Issue 5 Contents


Squirrel Nut Zippers & Cigar Store Indians @ Lupos 4/5/97

Webmaster's Note: Mike can't find the photos. I'll upload them as soon as he does.

"Hell" is watching MTV these days. I really wish I could watch the new M2 so I could see some actual music between neverending playing of that Hansen tune that I'm sure will turn me into the next serial killer. Anyway, the ever bold MTV has gotten behind Squirrel Nut Zippers- who do a retro-20's and 30Õ' thing- as seen in the heavily rotated "Hell". It's probably not the answer to the electro-dance craze that everybody is pushing, but I was curious enough to go check them out.

It seemed fitting that this was an Amos House Benefit- there were plenty of old looking women around, many of whom probably had fond memories of 30's music. There were also a bunch of youngsters around in vintage clothes to make it a saucy mix. Eventually it got really crowded which made everybody sweat- ugh!- the smell of sweaty vintage clothes combined with overly scented benefit workers was almost too much to bear.

The opening band, Cigar Store Indians, were a 3-piece "backwoods martini drinking music" combo. They mixed rockabilly, twang, honky-tonk, and country into something not unlike the Rev. Horton Heat.

Although they did bring our members of SNZ to play along on the smelly cigar and sax, it was the rockabilly that got people movin and groovin. I really liked "Jailbait," although it was kind of goofy. Other songs like "Who Dat?" and the country "Your Arms Around Me" were also pretty darn good.

I don't know the lead singer's name, but he was a ringer for Woody from Cheers, complete with an 'aw-shucks' attitude. He had a pretty good stage presence, and gosh darn it people liked him. The band hails from Crabapple, Georgia and they have a bass player with big hair. Not an unpleasant experience at all.

Being a benefit there had to be a speech- I couldn't hear for shit what guest old lady Mary Anne Sorintino from some old people radio talk program had to say, but I'm sure it was touching. By the time she began talking we'd waited for a while and even the benefit ladies were anxious to move. She pretty much got talked off the stage.

Squirrel Nut Zippers took to stage and all of a sudden I thought I was on some bizarre Disney ride. I don't know if they're ripping of the 20's and 30's or paying homage. They do deliver a convincing performance, but its really hard to Charleston if your grandmother never taught you.

SNZ have a variety of front persons: the best being Katharine Whalen, who does a banjo-picking Billie kinda thing. She plays it soft and sweet with a warbly voice, whispering lyrics and rarely moving. The other two front guys, the suave Tom Maxwell, (the dude in the "Hell" video) and Jim something were full of bouncy joy. Jim in particular was skipping around and bouncing up and down most of the time.

Although "Hell" and some of the Betty Boop/ Billie numbers were pretty good, there were some sore spots. I can't put my finger on it other than to say it was like being in a Disney experience. Some of their songs reminded me of those Dixie Land Bears. I felt like at any moment somebody was gonna pop up and go "Gotcha- your on stupid retro crazes of the 90's! Smile!"

I don't mean to bash the SNZ's- it was fun to shake around to Dixieland tunes. The next day the band was on Regis and Kathy Lee. They were a big hit; Regis invited the audience down to dance and the band did like three tunes. Maybe that's what bugged me- I might have something in common with Kathlee/Rege fans. I don't know. Like I said it was fun, but don't tell my grandfather or he'll make fun of me for years.