Carlie and I have been looking for an excuse to go to Club Diablo for a while now. It’s just so enticing every time we drive by it. The glowing, burning red lights. The foreboding moniker, like it should only be spoken in that Linda Blair “your mother sucks cocks in hell” voice. So you can imagine my reaction when Sister E tells me that this band she knows is playing downtown Thursday night, at “Diablo-something or other?” Club Diablo, your time has come.
Club Diablo is way smaller than I thought it would be. I don’t know if I was expecting this vast cavern of a place like the From Dusk Til Dawn bar or something, but it was actually pretty cozy. And, truthfully, pretty cool, too. I was worried with a name like Club Diablo that it would attract the poseur Goth crowd like . . . Goths to a flame? Is that too cheesy a line? Anyway, no poseur Goths, just some actual Goths, who were more interested in chilling out and having a good time than getting their Lestat on and staring at me like they’re preparing to draw blood with their incisors. Good, chill mix of a crowd, too - the leather-clad and face-studded mixed with the plaid-shorts-wearers and the hoop-earrings-and-minis crowd. I could hang there.
The very first thing I noticed about Club Diablo was that all the TV monitors were playing this DVD of “He-Man and the Masters of The Universe.” The TV show, not the movie. If it was simply the movie – in all its Dolph Lundgren-meets-Courtney Cox glory – I might have simply felt a fondness for Club Diablo. But the cartoon TV show had me wondering whether George Bush had outlawed marriage between a man and a dramatically named drinking establishment, because I was in loooove.
Club Diablo has the most comfortable sofas and lounges I’ve ever sat in. They’re these plush red suede dealies, and I was totally eyeing up how I could possibly steal them. Then I thought better of earning the ire of Club Diablo. Club Diablo also provides complimentary Diablo-head rub-on tattoos. Attempted application of said tattoo on my neck was unsuccessful. Attempted application of tattoo on the inside of my forearm was more successful, although a chunk of Diablo’s face didn’t make the transfer, which actually makes it look creepier. Now I have Hideously Scarred At Birth or Possibly Disfigured in Fight With Archangel Diablo face on my arm.
The forearm tattoo naturally spurs a discussion of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, which leads to Carlie, JL, and I reminiscing about the Golden Age of Nickelodeon, which included Pete and Pete, Welcome Freshmen, Salute Your Shorts, and the seminal Canadian teen soap Fifteen.
Sister E shows up and introduces us to the band, whose manager had already earned a tip of my cap for deferring the barmaid to me when he knew I’d been waiting longer. Sister E also manages to slap my sun-charred arm a good half-dozen times, with only the first couple being accidental. This is the thanks I get for not smothering her with a pillow when she was an infant?
Navar is quite good, I must say. I’d like to listen to their album to get a better sense of the lyrics, but overall I was very impressed. They pulled off an improbable Fine Young Cannibals cover that improved upon the original in every way. They also offered a kicky rendition of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” JL and I agreed that the lead singer’s suit jacket was “very Beck.” And the drummer was rocking a Taylor Hawkins vibe that I quite enjoyed.
Club Diablo’s hand stamps will wipe off of your hand quite easily. You’ll want to be mindful of that when you pop outside for a cig.
After the show, Sister E, K-Wish, and I bid Club Diablo a fond farewell. We head on over to Area 42 where we arrive in time to see the Tragically Hip cover band packing up their gear. Thank god they remembered to charge us the cover. The DJ played some good stuff in the short time we were there, although an unfortunate tendency towards Good Charlotte nearly marred the Killers/Joan Jett/Blondie triple bill that had played so well.
We leave after one drink, but not before Sister E gets subjected to the absolute worst pickup story in the history of history. Seems this guy with a hideously faked-up accent is an exchange student from South Africa. It’s his last night in America (red flag #1). His friends abandoned him (red flag #2), and he can’t remember the way back to the hotel (red flag #3), if only she could walk him there (DING! DING!). Oh, and apparently, in the three minutes Sister E talked to him, she was the most important thing that had happened to him “while he’s been in America.” We left before he could add that he’s being shipped off to war tomorrow, and that he’s dying of consumption and only has a few days to live
That sort of thing would never have happened at Club Diablo.