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Joe's Prose: Bands display their wares in all-out ways

Let's face it guys, the sight -- maybe even more than the sound -- of a beautiful blonde rock singer in leather is enticing.

Especially if she's got a (fake) gun. This item tops the recent news from the Hudson nightlife scene.

But despite that just described cartoonish promo shot with the big pistol, the question remained: Can she sing?

It turned out that "Carly," the one-word name she goes by, frontwoman of the band Beautiful Trigger, has a pleasing, plaintive and sexy voice (think a slightly higher pitched Pat Benatar).

With all due respect to "Cat" of Scarlet Haze, and A.J. of Boogie Wonderland, it seems the new top temptress on the Dibbo's block -- and other top venues around the Twin Cities -- is Carly.

Manager Chuck McGee of Dibbo's said he remembered Carly from about three years ago, with the band Crush, which soon afterward broke up. A bit like election-year flip-flopping, he couldn't decide with finality during the evening which he liked best, "Trigger" or the opening act "27 years." As it turned out, before the end of the night, he had offered to have both acts back on stage at his place soon -- performing on the same night.

There was an odd mix of people who showed to see original singer Bruce Naumann of Hericane Alice, a big act from years back, team up with some of the members of area bands KV3 and Lifeforce to rock out to the Hericane's songs. Naumann was total high energy, and the overall band, which had requested that one of the venue's balconies be reserved, had a very hard sound. Their encore, Black Sabbath's War Pigs, did well to showcase Naumann's wailing vocals.

On both nights the side area was clear of people, and filled with stuff like drums while equipment set-up was taking place, but once that was done it filled up fast with listeners.

The last time that another national recording artist, Firehouse, played Dibbo's, people had to be turned away at the door because of the overflow crowd. For this show, people who bought tickets in advance were guaranteed admittance. This time around for the Valentine's Day show, people again turned out in droves and quite early, in part because patrons remembered opening act Crash Anthem from their days with the band Skywynd. Upon coming on stage, Firehouse teased the crowd with a few chords from "Back in Black" by AC/DC, and the crowd that had been hanging out in back pushed forward quickly.

Most recently, the drummer for Johnnie Hoodlum put on a vigorous show that was worth the price of admittance. He hit the skins with a power that is virtually never seen, and threw in flurries where he made creative use of his numerous cymbals. McGee, the Dibbo's manager, said that he was expected to become even more animated when he played with the next band to come on, the headliners Downtread.

In another of a series of posh parties held at Twisted, all the beautiful young people showed up in their little black dresses or tuxes for a "Black and White" semi-private party - although a couple of people said they didn't feel accepted in that kind of atmosphere.

An all-star offensive lineman with the Minnesota Vikings, Steve Huchinson, was seen dining at the Green Mill in Hudson with some of his teammates. Much like that, a local man has been making prize steaks and other food as a chef at Matty B's, a St. Paul restaurant owned by another prominent Viking lineman, Matt Birk.

In perhaps the first show of its kind in Hudson, nationally known comedians Matthew Lumpkin and Patrick Jolle bring their "Saints and Sinners" tour from Georgia to Dick's Bar on Friday at 7 p.m. Paul Kremer, Dick's owner, said he isn't quite sure what to expect, since the duo cold-called him to ask if they could perform here en route to a corporate gig in Austin, Texas. Dick's will provide a brand new stage and backdrop. Kremer asked what they would need, an hour or two, and one of men responded with exactness, "101 minutes."

A patron at Ellie's said that before changing careers and moving to Hudson, she was named the Georgia Bartender of the Year -- in part, possibly, because of the situations with which she had to deal. She worked at a bar in one of the rougher parts of Atlanta.

Speaking of Ellie's, it was the venue for a Guitar Hero competition hosted by the people at Ink Factory tattoos. Some who wielded the small plastic axes played while sitting in the same chair in which they waited for the start, which didn't come until brackets were set and written on sheets of paper with the "Hero" logo. "Mother" by Danzig was played by various musicians, in T-shirts for things such as Sevendust and South Park, for 30 minutes straight. One player hit more than 300 notes without a miss and some were bumped up to "expert" status, a prospect that didn't please everyone.

Tom Chipman, who lives on the other end of the Twin Cities, came to Hudson and spent much of his vacation at Pudge's, simply because it meant he could smoke while relaxing. Chipman said some parts of the experience reminded him of seeing an impromptu performance by Ozzy Osbourne a few decades ago, at a small club in Albany, N.Y., where the walls shook.

Guitarist Geno Zezza said he was in Stillwater when the owner of a music club asked him to fill in on a moment's notice, and that led to him doing a whole string of gigs straight over a few days. Sometimes there was more than one gig in a day, and not in the same city in the St. Croix River Valley.

In other short takes:

• A singer for "White Squirrel," a bunch of local guys who have been getting prominent gigs around the Twin Cities, does a really cool spin on his microphone stand like it's a pole for firemen.

• "Ruff" who hails from Europe and about a year ago did a one-time show at Twisted, where are you?

• A couple of acoustic musicians recently played while being draped with Confederate and U.S. flags. Don't know what to think about that.

• A young, blonde anchorwoman from the Twin Cities was "purchased" by a bachelor who bid thousands at a charity auction to win a date with her. Of all the places he could take her, what did he choose: Ballooning over the St. Croix River, of course.

• Another prominent TV news anchor, Joe Myer, has been regularly seen at Wal-Mart showing how to make those high-tech images -- using a run-of-the-mill, self-serve enlargement maker.

• A couple of local guys got together at Ellie's to plan a slightly high-brow tournament -- featuring the game of Scrabble and played at Bob Smith's Sports Club.

• The former bassist for "Deviant Distraction" had a bit of trouble when somebody stuck a wad of gum on a speaker. He responded by spinning off the stage and thrashing the chords of his guitar from the floor.

• When "13 Screwz" played last weekend, they had to go basically a cappella for a song while the bassist fixed a rip in the bass drum with, what else, duct tape.