Music on the Strip—Further cementing the sacred bond between musicians and strip clubs (as the memoirs of any aging buttrocker with teased hair will attest), you can get live music at the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club (1645 University NE) every week now. The California-based strip club started booking Albuquerque bands back in April of this year, and the music has held up every Monday night since. British punkers The Geezers even popped in for a May 7 show. What the hell?
James Bays, general manager of the Albuquerque club, says this is the only Spearmint Rhino he's aware of that hosts local music. Bays explains he used to book entertainment at other night clubs in Arizona. After moving to Albuquerque, he found there was a painful lack of things to do on Monday nights, so he pitched his idea to corporate headquarters and bada bing—Spearmint Rhino is another viable place to see local bands play.
Now, don't get the wrong idea. You won't see topless dancers grinding to The Dirty Novels (they've played there three times already, sly dogs). The concerts are held upstairs in an area that's separated from the dancing. Then again, the girls are "welcome to come up and watch," explains another club employee. Who knows? Strippers might start throwing all their money away on musicians, for a change. Here's a list of the summer's upcoming shows:
Monday, July 9—Haddonfield
Monday, July 16—Deceitful Wishes
Monday, July 23—Lucid Illusion
Monday, July 30—Requiem Mass
Monday, Aug. 6—RoughHouse
Monday, Aug. 13—3 Hole Punch
Monday, Aug. 20—Obscene Jesters
Monday, Aug. 27—Perverted Virtue
Monday, Sept. 3—Meat The Vegans
Shows start around 9 p.m. and are, of course, 21+. Monday night is also the club's Service Industry/Auto Dealership Night, which bestows some kind of discount or free admission on working stiffs. If your band is interested in playing the Spearmint Rhino, call James Bays at 243-3199 for details.
Joanie Griffin and Combo Special CD Release—Joanie Griffin and Combo Special's blend of jazz, blues and soul has made them a longtime casino/lounge/restaurant favorite around these parts. The group's exceptional friendliness hasn't hurt them, either. Combo Special's keyboardist, Larry Freedman, has called me every week for the last three years to put their gig listings in the paper, crack a few jokes and do a little catching up—a welcome anomaly in a business that's become a little too computerized.
The group's new It Is What It Is album features Combo Special with a great lineup of guest appearances—Ed Schultz, Randy Clark, Chuck Coulter, Robb Janov and Tommy Elskes (supposedly on spoons, though that may be one of Larry's little jokes). Come see what all the fuss is about at Combo Special's CD release party this Sunday, July 8, at Puccini's Golden West Saloon from 4-9 p.m.