In case you haven't seen it yet, this month's SPIN magazine has a feature called \College Life 101,"" in which the esteemed editors of the publication offer a nice, 500-word rundown of the choicest scene hangouts on various prominent college campuses across the country and'you guessed it'our fair city is covered, in the company of such fine college towns as Berkeley and Lawrence, Kan., ostensibly providing incoming students with a crib sheet of the hippest and hottest spots around town.
To be fair about it, SPIN did a pretty fair job, and proved to be no more clueless than, say, The Isthmus, and for that I commend them. But I really wouldn't be much of a columnist if I didn't take their choices on in my snide little way, would I?
SPIN chose B-Side, and I do as well. B-Side has provided well throughout my college career, more often than not having exactly what I'm looking for'they obviously take a great deal of pride and interest in their inventory. I'll never forget the day the beautiful Alex commended my purchase of Big Star's Radio City'I knew I was on the way to the top. Because they've been so nice, I won't mention how pathetic August's Sleater-Kinney/Spoon midnight sale was.
SPIN chose Youngblood Brass Band, a troupe that has been so thoroughly maligned on this page in the past that I'll spare them another go around. But, seriously, their sousaphone/turntable breakdowns are as bad as it gets. I'd pick Paris, TX before I'd pick them.
SPIN chose the infamous Club 770 which, indeed, often has very interesting bands of the caliber that you'd like to see but probably not pay for it. Occasionally there are exceptions, The Dismemberment Plan and Spoon being two of the higher-profile alumni. Unfortunately, there are inherent problems with having a reputable band play in a cafeteria, and trying to convince the scenesters to act like they're having a good time in such a wholesome scenario. I would personally pick The Annex: Even though the sound sometimes sucks, there's plenty to drink, and there's no backstage, which makes it difficult for people like Joe Pernice and Neko Case to avoid awkward post-show conversations with people like me.
SPIN chose Nick's'wrong, wrong, wrong. T'was a time when Nick's was a dark little retreat off of State Street with a real 45 jukebox, the only bar in town where goony freshmen could get away for a couple of Pabsts without being molested. Now, of course, Thursday nights at Nick's look like a Strokes fanclub meeting. Nick's still has a lot going for it: fantastic burgers and pie, and good coffee served in cool china teacups, but one thing Nick's doesn't have is drinks. Only rarely do I come across a drink mixed worse than it would be at Nick's. Wanna binge? Hit up the Paradise, plain and simple'drink specials may be a thing of the past, but I'm confident that the 'Dise will find a way to undercut the competition.
Smut 'n Eggs at Bennett's. ""Postmidnight"" covers a lot of ground, and I agree that Smut N Eggs is a real Madison treasure, but more as a novelty than a real regular plan. The food at Bennett's is truly subpar, and should I be down on Park Street at any given time, it'll be La Hacienda, hands down.
So, the moral? SPIN may have the lock on Details-esque expos??s of '80s backstage debauchery and the like, but they should leave local coverage to powerhouses like The Daily Cardinal's Scene staff'at least until the end of the year, when I'll be looking for gainful employment. Any takers?