I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Coming off the Garden State Parkway, Pam and me had followed the GPS through a maze of dark residential streets. We rounded the corner onto Van Houten Avenue to find the street in front of the Dingo’s Den choked with bodies and motorcycles. This tiny place was hosting the Hells Angels Winter Party?
We eased the truck past, found parking several blocks away, walked back. A passing outbound girl warned that it was “very, very crowded and hot” inside. “As long as the beer’s cold,” I thought. We pressed on.
Inside was packed. And loud. But service was good and soon we were in the back near the band, beers in hand. It had been quite a while since I’d been in a club like this. Dark, dirty, jammed with people, fleeting smells – some recognizable and some not – and seriously loud. The kind of loud that required shouting over, and even then… I missed it. A lot.
We only had the time to take in two of the four bands. Ghost & the Big Sky was first. Very good, tight drums & bass with competent guitar work. Then Trailer Park Mafia. Their 70s/80s metal renditions were instantly familiar. They did a blazing version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.
Soon enough it was time to go. Somehow, the outside world seemed much, much quieter.