy the story.
Nikki was also on the card at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, a wonderful little venue for small bands or whoever else can perform on the tiny stage in the back of the bar. She’s a spoken-word poet with lightning-quick delivery. She’s also a prolific blogger and a talented scribe. I have great fondness for gals who can write well.
I didn’t know a lot about the Maxi Pads, but I have befriended them on Myspace and listened to a few of their songs on their site. “Halloweenie” quickly became a favorite, well because as Katie puts it: “It’s a song for all occasions.”
The group’s “JonBenet,” is a deep social commentary on John Mark Karr, the weirdo kook who grabbed international headlines by claiming that he indeed killed the child in 1996, despite the well-documented fact that he was across the country when forensics experts and other officials agreed that the murder took place. With lyrics like “I Killed JonBenet,” [pause], “Okay,” the Maxi Pads’ song has had them barred from at least one venue in town. But it’s also reportedly got some air play on respectable radio, so go figure.
Played live, “JonBenet” clocks in at 1:22 minutes. Solid.
I also fixed on emceeing the event because of Katie, another terrifically funny writer who laments the faults of Pittsburgh’s various sports teams, all the while peppering her everyday monotony with stories of gay cats and carrying said bearded Robbo around their apartment like a sack of potatoes. When I showed up, she was wearing a “Wonder Woman” blouse. Not a novelty T-Shirt, but a true woman’s shirt with cartoon drawings of the Amazon Princess all over. Katie assuredly is the kind of conversationalist that lightens up the Thanksgiving feast.
This was also the first time I got to really meet and talk with Robbo and the identically-bearded Joe, the Maxi Pads’ drummer who it turns out is Katie’s real-life cousin. Or at least that’s what I thought I heard. Both guys welcomed me like an old pal and thanked me profusely for adding to their little party. They were both also well-versed in KSWA lore and legend, having spent many a Saturday nights hissing at the King of Millvale Del Douglas, or cheering the aforementioned La Lucha.
I could talk all evening with all of these folks, but there was a CD release party to assemble.
Around the time I was talking to Robbo and Joe, I noticed another girl off to the side. I guessed that she was someone’s girlfriend, but body language told me otherwise. We were introduced but I couldn’t quite catch the name at first. Plus, I wasn’t really concentrating on the fact that the Maxi Pads is a trio, and I already knew two-thirds of the lineup. (More specifically on her later.)
As we talked, I heard someone call out my full name. In an instant I surmised that no one there who actually knew my given name would need to blurt it out in this environment. I spun to find Greg, a former co-worker from an area radio station. He had grown from a guy who worked in Master Control to an accomplished sales executive since I saw him last about a decade ago. He recognized my voice as I spoke to the Maxi Pads’ lead singer. I introduced Greg to my new friend Kacyn, barely confident in my pronunciation as it came out. After a moment or two, Kacyn stepped aside so I could get re-acquainted with my old friend. He’s supposed to look me up online, so perhaps we will be friendly again. It was a delight talking with Greg, as he’s a great guy. His band is scheduled for a performance at the same club in a few weeks. If I remember correctly, we shared an affinity with professional wrestling all those years ago. Soon after getting caught up, he was off, ready to meet his family.
I gravitated back to the Maxi Pads as Kacyn and I quickly prepared a “weights and home town” introduction for each of the five bands that were scheduled to perform. Sticking with the motif, I was to introduce everyone like a prize fighter, which of course I was most comfortable. We joked about a variety of things and she actually listened to me.
I hadn’t recognized Kacyn because she was unrecognizable from the Maxi Pads photos I had seen her in online. The resident Fergie to the early Black Eyed Peas, Kacyn’s redish/brownish mop largely obscures her face in band “action shots” or photos that were apparently taken from smoke detectors high above bathrooms; you’d simply see the part in her hair as she sat fully-clothed on the john, possibly with a Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hand. Contrast that to Stacy Ferguson, the blond “Peas” singer and dancer who in videos and commercials was exclusively shown in extreme quick cuts and far-off shots so blatant that you were convinced that she was either horrifically ugly or gruesomely deformed, but otherwise gifted with a kick-ass keyster.
Kacyn is no Fergie.
In the band’s “Return of the Maxi” publicity poster, Kacyn is doing her best Judah Friedlander impersonation, shouting while wearing a gimmicky trucker’s hat that might read “World Champion.” [Editor’s note: Joe’s head is superimposed over the bikini topped Princess Lei character and Katie’s floating noggin resembles Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker from the film exactly.] Only in the Viva El Maxi publicity poster that photoshops their heads onto King Ghidorah’s upper tripod do you get a true shot of Kacyn, but it’s still not the same.
