They Raided the Joint

part five

Now, there's nothing more annoying than trying to play, and realizing the bartender has left the club's prerecorded music playing. This gig did that concept one better—you could hear the thundering roar of the upstairs band at all times, even while we were playing.

We were downstairs, no one in the audience, trying desperately to take the 'A' train, while the Crazy Horse brand of Top Forty Hard Rock was thumping and There appeared to be some sort of commotion... Then, our tiny 
audience split, in a hurry.droning in the background. A Swing connoisseur's listening experience it wasn't.

This went on for about a half an hour. A few curious people wandered in, maybe three. We were bravely carrying on, knowing we wouldn't even cover the gas money for the trip, when the oddest thing happened. At first, there appeared to be some sort of commotion between the bartender and manager. Then, our tiny audience of three split, in a hurry. That's when we saw the curious faces of two uniformed DC Police officers and one plain clothes officer peering down from atop the back staircase, the one physical connection between the upstairs and downstairs. Their faces wore a look of amused curiousity.

It seems that while we were playing our cutsie little swing-thing downstairs, the cops were busting in upstairs, hauling people away, shutting the place down. Spandex-clad rockers scattered like cockroaches while the unlucky few holding drugs and those guilty of being underage were treated to a dose of DC's finest due process.

Meanwhile, Beneath it All, with its different name and entrance, and its peculiar band playing nice, harmless music to no one, just didn't fit the mold. We didn't connect with the sin busily being eradicated upstairs.

The police looked around, listened for a couple seconds, shrugged their shoulders, and left.

We didn't bother to finish the song. We hopped off the 'A' train and commenced the fastest break-down/load-out in history, twenty minutes top to bottom. We were out of there so fast our last notes were still reverberating off the empty club's cinderblock walls as our 1971 GMC Van Dura belched its familiar blue smoke down Route 29 on our way back to Charlottesville.

t h e  e n d


Hear Long John Baldry sing Dan Burley's They Raided The Joint via RealAudio, courtesy of Stony Plain Records.