Hey Ya'll, Mad Modeliste here. On a recent September evening, I found myself entering the 40 Watt Club here in Athens, GA., but it seemed as though I entered something grandeur and more peculiar than just simply the 40 Watt. And my assumption proved true- for I was walking through an Athens, GA time warp. The music my ears heard weren't the tunes of some modern day Athens Based band- no this was something much different, this was something original, something spooky and fun, odd and enjoyable, this was the music of the B-52's!

Some say there would be no music scene in this town if it weren't for these interesting Athenians on stage. And by the sounds of what I was hearing I don't doubt it at all. Moon dancing, heart thumping, frown shaking, smile making, whumpa whumpa noise raking were all going on at one time on this night at the 40 Watt. Momentarily I got lost, I got lost in the time warp, I truly felt like I was back in the seventies, back in a time when there were no bars in town, just house parties for kids that wanted bars, music for folks that wanted something different. My eyes opened but my mind was still set to 1977. The joy I felt didn't even come close to the joy I could sense bulging out of the eyes of these B-52 folks. And as I listened deep, I finally got it; I finally understood how it was true that these are the real ringleaders of the circus currently known as the Athens Music Scene.

They stand for everything music in this town means. Fun in the face of fear, silliness in an old Republican state. Athens is in a way an oasis of alternative thought in a vast Southern area of conservativeness. The B-52's music grabs this feeling and flies with it. But staying true to the gritty, Southern nature of Athens, their music has a hint of that rough, rugged feel that sweats down here. And that is what remains in most of the music that Athens has produced ever since; a sense of celebratory fun without forgetting about its gritty surroundings. I was swimming in the seventies, imitating the dance of the beautiful Kate Pearson, when some boy tries to pick me up. What is it with me and the 40 Watt Club, that every time I enter the building boys, hover to get a glimpse of me? Well, I wasn't going to let no drooling youngster ruin my time warp experience, so before he could finish his pathetic attempt of catching my attention I moved to the center of the crowd, a good seven feet away from him, from here I was once again thrown into the center of the time warp, feeling the warp engulf my body thrice again. "Love Shack" got everyone going as did "Roam," and "Rock Lobster," but it wasn't just the popular hits that the crowd dug, it was every moment of fun that was felt. And before we knew it, the show was over. Well this show was over but as for the night, it was putting on its wet cleats and getting ready for the second half kickoff.

Rain fell on me, smudging my make-up a bit (yes, sometimes I do wear make-up. I know, I know, I don't need it, but some times I color my face, anyway). I purposely parked my car near the Georgia Theater, so that after the show I would be forced to walk by and listen to the music going on, and the sound would hopefully lure me in.

And that is exactly what happened. The band on the stage lured me and my five-dollar fee on in, in to the sticky floored, dirty tasting beer, character-soaked theatre of Georgia.

The music lured me down even closer, closer to the stage...I walked down the right side to the floor, and "excuse me'd" by a sweaty dancing purple haired girl and eased my way into a comfortable area to get my listen and groove on. Or not, cause this is a review and if I don't want to get my groove or listen on then that is my damn right. But in this case I did indeed get both my listen and groove on. (in that order).

The band: Barbara Cue

Photo by Jackie Jasper
I had heard a lot about this band, lots from various reliable and many not so reliable friends of mine. I heard things like: Oh Barbara Cue, that's that band that has that percussion player from Widespread in it, you know Schools or whatever, and they play straight up funk, right?" Also, I heard, "Those, them players that play in that CCR cover band." I've seen Barbara Cue a few times, so I have learned that those things aren't true. What I think may be true is that they started as a NRBQ cover band. They do have members from Widespread Panic, Bloodkin, and other Athens bands in them, and no they do not play straight up funk.

I tried pulling up my right foot to dance, but it wouldn't budge, the floor was just too damn sticky, and this is when I got to thinking about how nice and calming this music made me feel. Almost like I was relaxing on somebody's back porch on a cool fall day. Barbara Cue's music was a touch roots, a bit country, and all feel. It was light, but still contained much substance. They would jam, and sing with some southern drawl. They would play their guitars with smiles on their faces.

Photo by Jackie Jasper
I was truly having a good time, when I thought to myself, "Shit, Self, If these guys started as an NRBQ cover band, I wonder what NRBQ sounds like?" So I decided to go find out, because NRBQ was playing at Tasty World a few blocks away tonight. Got my rain face on, and slid out onto Clayton Street. By the time I turned right on Jackson, my make up must have looked like a abstract art piece. But it didn't matter cause when I look bad, I mean real bad, like the worst I could ever possibly look on the ugliest street in Athens, on National Ugly day, even then I look damn good. And the proof of this lies in what happened as soon as I arrived at Tasty World.

The music had stopped, apparently an hour before I arrived. Some boy was standing out in front talking with the people working at the bar. He told me the scoop, on how it was over. He had a cooler of leftover beer. He claimed he was Jomo of Jomo entertainment. He said I could have the leftover beer; it was NRBQ's leftovers. Shit, I took it and walked. I don't care who he was and what he was giving me, I thought to myself as I walked through the rain, with beers filled to the rim of my giant sized purse, "He still ain't getting to study Ms. Madeline Modelsite.

On An Athens Scale of Five, you know the B-52s had got a perfect five. Five hours of recording at the local music friendly establishment Nuci's Space.

Barbara Cue got 3 and half. 3 shots of your choice from Nowhere Bar and that half a shot that the wussie at the end of the bar couldn't finish.

Madeline Modeliste
JamBase | Athens
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[Published on: 10/9/02]

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