Friday, August 2, 2019

Dylan Hensley, Supergenius

Denise and I went off in opposite directions tonight. She headed out to Coney Island with  a bunch of her friends from the WLIR Facebook Group to see the Lost '80s show, with Flock of Seagulls headlining, and a bunch of other acts like Boys Don't Cry, Real Life, Martha Davis (of The Motels), When in Rome's Farrington and Mann, Dramarama, and maybe Bow Wow Wow. (They're listed on the event poster, but Denise hasn't texted about them yet.) I don't go places where I'm unsure about the parking, so I passed on this one. (Although I wouldn't have minded seeing The Motels and The Vapors, and I've always loved Flock, even though I've seen them before.)

But it worked out for me, because tonight, I had the chance to travel back to the late '90s instead. That's because a few weeks back, Denise mentioned that she'd seen on Facebook that Supergenius was doing a reunion show right here in Patchogue, at 89 North. I put it on my calendar, and to tell the truth, I've been pretty psyched about it. Over the last two days, I've been listening to my old Supergenius EPs, Product3 and We.

They were scheduled as part of a weekly Friday night event held at the club called the Sceneless Scene Showcase. They feature tables with arts and crafts for sale, face and body painting, tarot readings, and live original music.They're hosted by a fellow named Maxwell Peters of Planet of Sound Promotions. They remind me of some of the events held back in the LIMC Days at that club in Levittown whose name I'm blanking on, which I'll doubtlessly remember in my sleep tonight at about 3AM. In any event, the man is doing the work of the angels, and I completely approve. (Editor's Note: Got it, and it only took an hour! The Munchaba Lounge!)

I headed out late, at about 8:30, as Supergenius was scheduled to go on at 9PM. I parked in the exact same spot I'd parked in last weekend for the Jon Anderson concert (which will very possibly be the same spot I park in Sunday night for the Asia show), and headed into the club.

They gave me one of those annoying wristbands when I walked in, even though I promised I wouldn't be drinking alcohol. It lasted all of about 5 minutes before I tore it off. (I hate those damned things! They always rip out clumps of my wrist hair.)

When I entered, the bar was pretty packed, but the showroom itself had some open seats. I worked my over to the bar, despite the crowd, and picked up a bottle of water. Only 3 bucks. Not bad!

Now this is only the third time I've ever been in the club, mostly, I think, because they usually don't offer reserved seating. (And if I don't know for sure I'm getting a seat, I'm usually not going). My daughter and I saw Andy Black there about two years ago. And a few months back, one of the kids whose adoption I had worked on in my day job was performing there on a Sunday afternoon School of Rock kind of deal.

It's a really nice club. It's small enough to be intimate, but nice enough that a band wouldn't feel funny inviting their parents there.

I entered the show room, and headed up to the balcony (or whatever the hell they call it. It's a raised area in the back of the club with tables.) I grabbed a table dead center stage, and settled in.

As I entered, I caught the last few songs of a 3-piece playing under the name of Dylan Hensley. At first, I kind of classified them in my head as a jam band, but I think that was just because of the drummer's hippyish kind of look. I caught them playing a cover of Sublime's "Santeria", then closing with a somewhat loungy/trippy original. There were some people dancing at the back of the room, and they seemed to go over pretty well. I honestly didn't get to hear enough of them to tell you more about them.

Supergenius was next up. I watched them set up, Gina in a tight, black sequined body suit, Craig wearing black, Chris with head shaven (and at some point, sporting a pair of devil horns), and curly-haired Steve on the drums. It took me back to all of the shows I'd seen them play in the late '90s and early 2000s. Countless shows at The Spot on the campus of SUNY Stony Brook. That big club in Northport where they'd play'd the Long Island Musical Festival (a few months before the place got shut down by the cops for hosting Monday Night Football Parties with plentiful hookers). The night Gina wore a saran wrap top to the finals of the LIMF. And the infamous time they played a Long Island Music Coalition show for me at the Wrong Way Inn in Amityville, where Gina's somewhat loose top fell off, and she couldn't catch it in time because both of her hands were on the guitar. Good times. Good times.

In the years since, Gina has had some success as a solo artist, hitting the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream chart with her single "Keep On", and Craig went on to play for awhile in the fine local band Half Circle Drive. I'm not sure what the rest of the band has been up to, but it was nice to see them back together again.

By the time they were ready to go on, the main room had filled out. I'd say there between 60 and 80 people there, a nice crowd, but not so packed that it was uncomfortable.

A News 12 personality whose name I unfortunately didn't catch (but who was obviously a big fan of the band back in the day) introduced them, and off they went, tearing into one of their faster, rockier tunes, "Once Charmed". They played a number of their older songs, such as "Three" (which Gina said was the first song that Craig wrote that she'd ever written lyrics for), and a song called "Dramatic", which I think she said was the first song she'd ever written when she was first learning to play guitar. They also played a few of my favorites, "Shh", and "The Moon". By the next-to-last song, Gina was stage diving (and good work to the guys who successfully caught her). They closed out their set with another fast-paced song that I've always liked (which I think is called "Lock and Key", but unfortunately, it's not on one of the EPs that I have, so I'm not 100% sure of the title.)

In the old days, I would have hung out and caught another band or two. But tomorrow is the one Saturday a month I have to be at a meeting for work in Queens at 9AM, so I decided I'd better not. I made my way up to the side of the stage just to say a quick hello to Craig. Then I made my way out of the room and across the parking lot back to my car. I was home before 10:30PM, pulling into the driveway just as Denise was texting me that Flock of Seagulls was going on next.

All in all, it was great to see Supergenius back together again. I hope they don't wait 20 years the next time -- I'll be 82!