Return to the Lost Continental

The ContinentalLive music makes a surprise return to New York City dive bar-turned-shot palace the Continental on Jan. 17 with a star-studded Rock & Roll Reunion — featuring a guest appearance on two tunes from our fave frontman, Handsome Dick Manitoba.

The Continental, along with CBGB’s (RIP) and Coney Island High (RIP), was once a highlight of the East Village’s Punk Rock Club Circuit; however, unlike the other two spots, the Continental has remained, at least, a drinking establishment (and not a high-end clothing store) since it changed its business model in September 2006. But now it’s merely a place to drink and get drunk, and not a place to drink and get drunk while watching the Waldos.

As we gear up for the reunion next Sunday night — remember that the next day is a holiday, so you can stay out late — we at the DFFD Blog take a look back at the big show that closed out the club’s first chapter on Sept. 17, 2006.

A report from SugarBuzz Magazine on that final night discussed being confronted with the “mammoth power and energy” of the Handsome Dick Manitoba Band, consisting of HDM and the members of Thunderboss (aka Ross the Boss, J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson and bassist Dean Rispler):

Despite the one-off nature of this lineup, they were tight, shit-hot and need I say LOUD as they straddled the line between Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom and the Dictators, opening with “The Party Starts Now!” (no shit cause the mother erupted!).

Read the rest and check out some photos at SugarBuzz Magazine.

— DFFD123

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3 Comments

Filed under HDM, Live Review

3 responses to “Return to the Lost Continental

  1. Adam

    I posted this review on another board:

    The Continental, a dive of a place that really does not exist in New York anymore, had a reunion last night with over 8 hours of music. If you are not familiar with the place it is a bar on St. Mark’s Place which is a throwback to what New York used to be like. Dirty, skanky, politically incorrect, and with absolutely no pretensions. It was a neighborhood place along with Coney Island High which had music every night until the owner, Trigger, decided to throw it in three years ago. The difference was he did not close the place but just decided to run it as a bar as it was a lot cheaper than running it as a music venue. Now if you ever passed the place, Trigger is the guy who sits out front with a Non Quai Tal hat on (I had to look it up). Pretty unique look if you ask me and one that you cannot miss.Tons of punk and hardcore bands played this place ranging from Iggy Pop, Johnny Thunder, the Dictators, Joey Ramone and the list goes on endlessly. The only bar that maintains the spirit of the Continental is Trash in Williamsburg which has the same booking philosphy (Walt Stack who plays with the Bullys and booked the Continental books Trash).

    I have memories of seeing many shows there. But the one show that summed up the spirit of the place was one I saw with my friends headlining, Mitch Gannon. Mitch Gannon was a trio doing rockabilly. Kind of a band that you convince yourself is good because you know the guys in it. There were maybe about 20 people in the place. But there was an opener, with a skinny white guy and a black woman just playing acoustic guitars. They did an unbelievable version of the Who’s, A Quick One with just their voices and their two guitars. Something I will never forget due to how difficult the song is and that only the Continental would book them. When you are running live music every night, you are going to get your share of awful and good along with the eclectic and that is what that act represented that night.

    As a reunion, it was a six degree of separation as almost every band had its roots in the original punk movement in New York. I got there at 9 when Two Man Advantage came on. Two Man Advantage came out of the Continental and they have a hockey gimmick where the band wears hockey jerseys (with the band logo on it) and most of them wear goalie masks. Straight up punk and it was a good start with moshing going on. The moshing was not too bad with one exception which I will discuss later.

    By the way, each band was limited to 6-7 songs and the set changes were very quick. The Bullys came on next and having seen them many times, it seems like Two Man Advantage was tough to follow up. Johnny Heff was a member of the Bullys and was also a firefighter. He died on 9/11 and the Continental ran a bunch of tribute shows to him. The Bullys sing about sluts, fast food, being broke and have a great lead vocalist in Joey Lanz. They played a couple of times with Joey Ramone and participated in his Birthday bash several times as well.

    Trigger’s All Stars were up next with Jesse Malin, and Walt Stack, among others with Trigger himself. Damn, if I did not know that Trigger played an instrument. Pretty much did covers of some surprising songs (Roadhouse Blues, Midnight Rambler) along with some not so surprising (I Want To Be Sedated, Train In Vain). Jesse sang the last two and he was fine. But it was a fun set of covers with Steve Conte of the NY Dolls coming up to sing Midnight Rambler.

