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Nell's Night Club -- New York (June 9, 1998)

By: Bernadette Giacomazzo

The night got off to an interesting start. My cousin was more worried about her Volkswagen Jetta than her makeup (and had her nose in the air the whole night), I got hit on by a Harvard yuppie, and didn't realize I had no underwear on until I took my jacket off.

So there I was, scotch on the rocks in hand, trying to pull my skirt down below my knees, deciding if I should first hit the conceited yuppie or the even more conceited cousin, begging the bartender for a pen (and succumbed to writing this review in Revlon Lipstick #75: Blackberry), and struggling to stifle braying laughter. Then I decided to have fun in spite of these strange and unusual circumstances; after all, I was there to see someone I'm always happy to see (and no, I'm not talking about my cousin), and hey! I'm writing for In Music We Trust! So there!

Anyway, once I sat back and relaxed, I had a blast. Granted, r'n'b/funk isn't really my bag, but this wasn't a typical night.

Nor, I should add, is this Karaoke Night. Yes, the standards were sung (cf. "Respect," "My Heart Will Go On," Jungle Boogie."), but the overall aim of this night is to exhibit new, undiscovered talent. And boy, you'd better be talented. There's no such thing as "polite applause" here, and there isn't the campy Scuttles the Clown or the rude "kick him to the curb!" shouts either, but you can tell what sank and what swum among the audience.

Speaking of the audience, there was a mixed bag there as well: old and young; in every shade of every color in the visible light spectrum; male, female, and not-quite-sure; writers, actors, comedians, DJ's, garbage collectors; famous, infamous, notorious, and nobody's. One of my favorites was a man, approximately 75 years old, who got onstage and danced to any song that rocked his groove. The live band, average age 30, was talented enough, though I didn't catch the name.

Two of the evening's highlights was a singer named Funky, from Seattle, and Rio, from(where else?) Brazil: both were charismatic, excited, and didn't miss even one note. Very impressive.

The last Tuesday of every month is Gospel Night(if you're so inclined towards that sort of music), there's a $10 cover charge, and dress code is enforced(i.e., no construction boots, baggy jeans, or sneakers). Of course, you also have to be 21 years old. Should you make your way to my home-city, stop in on Tuesday nights to check out VOICES. Tell them Bitchy Spice sent you.

GRADE: A-. Very well established and planned. Definitely a hit.

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