By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Come, if you dare, and peer into a strange divergent universe: a formal-optional prom with no power ballads or jocks or chaperones, where the burnouts and geeks rule, and the music rocks, and nobody worries about renting a limousine. No need for that hip flask, either -- all the punch at this dance is already spiked.
Don't start sighing with melancholy at the impossibility of such a beautiful dream. This alternate reality will overlap with our own for a fleeting moment at the Way Out Club as local rock & roll impresaria Nancy Catalina brings us the First Annual Rock & Roll Prom. All the trad trappings will be in place -- a king and queen, their loyal court, a most triumphal photo arch, a big cake -- but with more shit-sharp style than any high school will allow. Sheila and DebbaSue Mikles (of local horny-rock ensemble the Misses) will employ their unique charms to emcee the event. Catalina aims to make the prom a yearly to-do under the umbrella of her Pro-Vel Records imprint.
By now, you're probably thinking, "If it's a prom, me and my main squeeze will need a soundtrack for our furious making-out." That aspect of things is amply taken care of. Not only will beloved local broadcasting legend Jeff Hess (of KDHX-FM's Afternoon Delight) be spinning discs, but two wild out-of-town bands on the Pro-Vel roster will storm the stage. The Bamboo Kids come from New York City bearing thick, gnarled chunks of guttural garage pop. On their better tunes, such as "Caught in NYC," they lay Stonesy guitar riffs and vocal harmonies over rock-steady Clash-style punk rhythms. Milwaukee band Bleed prowls a similar alley, but with greater fidelity to '60s R&B and less melody. Don't be fooled by the metal-sounding moniker.
Good as the bands are, they're only one bloom in a full corsage of unsavory rock & roll fun. Time to order your boutonniere from the neighborhood florist; this is one prom night you won't want to spend sobbing desperately in your bedroom.