    Walter Lure came out with the Waldo’s. Lure played with Johnny Thunders in the Heartbreakers and had his own band for many years. After his music career, he became a stock broker and did very well. This is a smart guy as when he plays he has guys from Japan come out to play with him and they pay him to be able to play.. One guys is a Johnny Thunders clone and they were one of the best acts of the evening. There were classics like Get Off The Phone, Chinese Rocks, One Track Mind and Born To Lose performed with the passion and energy that the Heartbreakers used to do and without Johnny nodding out on stage (which I saw him do many times).

    Lenny Kaye came on and for me, Lenny is hit and miss as a lead singer. I remember seeing him at the closing night of the Continental and thought he was real boring. Tony Shanahan of Patti Smith’s band usually plays bass with Lenny but Lenny had a surprise last night. He played as a trio with the band who he did his solo work with in the late 70’s and 80’s. Really good doing I Got A Right, one song he wrote with Jim Carroll (I wish I remembered the name but I saw them do it together around 15 years ago at Brownie’s) and finished off with Gloria. Short set which was for the better given the limitations of his voice.

    CJ Ramone came out and did a Ramones tribute set with Daniel Rey who both played the Continental many times with different bands. Rey wrote songs with Joey Ramone for the first solo act and had toured with CJ in Europe before. Think of it as the best Ramones cover band you ever heard. Rey plays guitar the way Johnny did strumming down all the way. Interestingly enough CJ did almost all Dee Dee songs only doing Poisoned Heart and My Back Pages from when he was in the band. Handsome Dick Manitoba came out and did a rollicking version of Rockaway Beach.

    Cheetah Chrome then performed with the Blackhearts (who play with Joan Jett) doing a set of Dead Boys songs. It got kind of interesting here as Handsome Dick came out and did the lead vocals on Sonic Reducer. The place was ridiiculously packed and I was right in front of the stage with some friends, many of whom, I have not seen in years. During Sonic Reducer, some guy who weights about 240-250 pounds decides to rush to the front of the stage and mosh. Now there is a code with moshing which is you try not to intentionally hurt anyone (unless they are your friend) and this guy has no code. He is just flailing around pushing people down and starting to piss people off. He pushed me almost to the ground, and I came close to losing it. I throw myself at his chest putting my forearm and pinning him to the stage and we are wrestling without throwing punches. I am pretty clear about not wanting to throw punches for legal reasons unless he punches me first. We go at it for about a minute with Cheetah getting pissed at him for hitting his guitar. I get pulled off of him, things are cool for a moment, and then he does his crap again and we are at it again. I see three guys behind me grab him and walk him out toward the back.

    My neighbor Beef, who I used to give tapes to of Television and the Dead Boys when he was a kid, is the drum tech for the Thommy Price of the Blackhearts and who has toured with Joan Jett for several years, sees this and is ready to go after the guy. Not for the reason you think. Turns out the guy works with him at SIR studios and is friends with Beef. Needless to say, we see each other afterwards as I was going to share a cab with Beef and he is babbling about me not being cool and why I am jumping on him. He was too drunk to explain what an asshole he was.

    After Cheetah’s set, Beef and I go down to the dressing room to hang out with the Blackhearts who honestly are a bit full of themselves. It is a common room but they isolate themselves in a corner having no contact except with each other. I say hello to them and hang out with my friend Mike who used to play in a band that opened up for the Dead Boys several times and had a deal on Sire. We have not seen each other in three years. It is 3:00 in the morning and we decide to skip the last act which were the Sea Monsters. But it was 6 hours of great fun. Trigger threw a great party and like he said, one show a year is good enough for him.

  2. DFFD123

    Thanks so much for the review, Adam. You painted a great picture of the evening. Glad it was a cool night (except for that one dude).

  3. Mike Mindless

    Hi Adam, cool review. The Jim Carroll song Lenny did was “Still Life”. Best I’ve seen Lenny since the 80s. He also played Luke The Drifter, a song he wrote for Hank Williams, which is my favorite of his. The screwed up thing is the guy who attacked you is someone I’ve known forever too. Don’t know what was up that night, but he sure pissed a lotta folks off. Great night all around, even if my batteries were crapping out during Cheetah’s set. And to set the record straight, I worked for the Dead Boys & Stiv Bators’ Wanderers as a roadie in 1981, and Cheetah solo thru 1983. The band you mentioned (Skulls) didn’t happen til ’85, and we have 2 LPS on NJ’s own Buy Our Records. And yes I got the back of your head in another of my videos:) Later, M

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