Need a designated driver?
At last, someone whose social life may be more pathetic than yours. Apparently, a group of guys who have nothing better to do on Friday and Saturday nights will drive your car home from the bars when you've had too much to drink. If you've been out downtown, you may have seen Dial-A-DD's silver minivan with the big yellow signs. It looks kind of like a cab, but no matter how loudly you yell, "Taxi!," they aren't going to stop. It's actually the "relay vehicle" which is used to drop off and pick up the sober driver who gets your car home while you ride shotgun. The service is provided free of charge to the intoxicated public, and believe it or not, there doesn't seem to be any moralistic ulterior motive; they're just suckers willing to sacrifice their time to keep drunk drivers off the road.
After having the pleasure of riding along with Dial-A-DD for an evening last weekend, I have to say their arrival has come not a moment too soon. I witnessed first hand what Charleston looks like to a sober person at 2 a.m. on a Friday night, and it's not pretty. Let me be the first assure you that the only person you're fooling by scarfing those Altoids is yourself. The booze-soaked bar patrons that got home safely as a result of Dial-A-DD's efforts were all suitably grateful, though as of press time it was unclear how many actually remembered who the hell drove their car.
The next time you find yourself with a beer in one hand and your car keys in the other, set down the keys, pick up your cell phone instead, and call 1-877-DD-PLEEZ (337-5339). Dial-A-DD will get you and your car home without all those pesky legal complications. —Josh Eboch
Real Man of Genius
A salute to a Patriots fan
Today we salute you, Mr. Overzealous-yells-at-the-Super-Bowl-TV-screen Guy. Not satisfied with professional coaching on the field, you guide your team bar-side at Charleston Beer Works. Your amazing commands, "Get there," "Pull your head out of your ass!" and "That was a fucking penalty, douche bag!" while unheard by the players, help spur your team on to victory. Sure, you have all the football knowledge of a third-string Pee Wee player, but that doesn't stop you from screaming obscenities at the plasma screen in an octave higher than a little girl. So crack open an ice cold beer Oh Satellite Supervisor because even though the Patriots lost, you've got a Celtics game to coach Tuesday. —Kinsey Labberton
Paging Mr. Belding
The '80s are back, sort of. Men in skirts with mohawks and steel-toed shit kickers wailing cheesy pop hooks can make for some complicated nostalgia. But, at the Map Room in West Ashley on Friday night, punk cover band As/If played old-school hits from Saved by the Bell's theme song to U2, just the way I remembered them, only much louder. The crowd was thin, but some still enthusiastically crowded the stage, clapping, whistling and skanking along with the music, while others sat around the large bar and looked surprised by all the commotion. Perhaps the comparison is unfair, but for those of us who remember classic punk covers like NOFX doing Don McLean's "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)," As/If's genre retread felt a little rough around the edges. The general ambivalence of the crowd didn't do much to smooth things out either. —Josh Eboch
It's Mardi Gras with Jojo
John "Jojo" Hermann (of Widespread Panic) and The Mardi Gras Band brought their Nawlins-style flavor to the Music Farm on Saturday, Feb. 2. Beads were flyin' and beer was flowin' as they touched on some old favorites like "Tipitina" and the fan favorite "Red Beans," which really got the crowd into full-swing. Bodies were shakin' during the first set when they tore through a variety of blues and rock classics. Their renditions of Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" and "Mess Around" stood out as highlights. The second set saw a smooth segue into "Shake Rattle & Roll," the swingin' tune made famous by Bill Haley & His Comets, and Muddy Waters' "I Got My Mojo Workin'." It was great to see these guys make a stop in Charleston on their way to what will surely be one helluva show on Fat Tuesday in Nashville. —John Zara
Nailing the Heads
Same As It Ever Was deliver an enthusiastic show
The Pour House was jam-packed for Saturday night's show (Jan. 26) with Same As It Ever Was, a tribute to the seminal post-punk/New-Wave band Talking Heads. Visiting Charleston for the first time from their hometown of Knoxville, the band seemed genuinely dumbfounded at the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. Fortunately all eight members (crammed onto the stage) were ready to match the crowd's energy, successfully delivering the fun and funky show everyone was hoping for.
Playing a true Talking Heads career retrospective, the band pulled singles and deep cuts from the first studio album Talking Heads: 77 all the way up through Naked, their last. They proved equally adept at all angles of the Heads' diverse catalog: the spare, angular punk-funk of "Psycho Killer" and "Stay Hungry," the experiments in African and Latin poly-rhythms of "I Zimbra" and "(Nothing but) Flowers," and the relatively straight-ahead pop flirtations of "Burning Down the House" and "Once in a Lifetime."
Frontman Curtis Geren — sporting a "9/11 Was An Inside Job" T-shirt and a spiky blue hairdo — sounded impressively like David Byrne, going beyond mere imitation to accurately capture the infamous falsetto leaps and odd syncopated nonsense rhythms of Byrne's vocal style. The true testament to the band's musicianship — and one of the obvious highlights for the crowd — came with their taut version of the Remain in Light album classic "Crosseyed and Painless," a hyper-kinetic African funk tune played at a warp speed tempo that would make any musician pause. Judging by the room full of people dancing their asses off and singing all the words, Same As It Ever Was will have no trouble finding an audience on their return (let's hope) to Charleston. —John Edward Royall