Friday, July 15, 2005

Abel performs at Bastille Day festival tomorrow!

This is the view across the street from Rembrandt's, a very cool bar/restaurant at the corner of the street where I live, and where Julie, Eric, Louie Graff, and Madison Flego, who make up the band known as "Abel", will be performing throughout the evening tomorrow, July 16, 2005 beginning at around 5:30-6:00 p.m. as part of our neighborhood's annual Bastille Day celebration. They will be like the Beatles doing "Get Back" on the roof! Okay, actually, they will be playing on the second floor balcony/deck, which is every bit as cool if not cooler.

Yes, I know. Why would a yuppie American neighborhood host an annual Bastille Day celebration? Well, because it's a reason to party, of course, but also, we have an unusual resource across the street -- a no-longer-used-for-a-prison-but-now-a-tourist-thing-like-Alcatraz -- the Eastern State Penitentiary, which housed such former luminaries like Willie Sutton (the only man who ever escaped from that place) and Al Capone. The prison takes up the entire block of Fairmount Avenue between 22nd and 21st and Fairmount to Brown. I walk my dog on its grassy plot every morning. So yeah, even Al Capone's cell has been somewhat restored and people pay megabucks during the summer for guided tours and at Halloween, they really do it up for nightly fright fests.

So on Bastille Day, the owner of one of the many French inspired restaurants in the area dresses up like Marie Antoinette; climbs to the prison tower, and throws vanilla twinkies by the dozens out to the crowds on Fairmount Avenue, screaming "Let them eat cake!". This is followed by countless other neighbors dressed as soldiers, who storm the prison and decapitate her using a real guillotine! Okay, so it's not really her, it's a watermelon, but still. (Tip from me, food freak: Twinkies are absolutely awful, made of crappy, butter free full of preservatives vanilla sponge cake filled with something that is supposed to be vanilla cream. But when you put those babies in the freezer, something wonderful happens; a cakelike popsicle that is to die for) So yeah, I'm out there in the crowd, trying to catch as many as I can when "Marie" tosses them down to us.

Anyway, it's a great time in the old 'hood, all of the restaurants in the area set up outdoor booths/tables, the alcohol really flows (some booths even sell individual bottles of champagne and french pastry...mmm) -- the party continues until late in the evening (but in case you guys want to come for the beheading, that's right before the kids will start performing). Here are the details!

It's going to be fun. Literally thousands of people line the streets (which the Philadelphia Police Department is kind enough to close off), and I hope to see a lot of you there.
Okay, what else. Well, in a perfect world, Julie will be home early today after spending a week in Hilton Head, provided I did in fact make the correct reservations with the fuckwits at Travelocity. I miss her so much! Actually, I just noticed, it's 6:17 a.m. so she should already be on that plane and since I haven't received any hysterical phone calls from her this morning, I assume all went as planned. WHEW! I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. Julie, Eric, and Louie have been friends since they were rugrats and were actually in a band together for years until some unfortunate things occurred, i.e., they added some other musicians and the chemistry just wasn't there so there were subsequent artistic differences, etc. That's one of the reasons Eric joined Flamingo -- to escape the madness -- but hey, he's a drummer, he can have as many projects as he wants and as I've stated here time and time again, that's the plan for this year. Explore it all! Otherwise, back to college, bro'.

Eric, Julie and Louie have a tightness when they play that makes me think of Cream - just an incredibly talented power trio. The three of them feed off each other and instinctively know what the other is thinking musically. The addition of Madison Flego, who has probably one of the all time most kick ass voices ever to come out of Rock School (with a bow of the head to my other favorite diva, Lauren Pollock), makes them freaking superstars. And she is not only a sweetheart, she's drop dead gorgeous which doesn't hurt. And a really decent guitarist! Again, they are really worth coming out to see. Because this is a big neighborhood party and not a serious musical venue, they're going to do covers, but this is the only time they'll be doing that -- their original stuff is incredible but they felt it wasn't the time and place for new material and I think they're right. Especially with all the drinking going on; I think the audience will probably be a lot more receptive to Led Zep and Floyd covers, etc. Like, um, what do you bet at least ten inebriated people call out "Play Free Bird!" before the night is through. But make no mistake; Abel is no cover band and look for them to perform at venues in the near future with their own unique and wonderful material.
I hope to have some other news later, so watch this space...