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Glenwood Coffee & Books: The Leeves, The Queers, and more

Jan 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Feature, Sounds

Photo of The Queers by Katei Cranford

As I write this, I’m worrying about the knee surgery I may potentially need in my 30s. I’m thinking about the guy that threw his arm around my neck and choked me.  I’m also wondering how many people grabbed onto my boobs last night. I think I lost track after the fifth boob-grab. I’m thinking about all of these in a positive light, however – last night was fucking awesome.

I probably got into The Queers in middle school. I was rebelling against my peers – rich private school students who had a trust fund and a pool in their backyard. While I listened to Operation Ivy, The Clash, and Black Flag on my Walkman, they listened to top 40 hits on the shiniest, latest iPod they could get their hands on. I first heard The Queers on a mix CD my friend gave me – it also had The Briefs, Screeching Weasel, and a slew of early Green Day songs.

Needless to say, when I heard The Queers would be playing at a coffee shop near my house I was stoked. Not only would The Queers be playing, but The Leeves and The Nondenoms would be too. Both of those bands are in my top 5. The $8 cover was a steal. Even though I could barely afford it.

The show was advertised to start at 7, but when I arrived at 7:30 it took about an hour for anyone to play. Greensboro’s bands tend to be late, so I’ve come to expect that. There was a guy with a ukulele filling in the silence with cute, slightly whiney versions of top 40 hits. I say whiney in a good way – he could project his voice, which is something I look for in musicians. Probably because I’m so bad at it. His name was Spencer Ellis – stage name, Duke Stamina.

Photo of The Nondenoms by Katei Cranford

The Nondenoms started playing around 8:45. The Nondenoms are a great local punk band, consisting of three members – Brian “Kid” Goldstein on lead vocals and guitar, Doug Blaney on drums, and Kelly Bang (sister of AG contributor, Katei Cranford) on bass. Their music fit the show well, and a few kids knew the words. During the fourth song, a very small pit formed in the center of the room. Halfway through their set, someone in the back yelled, “Who the fuck is Kelly Bang?” which I assumed to be some sort of inside joke after Brian replied with, “Some drunk bitch.”

They mostly played songs off their album, “Take It Back,” such as “Escape from Hell-a” and “Driving in NY.” Along with originals, they played The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl,” introduced as a song written by their drummer.

Live Forever came up next. Tuned to drop D, it was a little bit out of my range of interest. In the words of a friend of mine, “A crash symbol is not a ride symbol, and their singer kind of sounds ‘like’ Tom Waits.” That’s not to say they were bad – they were really good. However, the combination of The Leeves coming up in a couple of hours, my friends smoking outside, and their tuning prevented me from getting too into it.

Corporate Fandango followed Live Forever. They’re a third-wave ska band more reminiscent of Less Than Jake than Operation Ivy. The band members have been playing around for a while – I think I saw some version of them play with The Leeves 3 years ago. Their music is definitely catchy, full of horns and ska riffs. They’re a fun band. I was into them for most of their set, but the anticipation of my favorite band and lure of cigarette smoke drove me outside once again.

The Leeves got onstage at about 10:45.

The best part about The Leeves is looking over at the person next to you and seeing them sing along. Whether or not you know the person, you can put your arm around them and yell the words with them, and they won’t think you’re an idiot. Or maybe they will.

Photo of The Leeves by Katei Cranford

The Leeves started their set with “Bitter,” going into fast paced songs about their friends like “Billy’s Got His Dick Out” and “Jamie Will Get the Beer Tonight” (however, they didn’t play “For Our Friends”). They also played their ‘dance number,’ a popular favorite, “Long Way Home.” I glanced over a few times and caught people skanking and singing along. That felt awesome.

They ended their set with “Annoy/Destroy” – a song I had hoped they would play – and the pit emerged once more. When my favorite

line (“the Dead will never walk again/but my friends will always have the Leeves/even fallen trees will never kill The Leeves”) was sung, the room was shouting. By the end of the song (“some people will annoy you/some people will destroy you”) people were shoving each other into the stage. (I should probably quit writing about The Leeves.)

After The Leeves, the crowd condensed for The Queers. The Queers have been around for going on 30 years, and have released several EPs and LPs, including a Ramones cover album – the complete “Rocket to Russia.” The crowd was extremely thick where I was (against the stage), and was completely comprised of dudes.  I think during their entire set, maybe two or three different girls braved that rough group.

