Masked Band Ball

Circle Bar

October 31, 2005

The Masked Band Ball, which was held for the last ten years at The Mermaid Lounge, seemed dead after Katrina damaged the event's new venue, Twiropa. It didn't seem possible to have an event by the end of October right after the hurricane, but the city came back quicker than I thought. Original Masked Band Ball organizer Anthony DelRosario moved to Austin, but he gave his blessing to keep it going. Local writer and musician Michael Patrick Welch(a.k.a The White Bitch) had the good sense to revive the costume cover night. Circle Bar manager/booker Lefty Parker helped out too, so thanks to both of them for continuing a New Orleans rock tradition.

Pete Orr from The Fens opened the four band bill with a song by and a pretty good impression of Leonard Cohen before he reverted to his own songs. Orr's originals are humorous and often not-so-optimistic ruminations on New Orleans life. Orr's lived here for a long time, and he's honed his performing teeth at Margaritaville. So, it's no surprise he's got a crowd performance shtick. Like a good musician's, Orr's schtick was enjoyable only because it was witty. Otherwise, it would have been annoying as hell because it was pretty rehearsed.

Clockwork Elvis was next, and their lead singer, DC Harbold, made the girls swoon with his Elvis-like voice and hand gestures. The King's songs were well-represented a band that doesn't normally play together. The set went over really well with the crowd, anyway.

The night only got better as Michael Patrick Welch donned a black wig, black suit, and black sunglasses to perform as Roy Orbison. He was accompanied by Ray Bong of The Bongoloids, Christian Kuffner of The Zydepunks, and a member of Triple Delight. Welch had the voice and certainly the passion to pull of the songs, which the group had tirelessly rehearsed. Halfway through the set, Welch tore off his Orbison outfit and went casual as he played Guns N' Roses and Prince songs.

Last up was The Butthole Surfers, whose manic, troubled, noise and groove music was represented well by Rob Cambre, DJ Potpie, Shaun Washburn, and Gabe Pickard. The gaps in the stop-and-go music were filled by Potpie's Gibby Haynes rants, and it was sociopathic. Potpie spoke through a small bullhorn and wore a dress, as Cambre did. Pickard wore electrical tape over her breasts, and Washburn wore the requisite wig of long rocker hair. Smoke filled the room, along with blasts of strobe lights. It was a performance of broken down anarchy.

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