Scene & Herd - Suturehead

And gratuitous nudity

The Futureheads, my favorite new rock band since approximately forever, played at the Loft in Midtown last Wednesday. The quartet's 20-song set was a pop-punk blast. Let me be clear: When I say pop punk, I'm not talking about crap like Green Day or Good Charlotte. The Futureheads play the good stuff. For the music geeks among you who haven't heard them, imagine Drums and Wires-era XTC covering the Jam. It was 45 thrilling minutes of stabbing guitar riffs, jagged, intricate rhythms, and great harmony singing.

But you don't read this column for in-depth music reviews, I know. You read it for amusing anecdotes. Here's one for you: I almost got into a fistfight at the show. Near the end of the band's set, a spastic idiot in a green cardigan who'd been annoying people near the front of the stage with his enthusiastic elbow dancing decided it'd be fun to stage dive. He landed on my head. I didn't see him coming because I was looking down buttoning one of my pockets. Cardigan boy knocked me on my ass. When I got up, he muttered something like, "It was all in good fun," which prompted me to grab him by the cardigan and take him to the floor. I was about to punch him in the face, but I stopped before raising my fist. With everyone staring, I felt embarrassed. Also, I haven't been in a fight since I was 12, so my "punch hapless jerk in the face" instincts were clearly atrophied.

At that point, Futureheads singer Barry Hyde yelled, "Stop." I thought he was talking to me, so I looked up. He was actually talking to the rest of the band, who, at his request, stopped playing. Hyde looked at me and asked if I was OK. "I'm fine," I said. Then he mocked cardigan boy. He called him foolish for stage-diving into the person he described as "the meanest looking guy" in the room. I've never considered myself particularly mean-looking, but I was pissed off, so I suppose I looked meaner than usual. Besides, most of the fans as close to the stage as I was were 10 years younger and 50 pounds lighter, so if you're gonna pick a guy to jump on based solely on physical appearance, I was indeed a careless pick.

Anyway, cardigan boy wandered off (not sure where) and the show continued. After they started playing again, somebody turned to me and shook my hand. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was for putting cardigan boy on the floor. Maybe it was resisting the urge to punch him. The band didn't mention the incident again until the end of the show. Before the final encore, the band's other guitarist looked at me and said, "Sorry about your head," which I appreciated.

The Futureheads. The band that rocks. The band that cares.

Striptease with a difference: Everyone who knows me knows how much I love the thrill of competition. That's why I made sure I had excellent seats for Saturday night's Exotic Dancing National Championships at the Pink Pony.The Masters Division final on Saturday pitted five women against one another. First up was Claudia Monet. Her performance was, by far, the most energetic. She walked out clad in black leather and did a striptease that looked like something from an imagined secret director's cut of Coyote Ugly.

For the second half of her performance, a plastic sheet was placed on the stage. Monet then produced a clear plastic squeeze bottle, the type restaurants use for condiments, only hers was filled with a thick, white, creamy substance. Yessir, she had a bottle of fake semen (at least I hope it was fake) and she proceeded to squeeze it all over (and I mean ALL over) herself and several (un)lucky members of the audience. How could anyone top that, I wondered?

Well, according to the judges, two people actually did. Monet finished third. She was trumped by pimp-suit wearing Angelica Wild, whose nifty party trick was sitting naked in a bowl the size of a kitchen sink and washing herself with Budweiser.

The winner was Kelly Taylor, the redheaded reigning Miss Exotic Dancer Maryland. She made up for her sorta mannish face with an impressive, acrobatic pole routine and a crowd-pleasing prop: an internally lit sign that read "Git-R-Done."

Interesting side note: In the minutes between the competition and the announcement of the winner, the Pink Pony's regular talent took the stage. One of songs the women danced to was OutKast's "Way You Move." The Pink Pony's DJ played the sanitized radio edit, which beeps out several words, including "whore" and "cameltoe." I guess they didn't want to offend anyone.

A bottle and the ASO: Believe it or not, despite all that time-consuming brawling and nudity, I did manage to get outside a bit last week. On Saturday, I stopped by the Chamblee Antiques Market and Summer Festival. If all you know of Chamblee is Buford Highway, you're missing out. Chamblee has a mini-downtown area on Peachtree that's packed with cool antique furniture stores (good God, I'm turning into a flaming homeowner!), most of which had booths showing their stuff.Of the nonfurniture arts and crafts, my favorite was Eddie's Bottle Art. Artist Eddie King makes his bottle art by affixing pictures to bottles and painting abstract swirls around the pictures. There's no pretense in it, just creative fun. I now have one of his bottles, featuring Seurat's "Sunday in the Park," on my dining room table.

Speaking of Sunday in the park (let me pause for a second so I can pat myself on the back for that smooth segue), I spent my Sunday evening in Piedmont Park listening to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Laura Jackson. As the symphony usually does with its park shows, it played several short segments from long works rather than a complete composition. My personal favorite was the finale, Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from Prince Igor. It was as exciting as the Futureheads. Nobody jumped on my head, but it was followed by a rousing "Stars & Stripes Forever" and fireworks.


For more about Andy's head and the nudity he witnessed, visit Scene & Herd at www.andy2000.org.

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