Frigg-a-Go-Go in the Mangina

Three more Mardi Gras stories before returning to the other world where gold pieces are ample and encounters more often end in melee’:

One of the underrated bands of my New Orleans experience is certainly Frigg-a-Go-Go. Anyone who saw them play would not underrated them, but when the majority of those shows were in front of ten to twelve people, that leaves a pretty fair amount of the American listening public to do the underrating. Frigg-a-Go-Go for a long while had the honor of being the band I’d seen the most times. I think they topped the list at 13 times seen, only to be beaten out recently by Goatwhore, who is also a New Orleans band but one that is still active. Frigg pretty much had it all going for them: a Prince-sized powerhouse of a singer/guitar player who occasionally wore a half cape; an organist and bassist who dressed in fine suits; a drummer who beat out a mean double-time go-go beat while wearing a bondage mask and diapers. Too fast for the garage crowd, too 60s-drenched for the punkers, A-Go-Go sure put on a show. I saw them at the Dixie Tavern one Mardi Gras; it was memorable for a couple reasons. One is that Frigg-a-Go-Go had a following of attractive women who went to the shows and their presence quadrupled the amount of women who ever set foot in the Dixie. Two was it was the first time I ever saw someone rock their organ over while playing. Then I got to know Ultra, and it became an everyday occurrence. Longtime friend Kenneth will vouch for the awesome power of this band, and that guy is reliable source.

I saw Eyehategod show on Lundi Gras one year right when they were getting back together. I was never much of a listener; I liked them name obviously, but the music was a bit too slow for my spastic self. Although I will give them credit for sounding evil; when someone puts on Eyehategod, no one is going to think “This person is on their way to church” or “This person is supportive of conservative values.” When Eyehategod comes on, the choices are more likely “Whose house am I going to torch” or “That person is likely to put glass in my sandwich.” I think the show was in the old Shim Sham Club because I distinctly remember looking down on the crowd from some vantage point and seeing a mass of hair, heads, sweat, beads, and violence going on beneath me. I also remember thinking, “So this is why they hate us.”

Apropos to violence, I would be remiss if I did not talk about Mangina, the band that brought the violence back to power violence. To be accurate Mangina considered themselves to be a black metal power violence band. Part of Mangina’s gimmick was that the audience got the punch and otherwise attack the lead singer, a tall, gangly chap named Matt. But the trade off for being able to attack the band was that the band got to attack back. Matt loved to taunt the local skinheads about being gay, so team skinhead started to show up to Mangina shows hoping for their chance to beat Matt. But what more frequently happened was that Matt would get punched several times, then the guitarist and bass player would drop their instruments and jump in. What made the tactic so effective was that no one, Matt included, knew when the jump in was going to happen. Also, the bassist only wore a metal cup in the form of a skull and nipple chains on stage. When that guy jumped into the fray, there was going to be trouble. I ended up doing lights for several Mangina shows, including one during Mardi Gras at The Spellcaster Lounge, which is essentially a basement in a 9th Ward house. There were a lot of people at this show, but I do not think that many of these people were informed as to the nature of Mangina. Most of them were there to see the hip-hop act or the garage act or something else, but certainly not the act where the band was going to fight people and potentially smash the multiple televisions they brought with them.  Mangina begins playing and things start going according to plan, by which I mean, people begin to punch Matt, Matt begins to punch people, and the band begins to play stuff like Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor” or Mangina’s “Three Reichs You’re Out.” At some point in the next thirty minutes, a guy got his leg broken in the pit, Matt got his upper thigh bit by some crusty’s dog, the guitarist smashed a couple TV sets with a bat, three of my strobe lights got destroyed and the police showed up to stop the show because no one else could. Then I took some pills and rode my bike home. Now that’s Mardi Gras.

One good time

One good time

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