Monday, March 16, 2009

Rami Jaffe's Birthday Bash at the Kibitz Room

Last Tuesday, Jeff, Rich and I showed up at Canter's at around 9pm and hung out for about 45 minutes eating desert and drinking beer. It was Rami Jaffe's birthday and his weekly free jam session at The Kibitz Room, which is attached to Canter's Deli, was guaranteed to attract some interesting performers. Moving into the bar, we could not find a seat and found ourselves watching the Clipper game (they lost). Sometime before 1030, Nicole suddenly showed up. She had been at the other end of the bar with her boyfriend and some old family friends of his. They had their own booth right next to the drum sets. It was great catching up with Nicole. I hadn't seen her in something like 8 years! It is hard to believe time is flying by so fast.

It seemed that half of the people in the crowd were friends of Rami's and most of them seemed to be musicians. Rami was bouncing around shuffling people on and off the stage (I call it a stage because it is where they played, but was really just a couple inch platform that was no more than 10 feet long). The band overflowed the stage with a small drum kit, a pair of bongos, several guitarists, electric keyboards and a Hammond organ. I think it was during the first set that Rami broke the stand for the keyboard. Did I mention that he was bouncing around the bar drinking beer out of a pitcher?

The first set featured Rudy on vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar. Rudy is a friend of Rami's and was really good. I would love to hear more but have no idea who he actually was. Well, Nicole asked Rami as he was bouncing by and he went into a long story that involved his ex and sex and... all we got out of it was that they were old friends.

The second set featured Andy Slater on electric guitar. Andy is/was the CEO of Capital Records and at one time was the manager of the Wallflowers (thank you Nicole for filling me in). It was fun watching them crank it up for a set of Neil Young & Crazyhorse classics, but it would have been more fun had they ventured out a bit more. Everything was pretty sloppy as these were just jam sessions and everyone was expected to just jump in and play. But the energy and power of rock and roll in its purest form was what made it so much fun.

After the second set, everyone in our group decided to go home. I debated with myself for some time. Luckily the rocker in me won and as it closed in on 1am, the payoff for the evening came. As I sat on the top of the booth (since the stage was only a couple of inches high, we were all up on the top of the booths so we could see) a girl sitting next to me asked if I knew who that lady on the stage was. Wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt that zipped up stood the 57 year old Chrissie Hynde. The audience was right in her face as she surveyed the bar. Some woman must have made a comment about wanting her, because Chrissie started talking about being straight. This went on for a bit before she grabbed the microphone with authority, looked out at the crowd and said, "I S*ck C**k"! It seemed from that moment on, she was determined to assert her sexuality; shortly thereafter lifting her t-shirt to expose her bra. She was obviously tired and had probably been partaking in something that made it illegal for her to drive (alcohol or whatever) and that just added to the magic of the evening. Singing off key with a band that was good but very rough since they weren't masters of her songs, Chrissie and band hammered through a 4 song set that included: Tattooed Love Boys, Mystery Achievement, Break up the Concrete and Brass in Pocket. Any flaws were easily overwhelmed by the shear energy and excitement of the moment. Near the end of the set Chrissie started molesting some guy and as the last song ended laid a huge lip lock on him. Then, grabbing her manager's hand, she zipped through the crowd and was gone.

I hung out a bit longer, but decided it wasn't going to get any better than this and by 1:45 I was out of there (in bed by 3am). It was a great evening. It was fun hanging with Rich and Jeff again and of course getting to see Nicole after so many years was a treat. Next time I do this though, there will be no 8am meeting waiting for me the next day. It sure was a long week after that. 

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