Notes 

Holtzclaw is hell on pinatas

Holtzclaw is hell on pinatas

Talon Show

There’s nothing quite like the sound and smell of a chainsaw ripping through a piñata. Motor oil, melted candy, and smoldering crepe paper combine to create one distinctive stink. Add to that the whine of serrated teeth grinding Atomic Fireballs to dust. It’s an unnerving spectacle, all right, and a dangerous one for a band. How do you top Leatherfacing a piñata in the first five minutes of your act?

If you’re Holtzclaw, an amazing new Nashville band that has yet to play outside Rutherford County, you have no trouble supplying fresh outrages. Part Laugh-In, part theater of cruelty, Holtzclaw indeed lives up to the litany of influences cited in its bio: N.W.A., Tiffany, Lenny Bruce, Leni Riefenstahl, and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. The surprise is that the group is finding musical ideas to match its shock-therapy theatrics. Last Friday night, at the tiny Campus Pub in Murfreesboro, Holtzclaw turned the audience into collaborators in an apocalyptic art-punk hootenanny.

After a brief introduction by a barker waving a cow skull, band members piled onto the stage like clowns into a Volkswagen—a tattooed guy in a lowcut gown, several backup singers and percussionists, a rapper in Willie Dynamite threads, a banjo player. Then came periwinkle-jumpsuited lead singer/instigator Dober T. Pincerman, cradling his chainsaw. The stage was cleared of piñata gore for a flawless solo rendition of “Ave Maria” by a man in a bunny suit.

Then came a freestyling mock trial of a hand puppet (“Ko Ko Bear”), a bouncy “Let’s All Try to Forget Alanis Morrisette,” and a nasty tribute to Gianni Versace, throughout which backup singer/paparazza That Damn Whore handed out Polaroid snapshots. The evening ended with a shower of rubber snakes, an angry woman pelting a drooling man with cups and bottles, and an exploding guitar.

Onstage, Holtzclaw works a peculiar kind of magic that its sick, sick self-produced CD only approximates. Please, somebody, book this band in Nashville. Surrounded by singer-songwriter politeness and sleepy showmanship, Holtzclaw will lay waste to this city—just like a chainsaw ripping through a piñata.

It takes more than a fire to keep a good drag bar down. As you’ll recall, the city’s oldest drag bar, Victor/Victoria’s, was enjoying new life as an indie-rock venue last spring when a freak electrical fire totaled its Eighth Avenue North location. After months out of action, Victor V.’s has been reborn again, this time right off the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Drexel Street. According to owner Al Pedro, it has a new sound system, seats 263 people, and serves pizza.

Eminent Victor/Victorians will notice changes in the venue besides the menu. For starters, Pedro has parted ways with the booking agency G.O.B., which helped revitalize Victor V.’s in its former location. Where G.O.B. brought in touring national acts like the Magnetic Fields, Pedro kicked off his grand opening last Friday night with former Valentine Saloon frontman William Jewell’s new band. Nashville alt-rockers Stella, who played a torrid, widely publicized set at Victor V.’s last spring, are booked to return Jan. 16. New talent will be auditioned on Wednesdays. “We want there to be a variety,” Pedro says.

And how. In addition to live music on the weekends, the club will feature live theater on Sunday and Wednesday nights. The first production, opening this Sunday night and running through Dec. 28, is Comrade Worker, a black comedy by local playwright Jay Eklond about a woman whose job is to dust the corpse of Joseph Stalin (here called “Fearless Leader”).

The club will also continue its long-standing tradition of female-impersonator nights on Monday and Tuesday—two shows nightly, 9 p.m. and midnight, no cover for the moment. The city is a lot cooler about drag than it was when the bar first opened, the club owner says. “Most people have a family member that is homosexual,” explains Pedro, who has been in Nashville for some 22 years. “As long as they behave, nobody cares.”

But what of the ambiance that made the old Victor/Victoria’s so unforgettable? How do you replace the plush red curtains, the glitter ball, the seesawing vinyl booths, the slanted tables, and the decade-old smoke? One visitor dismissed the new pad as “looking like a furniture showroom,” but Pedro thinks it’s great. “This is beautiful,” Pedro insists. “I’m also putting up disco lights.” Music to our ears. Victor/Victoria’s is open daily from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Elliptical dispatches: There’s mistletoe, there’s eggnog, and there’s Dave Pomeroy, whose Blue Christmas ensemble gears up for its 11th annual Yuletide benefit for Room in the Inn. This year’s batch of swingin’ Christmas tunes will be performed at the Ace of Clubs 8 p.m. Sunday night; if you can’t make it, you can always purchase a limited-edition Blue Christmas CD for $10 from Tower Records or the Great Escape....

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