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Nancy Neon’s "Dance or Die Nite" at the Abbey
March 31, 2007

All photos by Susan Aprill

9:00 p.m. Saturday March 31, 2007. A nice, fairly mild night.
      "Yeah well. You guys are supposed to be on stage right now," the young, gum-chewing door girl spat out as soon as I identified myself and my troupe as The Last Ones. I’ve gotten that blank look from my own teenage children! "Waddayamean? Your own ad says we play at 9:30!" guitarist Dan McCormack spat back. "Yeah well, it sez HERE you guys play now." ‘Door girl’ snapped her gum twice and produced a wrinkled piece of paper from the little podium she sat behind.

      "Apparently we didn’t get the memo! How ‘bout tellin’ the band?" drummer Richie Johnson protested. "Yeah well, it sez right here." Same blank look as she waved the piece of paper in the air in a figure eight pattern. "Alright. I’m gonna go talk to the sound man," I said and walked around the partition that separates the bar from the performance area. I found the sound man bent over his mixing board. "I hear there’s been a change in the set times." I said. He looked up quickly but was disarmed by my laid back demeanor (enough to offer a smile). "Sorry, I just got the news myself but don’t sweat it. Is fifteen minutes enough for ya to get ready?" Oh yeah. It was already ten past nine. Sometimes all you need is a little cooperation without the attitude, but with four bands on tonight’s bill, there will be repercussions time-wise.

Onstage Party
On stage dance party.
Dancing Murphy
Dancing Murphy

9:25 p.m. The Last Ones are on stage
      Lefty bassist Mike Quirk started off "Tonight." My song about telling your girlfriend’s mother that you knocked her up. Her father threatening murder. A frightened teenage boy flying out the front door into the wintry night. As he runs, he looks back and sees his girlfriend running right behind him. Barefoot! His temperamental English sports car won’t start so he must carry her piggy-back to his apartment a couple of miles away. He does it on pure adrenaline. (Rest in peace Diane.)
I had forgotten how fun it was to play organ in a band unencumbered by 25 pounds of wood hanging around my neck. A couple of years ago, in the last incarnation of The Last Ones, I played both guitar and keys but tonight I left my six string at home so I am FREE and it feels good! The songs come to me easily. The set feels loose in a good way, relaxed and paced. We play a quick set of seven "single length" songs. The tempos are more or less correct and people are dancing! I get a kick out of Nancy’s flyer for tonight’s gig which states" DANCING IS STRICTLY ENFORCED!"

Chris Horne
Chris Horne
Black Moses
Black Moses.
Cam and Doug
Cam and Doug

10:00ish, I guess.
      After the set, I hit the bar and ordered drinks for me and my lovely wife Susan. I found an empty barstool midway down the long bar with a great view of the stage. Prime real estate in this crowded club. Basically I parked my butt there for the whole night and drank Narragansett tall boys until it was time to do my Lyres set. No "beer snob" I!
      "Black Moses" featured locally known organist Rachel Lieberman, a woman that I used to have a crush on, and a female lead singer called Ronnie who sang a nice soulful vocal. I gather this is a new band. My friend Jeff Conolly sidled up to me and proclaimed that they do one song that is "genius."
      Lady Kensington a.k.a. Chris Horne masterfully lead her Beat Lords through a set of classically simple and very danceable rock tunes. It was like a cool breeze swept through the room! She looked wicked good in mini-skirt and boots, with her trademark Baldwin guitar and wrap-around shades as appropriate ornaments for the legendary garage rock babe that she truly is. (Jeez, Rick, you’re gushing again! Her boyfriend is gonna kick yer ass! Your wife is gonna kick it too!)

Dancing Crowd
The audience
Prime Real Estate
Prime Real Estate.

12:15, I guess
      The Lyres set was cut short. It wasn’t my fault! I swear I didn’t know about the set change at the start of the evening. Even though my Last Ones loaded our equipment in at 8:00, nobody from the club ever mentioned that our set time had been changed from second to first. I am not pointing any fingers because in this business, shit happens all the time. I am, however, apologizing for any inconvenience.
      I love the Abbey. Always have. When my previous marriage disintegrated and I moved to Charlestown, I would stop at the Abbey every Wednesday night after visiting my kids in Natick. Within a few weeks, the "Wednesday Night Club" was a highlight of my week. Michele Paulus, Jimmy Birmingham, Andrea Gillis and I formed the nucleus, but many others stopped by after hearing about it from either word of mouth or my BGN journal entries. I realize that I didn’t need an excuse to hang out, drink, shoot the shit and smoke cigarettes. What I desperately needed was a reason to smile. This wonderful bar provided me with just that.

Dancing Pompadoo
Dancing Pompadoo
The Drumhead.
Artie Patti
Artie and Patti

      I have seen a lot of our Boston rock clubs come and go. How many do you remember? If you are anywhere near my age, you have seen quite a few bite the dust. I bet you can recall good memories from each of them. My point is that the Abbey is alive and well, so stop by and enjoy your favorite bands, have a ’gansett, and make some new memories. Just like I did tonight! RC

This episode's song is......
"Only Andrea Knows" .
written by Rick Coraccio; performed by Rick Coraccio and Richie Johnson
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