Brilliant with an easy air, sophisticated sense of humor and quick smile, Kacyn is the anti-Fergie. In a perfect world, a guy would pull up his stakes and travel cross country in a beat-up Volkswagen van with Kacyn, ala “Little Miss Sunshine,” putrefying Alan Arkin optional. But alas, like every other halfway decent looker on the planet, she’s already attached with someone.
Kacyn did happily pose for a couple of souvenir pictures with me: all of which coincidentally make me look either hysterically deformed or dreadfully ugly. In the handful of years since the Black Eyed Peas have been famous, it’s been discovered that Fergie isn’t aesthetically bad, just a little C-list porn star is all. The kind of girl they’d bring out with Monique Alexander in the third reel, one half hour after you’d be asleep.
Soon the event was underway. Ohio’s Loft Co had the largest number of band members, so they scaled up at an impressive 1,264 lbs. Their first few numbers had promise, but a couple of forced screaming jags turned me back to Katie and other friends who were positioned at the front of the establishment. At one point you wanted to yell “More Cowbell!”
As I’ve detailed in blog-form before, I’m a music snob who doesn’t clinch much when it comes to tunes from any era; however, everyone seemed adroit at their own musical genre. In the grand scheme of things, it was all good. None of it was the “white noise” I had quietly feared.
Party Terrorists, from “right her in Da Burgh” tipped the scales at “Awesome.”
Nikki, hamstrung at “a 6-pack and two 40’s,” was accompanied by Robbo on beat box for an impromptu rap number. I generally detest spoken word poets as they are depicted on the latest HBO efforts. Angry, superior in intellect because of street credibility and various diversities, and did I mention angry, the stereotypical spoken word artist blasts the establishment and corporate America, (whilst showcasing the economic understanding of a thimble), and wonders why the federal artist grant money they’ve relied since crawling from the ghetto has dried up.
Anyhoo, Nikki was expert in her rapid-fire delivery, stopping only to distract the gabbers who were holding a loud conversation as she was trying to concentrate. Nikki can’t be lumped into the Def Poetry Jam drivel because she has depth beyond the crooked hat and bling bling. When I first greeted her Friday, she nearly teared up in pride when I asked about her brand new niece. Something tells me the Def Poetry Jam crew is too busy busting their employer’s chops and not voting while railing against anyone in office to attend christening ceremonies.
Kill the Fall, another group from Ohio, pimped free CD’s while the Maxis were releasing theirs for a scant $5 each. For that alone, they were the closest to the abovementioned white noise.
As Kill the Fall was on, I stood in the back as I get a little claustrophobic from time to time in those types of quarters. A young couple came in and was told to cough up the $5 entrance fee. The gal started rifling through her purse. The guy said, “I got it.” She said, “No, I’ll run to the ATM.” She disappeared into the Bloomfield darkness. I told Kacyn, “Nothing says, ‘You’re not getting any tonight’ like being rebuffed over a $5 admission charge. Or translation: every date I’ve ever been on in my life. But anyways…
Sirens ‘n Songbirds, from the glorious “Parts Unknown, Weight Unknown” were the classiest in their appreciation for the Maxi Pads. They pumped a fun set that was a little heavy on the shouting, but the crowd seemed to like it.
Next up was the trio known as the Maxi Pads. In my best Michael Buffer voice, I laid on all the works. Any band only has one debut album release party, so it’s only appropriate to go over the top.
The 415-lb., Bloomfield band jokes that they can get through their whole nine-song catalog in 15 minutes. Funny thing is they’re not that far off. They have fun.
Joe arrived first in his “Grandma” getup I’ve seen in pictures before. Almost simultaneously Katie and Kacyn arrived in prom dresses they claim to have found in Joe’s house. Katie’s white hand-written-in-red sash on white dress read “Miss America,” and Kacyn materialized in a black sequined number, the same one I think she was wearing in the bathroom picture from before. Katie and Kacyn said they were drunk.
They tore through their whole set in fine fashion. At one point early Kacyn turned up the amplifier. More than 12-hours later my ears were still ringing.
The crowd was boisterous and fun. “The thousands in attendance” was about right, despite physical space for only about 200 tops. The “millions watching at home” translated to a couple of people in the parking lot or passing by on foot.
For the Maxi Pads, this was Madison Square Garden or an open-air arena like the ones Bruce Springsteen played when people paid attention to his music.
All of the Maxis were in fine form. I was particularly impressed with Joe’s drumming expertise. Kacyn was damned fine (with the axe too), and Katie multitasked well with her own guitar skills and well-timed refrains.
Afterwards I got an autographed CD and a couple more souvenir photos. The band thanked me profusely, and I thanked them as it was a fabulous time.
When you get a chance, check out the Maxi Pads. They’ll tell you their not performing Beethoven or Brahms, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more fun band.


Post a Comment

<< Home