Another amazing ricochet in my rock n' roll reality: Thanks to this nasty bit of business, I have something in common with Alan Merrill - a real good rocker (and writer of "I Love Rock N Roll" which Joan Jett heard him play and decided to record). He got in touch to commiserate, we had a lively correspondence, and guess who has now linked to us on his Web site?! So, right back atcha with a link to Alan under "Bands We Like!" (Not to be confused with our pal the Awesome Alan Bigalow who celebrated his birthday last weekend and will be mentioned again in a moment.) Check out Alan M.'s sound clips for a really great, natural rock n' roll voice. On Friday we went to see one of Alan B.'s bands - Malesh - at Freddy's. Malesh means something like "no worries" in Arabic, and Alan, Greg on bass and James on guitar picked up the concept on one of the Circus Guy tours of the mid-East. With a guy who's name I forget on drums, they do a skillful improv jamming thing with Alan B. on guitar and sometimes theremin. Yes, theremin , and not just any theremin, but one he built himself, the body of which is a handsome maple-toned wood box! I's not a materialistic person. I's rarely covet other people's possessions. I's *really* wanted to play with that theremin. Saturday The Larch show at Laila Lounge ROCKED! First of all, this unassuming W-burg venue is doing what I've heard obnoxious NYC bookers sneer is impossible: pay original bands a little something without charging any cover. It's amazing how much smoother any night goes when everyone is friendly and respecting each other... And thanks to our peeps for turning out! Ian debuted two new songs, then we stayed and enjoyed the party with our party clothes on. That Jackie O style vintage red dress, the polyester A-line empire cut with the big buttons on one side up by the shoulder, always makes me feel vivacious. And the DJ'ing was excellent - Soft Boys before we played, a long and eclectic upbeat set of Parliament type funk, Beastie Boys rap and motown influenced pop as we all hung out to enjoy those drink specials after. Despite the late night, Sunday saw us full of energy and Ian and I decided to go to the Crash Course Karaoke at Kenny's Castaways . A duo band visiting from Japan opened the night. Called Numb, they spoke so little English we were left to wonder if they call themselves Numb in Japanese, or a word with a different meaning entirely that just sounds like "Numb" in English? The drummer was excellent - a swirling, emotional octopus of girl and straight black hair and delicate cymbal hitting, unusual kick drum approach. The front guy sang pretty well and did a little looping on his acoustic guitar, but as all the songs were in Japanese (!) my attention started to drift away from the mid-tempo material + non-unique melodies. Crash Course however was a blast! It was Alan's birthday, and the Halloween decorations were already up, and I had no where to be on Monday morning, so it seemed as if the weekend would never end. They've been rocking the live band karaoke for several years now, and have attracted such a following that it seemed we had more "ringers" than "bad" karaoke singers (although there were a few). Even the Larch man himself got up and did two Beatles tunes. I took my turns with "White Rabbit" and then "Summertime" (up in the Gershwin register, two years of music performance study at the college level, thank you very much) although just a bit scratchy from shouting it up over the DJ after the show the night before. The lovely Kirsten W. was there, and favored us also with her rich alto.