MC Paul Barman, November 4
Comedy rapper MC Paul Barman wasn't in a laughing mood when he found out that Killer Elite shouter-turned-comic Nick Flannagan would be opening his show at the Tequila Lounge with one of his head-scratching stand-up routines. After looking over Flannagan's material, the nerdy New York hiphop cut-up decided there was one funnyman too many on the bill and relieved the local upstart of his duties for the night.
"Before going on, I thought I should go backstage and introduce myself," says Flannagan. "He got really uptight, saying, 'I didn't know there was a comedian going on before me!' So I showed him my notebook to let him know it wasn't gonna be a problem.
"When he got to the joke about square white people at hiphop shows, he said, 'I can't do my funny Jewish thing after this,' and said he didn't need a warm-up act. So I didn't go on."
Barman has a different take.
"I can't believe you're asking me about that kid in Toronto," he shouts down his cell while driving through the Rockies. "This isn't some kind of prank, is it?
"Right before I went on, the promoter (Dan Burke) said this stand-up comedian was going to open for me. Well, no one ever told me about it. So I asked to hear some of his jokes and he broke out a standard school notebook. So I snatched it away and said, 'Dude, don't tell me your jokes aren't memorized.' He told me it's part of his shtick and started reading his stuff about Tupac getting shot in the balls and Jerry Seinfeld's uncircumsized penis, but there were no punchlines!
"It was just dumb middle-school shock tactics, and that sucks. I didn't want to be mean, so I just said, 'I don't want you opening for me.' But I still can't believe we're even discussing this -- it's what I call a non-troversy!"
Flannagan thinks that he got the last laugh.
"After all that, his performance was kinda dull. Halfway through it, he stopped someone video taping him 'cause he was worried it might turn up on the Internet. That's so anal. I think most people there wound up hating him."
the donnas, november 6
After openers Your Enemies' Friends got held up at the border, local glam rockers Cheerleader stepped in to rile up the Donnas' crowd at the Opera House with a set of raunchy New York Dolls-style tunes. As always when the Cheerleader squad's onstage, you can count on at least one Intergalactic Rock Star lurking nearby, and sure enough, there was Robin Black (looking like an exotic bird in a fluffy marabou-ish peacoat), rapt during his disciples' set.
Black lost interest when the Donnas came on, and who can blame him? The girls are cute and their searing garagey bluster got the studded-belted audience dancing. But the hooky melodies and chugging faux-metal guitar riffs were indistinguishable from one another, despite their purported stylistic departure on new disc Spend The Night. And the constant praise of the "amazing" audience was a bit much.
aimee mann, november 8
It was a surprise to see dour damsel Aimee Mann in high spirits throughout her Friday-night set at the Palais Royale. Perhaps her dinner engagement with comic artist Seth (which led to a 30-minute delay in her start time) had something to do with her chipper mood, or maybe it was the packed house of buttoned-down boomers getting jiggy with Mann's tunes. Clad in a severe shirt 'n' tie combo, Mann even made a few goofy jokes mocking her ascot-wearing guitarist's "Charles Nelson Riley" ensemble and responding to one dude's desperate request for the obscure Baby Blue with a teasing "What, is that the new Freebird?"