Photo of The Queers by Katei Cranford

I was recently described as an “uncouth bitch,” and I wondered why for a moment – then I remembered that civilized, graceful women don’t allow themselves to be manhandled in mosh pits of punk shows.  During The Queers’ set, my dress was unzipped, my knees were cut up against the corner of the wooden stage, and I was choked a few times. I also had beer poured into my hair a few times by some asshole who thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring a can of Budweiser into the crowd (I later saw him slip and fall in a puddle of it). One of our friends got a little too excited about a particular song and went up to sing into the bass player’s microphone – and the bassist wouldn’t have it. Friend was pushed off the stage, back into the crowd.

The Queers played mostly originals, but ended their set with “White Minority” by Black Flag and “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” by The Ramones. By that point, everyone who knew the words was shouting. During “Sheena,” the crowd got so rough that I was uplifted out of the crowd onto the stage, and my glasses were thrown behind an amp. In the split second that I was onstage, I glanced over the crowd and saw a normally composed friend of mine dancing and singing along. When I landed back in the crowd, I would’ve face planted into the stage had I not been caught around the throat by a guy with a Mohawk. He pulled me back to my feet and, arm still around my neck, yelled the words into my face.

The next morning my knees were red, purple, and blue, and every part of my torso hurt. From those bruises, I knew I had a good night.

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8 Comments to “Glenwood Coffee & Books: The Leeves, The Queers, and more”

  1. Greensboro Bear says:

    Oh Avalon! it sounds like you were assaulted approaching on the order of that female journalist at Tahrir Square. Why would you subject yourself to this? I would really urge people looking for an alternative music experience, with excitement, drama, great music, and well behaved crowds to consider coming out to a concert of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Yes, I know, the music is acoustic, the audience is laden with whitetops, and the most movement you will see in the crowd is someone tapping a toe occasionally. But there is no mauling, only roses for an especially good soloist, black tie on stage instead of tattoos and black arts, and they are not singing about murdering their mothers. It is just an evening of classic civilized entertainment with music that has stood the test of time. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull was once quoted as saying that he "would never go to a rock concert. That is no way to listen to music." What would he think of raver boys in the mosh pit, deliberately assaulting fine educated young women who would just like to dance to an energetic sound? Indy music has its place but not at the cost of sacrificing your dignity or indulging the hormones of frustrated, androgynous boys. Leave the darkside for the radio, but for live performance, come out for an evening of gracious entertainment that will both nourish your soul, and encourage a date to be nicely dressed and on their best behavor. We'll be looking for you.l

    • Bill Kenny says:

      Greensboro Bear, I appreciate your concern for my daughter's dignity. She has attended Opera at the Steven's Center. She met David Byrne at his art opening at Secca. She has an appreciation for a very diverse palette of music. But, she does not shy away from expressing the punk spirit she was born with.

      She will be fine. I'm sure she will grace the performance of classical, jazz, and opera, with relish.

      • Alice says:

        my daughter was hard core too. Lots of tattoos as she's aged she still loves the music of her day but has alway appreciated all music which she will admit now that the growing pangs have eased. I can remember myself at the Front row of The Who ,multiple nights, my hearing will never be the same, my friend being lifted out by security cause she was small and couldn't take the push of a few thousand behind us. Pleading for me to go with her and me shaking my head 'no way'. I am a child of the early punk days, music I still love listening to once in a while. I like all music, yes sometimes things get out of hand but isn't that what being young is about. Live to tell the tale.

  2. Avalon! Great write up. I didn't even realize this was written until I was looking for some reviews about our band on Google. I'm glad you had a great time and it was equally great for me. I am surprised by the manhandling as well. However, I know the company that attends these shows and if you were upset with it and voiced it, the community there would defend you and take care of the violators.

  3. Reese Lankford says:

    It seems as though you are going to a lot of the same shows in Greensboro. You have written about quite a few bands, but most of them are repeats. We are only seeing you write about bands that you are interested in and know that you like for certain, there is not really any diversity and if there is one thing I know about Greensboro bands, it is that there is a ton of diversity.

  4. Avalon Kenny says:

    AVALON is the toughest littlest sweetest Thang

    • Avalon Kenny says:

      OH man you let me use your login to read your article and then I did that. Whoops Jess Loer things you are the toughest sweetest thang

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