Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chaser's: Biker Bar Hosts Post Punk Band

So last Saturday I went to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival.

I don't know what happened to Deep Ellum. I was never there.

I heard about it when it was cool. Back when I was in highschool, (and if your curious about my age, I have now voted in three presidential elections).

I certainly have acquired a couple of my own Deep Ellum stories, like when my buddy played the Dark Side Cafe and got into a fist fight with the lead singer of his band and the sound guy. The band in question was Johnny Handgun. I make no apologies for this band, in general. Two digit IQs annoy me.

I can also talk about the time my band Plague of Locusts played the sand bar to a crowd of unamused patrons who were there to see the local band Terms of Grey.

I love the Deep Ellum Cafe Brazil. Its comfortable. The punk rock wait staff make me feel like I am a greek god surrounded by punk rock cherubs.

But it seems that I can't afford Deep Ellum bars. At least not the way I like to go to bars, which is frequently. Deep Ellum bars are for people who go out on friday night happy to spend $100 by Monday morning. Fuck that!

See part of this here Metroplexian blog is that I am a cheapskate. I serve the DFW folks who either can't or won't spend $100 on entertainment every weekend. People like that make me entertain robbery, or at least envy.

The Deep Ellum Arts festival had more "crafts" to offer then real art. All in all it was disappointing. My favorite scores of the day included some live improv music which consisted of citars and other awesome instruments of the eastern adepts, and a visual show by my beloved white rabbit: Thor!

We also allowed ourselves, by morbid curiosity, to be seduced into a little house which existed only to advertise Camel products. Camels, as in Camel cigarettes.

You had to stand in line to get into the Camel booth, and you had to get carded and confess to being a smoker. I only smoke about a pack of cigarettes a month, but for this occasion I swore loyalty to big tobacco and felt like I was in line to see a bearded woman, or some midgets perhaps. We hoped that Joe Camel awaited with his phallic face in a carny get up.

Much of my crew swore allegiance to cigarette smoking and we went in. We were instantly peddled Snus, the disgusting tobacco pouches that Camel is now peddling and photographed with the pretty and scantily clad camel girls.

My final trophy of the Deep Ellum arts festival was a Dallas Observer lighter which had a bottle opener on it. The Observer truly knows its audience: drink, smoke, read the Observer.

Then an adventure was offered up. We had to go see the band Bipolar Express at the biker bar Chaser's.

Chaser's was definitely worth the experience. As someone who has kind of grown up on the outskirts of biker culture, I was very very stoked on this little bar.

When you go in there are portraits of bikers all over the walls. Offensive statements like : "Welcome to America, Now Speak English!" among others are also posted on the walls. And the Confederate flag was definitely preferred to the American flag. Though, this is one of those cases when the patrons probably associate the Rebel Flag more with the Dukes of Hazzard and Lynyrd Skynyrd than they do slavery and the oppression of black people.

The photos, upon closer inspection, were all portraits of members of the Scorpions. Dallas's own biker club. Internet research on the Scorpions is sketchy. They are definitely no Hell's Angels or Banditos, but they seem to be the real deal. As in, if you fuck with one you will get your bones broken.

I stood in line for my tab behind two very macho biker dudes, I fantasized about my life as a Scorpions prospect, and hid my credit card with a kitten on it (lest they think I was soft).

The bartender was friendly, charming, and had a personality you would expect from FX's Sons of Anarchy.

Then the band arrives. It is hard to describe the Bipolar Express. Its not like these guys wear matching outfits or anything, but they did stand in stark contrast to the rest of the bar which was wearing matching outfits. Biker gear!

They acted like they were at home and so did we. Then their friends became more and more apparent, again, identifiable by the lack of biker gear.

Then they played.

It was like the Jesus Lizard's long lost bastard son. Deep post punk influence. But not too proud to cover the Velvet Underground, and cover it well.

My only complaint is that the bands break was longer then the set had been up to that point, but they made up for it by being extremely friendly. And their crew jumped right on in. This is a particularly nice treat for me, since I am trying to escape the feeling of always being an outsider in this town.

In my home town the whole indy scene knows me and I have a lot of friends. I miss it, but I know there are awesome people here too and bands like Bipolar Express prove my theory.

The breaks end with what the band calls a "Safety Meeting" which consists of all the band members going to one car and returning relaxed and amused.

They must have been praying.

The finale is strong. I am lured out to the front by a local, though the crowd had thinned. One of the bar's regulars, toothless and leatherfaced, joined us on the floor. Possessed by the spirit of rock. The band beckoned that she give one of their friends a leathery hug. It was beautiful.

Then the show ended and info was exchanged.

Tab for two, less than $20.

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