Archive for September 28, 2010

I love Mehanata Bulgarian Bar. Last summer was my first time there, and although basement-turned-sauna was as miserable as it gets, seeing Outernational for five weekends  in a row  shaped the experience at the venue into purely positive. Besides, the bar represents, supports, and showcases international music, a fun alternative to the usual Lower East Side hipster scene.

Arriving early, I met with a  friend of mine and discovered that Outernational had “graduated” from the basement to the ground level.  Laser beams flickered green and pink, spraying dashes  and dots over the surface of the room as Gogol Bordello,who Outnerational will be playing with in New Orleans in two weeks, blasted from the speakers. Being the first two to arrived, we were put to work; there was not a pre-determined door person, so we volunteered for the task, dividing the duties and feeling slightly empowered. Plus, I felt super cool with my obnoxiously bright “bouncer” flash light.  Initially, it seemed like a simple task, but one guest list soon divided into four different parties (Couch Surfing, Comedy Central, bachelorette, birthday…) besides the show, and everyone had names with fourteen syllables. It was truly an international house.  Meanwhile, Outernational treated the growing crowd to an acoustic set, encouraging the audience to dance, stomp, clap, and shout along. The best aspects of acoustic sets are the clarity of each instrument and  lyrics, which are the keys to appreciating ON, who are passionate musicians and protest poets.  They serenaded and stood up with originals, “Sir No Sir,” “Whirlwinds,” “Que Queremos,” Underground” (new!), and “Fighting Song,”  “and some covers,  like Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees.” Thanks to the band, the packed house was finally in the dancing mood, just in time for DJ Uproot Andy to take over. For the next four hours, heavy Latin beats, remixes of  some hip hop staples, and Eurohouse vibes swelled as  the tropical humidity, BAC, adrenaline, and numbers pouring into the bar rose exponentially.

Taking a short break, I attempted to take some band photos on our favorite stoop on Ludlow before proceeding to an apartment junk food party to recharge. returning to Mehanata around closing to pick up some remaining gear, a spontaneous jam session broke out bewteen Mintek and a trumpet player friend of the band’s for an “after hours” style party.

Remember, Outernational will be heading down to Atlanta, October 7 and New Orleans, October 8  with  the one and only Gogol Bordello. If you’re around, I envy you.

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