Even though the weekend was finally here for all of us to enjoy, I started my own musical adventuring last night with the Charred Walls of The Damned over at the Gramercy Theatre. Now it was time to head down to the Lower East Side to see what it was offering the Hard Rock fans of the Big Apple and one of the main reasons for my doing this was based on the amount of time since I had heard what was happening with the sextastic chanteuse Miss Coco Caine. I had not seen her since she decided to dispense with rainbow colored wigs and swapped them for a jet black coif that matched the spandex and leather she would now sport in her new band The Deafening. Clearly this was going to be a lot different from her material in Cocaine The Band, and it was bound to happen once the singer immersed herself in the teachings of Motley Crue and Guns ‘N Roses. The new members of the band come via Eddie Animal and Blackie Doyle on guitar and bass. The pair replaces those Miami Vice looking dudes from her earlier outfit and while white suits seemed par for the course with that band, it was clear that keeping it black was the logic with The Deafening.
Their set was a last minute surprise for me and being held at a relatively new space for my attention in the UC Lounge. I didn’t find it right away based on misreading the address but once inside I was ready to rock. The drums of Marco Paine were setup sideways but I avoided any comparison to Stryper’s Robert Sweet as I was sure he had enough to worry about in such tight quarters. Since the stage was on the small side, Coco just stood at eye level to her fans and when the band kicked into gear you could tell this was going to be a different experience from her work with Cocaine The Band. The first thing was that the material was noticeably heavier than the Melodic 80’s kitsch that she once did and being a fan of things with a sharper edge I had to say that I was enjoying the difference. “Bass To The Treble” was the first tune up and it had a powerful drive to it that quickly brought you into Coco’s new world. She sported mirrored highway patrol shades during the set and some tight black jeans tonight and she commanded your attention in ways that I had not seen her do over those last few years of supporting her career. The new band sounded solid but after a few songs some sound difficulties in the mix became an issue for the singer who said in the voice that probably should have remained in her head about “could this club suck anymore?” These are things you never want the soundman or owner to hear which of course would be the case tonight. I’ll be the devil’s advocate here and say that I could not blame her since the gig was originally free, then not free, then free again and this had to be annoying since the gathered supporters to her cause were not sure what to make of it.
Guitarist Eddie Animal was relegated off to the side near the entrance to the other bathrooms and then there was a guitar strap malfunction that caused Blackie to sit down for the rest of the gig. In the end that was okay since there really was not enough space to be a mobile band. Coco played it all up with her inimitable style of course and even serenaded a lovely girl who was visiting the club for the first time with her fiancé. She took the girls drink for a few minutes and enjoyed some of it before returning it to her. It was clear that the girl never expected this and now had a Rock concert story of her own to tell, even if it was something as underground as this particular gig. Of the new songs I felt that “Less Clean” really showcasing the absolute powerhouse pipes that the singer possesses. She soars in this one and reminded me a little bit of Anne Wilson in terms of register power. “Rattlesnake Sex Show” slowed it down to a throbbing groove and this led us into their version of “Wrathchild” which I must say was not my favorite offering of the night. I love old Iron Maiden but based on the premise of this group feel that they would have been better serving up some Crue, Guns or something a little similar in terms of Rock and Roll Sleaze. I had some liking for the song “CIA” but the band would omit the number called “44 Caliber” since while on the list was not delivered. It seemed to be over with the song “Demons Of L.A.” and it was around this time that Coco started to hand out some CD’s that they had just recently completed recording. These amounted to EP’s as they featured five of the bands tunes so they were eagerly snapped up by the fans in the room. It was also around here that one of the guys in the band that was up next decided that a little hardcore dancing was in order. Believe me I am not one to chastise those who venture into the mosh pit or want to slam it up but since none of that was going on in this very tight space, his shenanigans were unwelcome by everyone around him. As a closer the band would surprise me by delivering one of Coco’s timeless numbers with “Radion”, one of my very favorites from her Cocaine The Band years. From here the band and their following went to the main bar section of the club and killed off a few beers before heading home to rest before doing this all again.
The new group has some potential but it is straight ahead Heavy Rock with more of a bare boned approach if you needed a quick summation of them. There is not as much glitz and glaze as I had found when she fronted Cocaine The Band, but with new bands come new avenues of approach and ideas. I will very likely check them out again sometime in the future. Now for some views about the venue space. As a club the UC Lounge was an interesting study in hanging out as it is divided into two halves and visually speaking the left side is a long but rather slim bar which makes for a little difficulty getting back in forth if you are one of those people that wanders around the bar as opposed to those who sit down in one spot. If you were at the bar there was not much more than room for one more person to stand almost directly behind you. The other side is where the bands play and there are some small chairs and shelves and what seemed to be a couch type of thing on one side. There is a pool table back there and on the opposite side of this a very small stage area. This is not good for a large lineup at all or a band with a sizable drum kit. The PA also seemed to have its main controls up on the stage and to be tweaked the soundman had to climb up where the drummer was to adjust it. That can really ruin the vibe of a set if it is happening at the same time. I would say that this is perfect for a DJ gig or a singer songwriter with perhaps two other musician’s kind of thing but not for much larger as otherwise the musicians are right in the audiences faces. Personally I don’t like that but maybe you do.
Good luck to Coco Caine and the rest of the gang in The Deafening as they seek to etch their own name into the Book of Heavy Rock & Roll.
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Official Web Site: www.thedeafening.com
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