, attached to 1989-12-15

Review by Wilcs

Wilcs I'm going to review this show not because I was there, but because I managed to stumble upon this show and never knew they played this venue, and I cannot believe how cool it is that the boys once played this venue that I love, and I bet a lot of people don't even know what it is, so I'm going to set the stage a little bit for anyone who might care to read this. This ain't your typical phish venue, and this ain't your typical review. Hope you enjoy, and if not, whatever, you suck.

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Its a cold day in the Ukraine. I've never been there, but I hear it's a little chilly. But you're OK. Cause you've escaped. You're tucked inside a warm, cozy, homey, inviting restaurant. A place that can hold about 30-40 people, max. Old wood paneling. Red and white middle european tapestries and random art on the wall. Gorgeous blonde waitresses...

There's no kitchen staff.. just a few bubbies/grandmas in the back, just doing their thing. And their "thing" is to make the most bomb-ass goodness you've ever had. Stewed meats so tender you don't even need to chew, mixed with piles of delicious, fresh from the garden vegetables, in a sauce that hits your belly and makes you feel like Icculus himself is giving you a hug from the inside-out. And then there's the pierogis....with onions and sour cream of course. Just do it.

Now imagine this goodness is not in the Ukraine but in the middle of New York City, tucked inside a nondescript building in the East Village. (And for those of you unfamiliar, the East Village ain't even the same zip code as Madison Square Garden, up-town a few miles. That place is a mega-mall compared to the EV. Shit gets real here. Or at least it used to...)

So you're sitting at this little gem of a restaurant (that you have to actually walk through an office building to get into)....it's December. December 15th. December 15th 1989. It's a Friday. It's cold as shit...Average temp on the day was 28 degrees. Low of 16. (holy shit the internet has a lot of random info out there.)

Everyone is looking forward to christmas next week.

But not you. You don't care about anything except the plate of lamb goulash you're about to bury your face in.


There's some music starting up...

and waddya know...there's a little function room in the back of the restaurant.... Think, community meeting hall. Or a function room at an out-dated church or temple...

A band is playing. A bluesy band. A bluesy, traveling-sounding band. With a sick harmonica. Interesting.

And what's this now? "Take the A Train?" That song my grandpa used to play on the piano? What band would play such a song? But a sick, upbeat, jazzy version with a ripping solo by every member of the band?

You ask the waitress..."What's going on back there?"

"There? Oh...um...The fish!" she exclaims.

"The who?"

"No, not The Who, the fish!" she says. She shrugs and walks away after refilling your water (she's on her A-game).

You're a little intrigued, but far more fascinated by the steaming hot bowl of borscht, stuffed cabbage smothered with gravy, kielbasa, and kasha varnishes you just ordered. Food for 4, for 1. Standard.

So you eat. And you drink (cause it's BYOanything and you came prepared).

But that music...that music keeps getting weirder and weirder...and then you realize....it's also getting BETTER AND BETTER.

Is that guy saying "Golgi?" As in the organelle found in most eukaryotic cells that was identified in 1897 by the Italian physician Camillo Golgi and named after him in 1898?

You eat a little more. You pack it in. Cause you're at the Ukrainian National Home and that's what you do.

But now you have to see this fish for yourself. So you head back to that little function room, and HOLY SHIT! There's like 200 people crammed in there. They must have come in through a separate entrance.

And holy shit! This band is awesome. They fucking rock. Sick jam after sick jam. And their fans? They are pretty OK too. I am hooked on the fish!


So I wasn't at this show,but I love this restaurant and love this band and can only dream of both co-existing at the same timeplace in the space- time continuum. I'd like to hear from someone who witnessed it firsthand. To think that the guys I have only seen at massive amphitheaters, arenas, and stadiums once played the tiny function room at one of my favorite local restaurants really makes me happy...

And I LOL at the Contact banter.


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