One Eyed Jacks
September 30, 2005
There wasn't supposed to be any music at One Eyed Jacks Friday night. It was the first night back in town for residents, so common sense dictated that there wouldn't be many people around to see a show. Still, fifteen concertgoers saw Blackfire Revelation play the first rock show in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. That's probably about 20% of the people who were out and about. Ol' Tunes Saloon, located next to the House of Blues, had some customers, and the vibrant life inside Molly's made it seem like any other Friday night.
At 4 p.m., doorman Fayard and patron Neptune carried approximately twenty bags of ice into the venue. Since tap water was still suspect and off-limits, the ice cooled beverages and became drinkable water. Lindsay was serving drinks.
Co-owner Ryan talked to the members of Blackfire Revelation earlier in the day, and even though the possibility of a concert was mentioned, the fact remained that Ryan didn't have a soundman. So I suggested the band just play from their amps. Ryan enjoyed this idea, and after a short call to the band, the concert was a done deal. It was 5 p.m. Now, the venue just had to get people inside. Ryan took to Microsoft Word and printed out some elementary flyers. A few promoters then took to Bourbon and Decatur streets to find a crowd.
Keith Hajjar of Rock City Morgue and Ben Glover of Bipolaroid showed up to support. At around 9 p.m., Blackfire Revelation started their short but sweet, eleven-song, forty minute set with no fanfare. Drummer Hank Haney started a cymbal and kick drum-heavy solo that could have just as easily been the sound of him screwing around. Guitarist/vocalist John Fields joined in by adding meaty noise to the cacophony as he paced back and forth. The sludgy metal music began, and another sliver of normalcy returned to the Quarter.
Haney's arm pumps and stick points were welcome signatures. Fields' urgent playing and red-faced yells were also normal. The band was passionate, as usual, but they played in a room that would have been too big for them even if the city had a normal amount of residents. Nobody stood close to the band on the lower section of the floor, so there was barely any energy exchanged between the audience and the band. No vibe. The band didn't encourage intimacy, either. The concert seemed like a rehearsal for Saturday night's show at The Red Star Bar in Baton Rouge. The Red Star was much smaller than One Eyed Jacks, and since the 100 person crowd was packed up against the band, the show was much more visceral at The Red Star Bar. Fields addressed the crowd more often, and he reveled in driving patrons out into the street, fingers in their ears. Blackfire Revelation was playing at the last minute with self-arranged sound to a non-present crowd at One Eyed Jacks, so I'll cut them some slack. Hell, it was just cool they played.
Blackfire Revelation played three new songs, and Fields had a new interest in the amount of noise he could wrangle out of his guitar in between power chords.
Despite the lack of people, there was a great sense of pride at One Eyed Jacks Friday night. The music was back, quicker than expected, and there was hope that with the help of friends, things might return to normal.