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Continental Reunion

Plus, WBNY Alumni Weekend—a perfect weekend of nostalgia for hipsters of today and yesteryear

If you are one of the bands, DJs, scenesters, or attendees of the former Continental nightclub (212 Franklin Street near Chippewa, site awaiting development) planning to attend the club’s second reunion Saturday, April 26, at the Town Ballroom, but not 100 percent certain, know this: It will be your last chance to meet up in this setting for a while.

Following the success of last year’s first Continental reunion (nearly 1,000 people attended), Bud Redding and Hard Productions will present the second reunion. Doors will open at 7pm, with DJs spinning from the start, and the first band will hit the stage at 7:15pm. The DJ music will conclude at about 2am, although, like last year, the drinking is expected to proceed further into the morning. Jennifer Shanley Clark again worked with Redding on the reunion, coordinating merchandise and accommodations, among other efforts.

The bands/musicians performing, including some Continental classics, are: Bob James, 7:15pm; the Kevin K Band, 7:45pm; Johnny Revolting, 8:15pm; Pauline and the Perils, 8:45pm; Cowboys of Scotland, 9:15pm; Nullstadt, 9:45pm; Terry Sullivan, (the Jumpers, the Restless, the Celibates, Dollywatchers, the Headhunters), 10:15pm; Tension, 10:45pm; the Enemies, 11:15pm; Skinbound, 11:45pm, and Industry of Life Divine, 12:15 a.m. The DJs spinning music are: Paul Hojnowski, 7pm; Ken Wolf, 7:30pm; Philip Blum, 8:15pm; Ken Cox, 9pm; David Hall, 9:45pm; André Frazier, 10:30pm; Adrian Levesque, 11:15pm; Jeff Naughton, midnight, and Aaron Andrews, 12:45am.

Coincidentally (or not), the WBNY 91.3 FM Alumni Weekend will be held from Friday through Sunday, April 25-27; WBNY is where many of the bands playing the Continental reunion got their first exposure. Your humble author, a WBNY DJ from 1984 to 1985, will open the Alumni Weekend on the air, 9am-noon on Friday.

For the record, three original Perils will perform: Pauline Digati, vocals; Russell Steinberg, bass; and Jeff Helmick, saxophone and vocals. Two original Enemies, Fred Mann, vocals, and Peter Secrist, drums, will be on stage, and many original/longtime members of Nullstadt will perform: David Kane, keyboards; Donald Kinsman, vocals; Kent Weber, bass and vocals; and Greg Gizzi, drums/percussion.

“[Enemies front man/original member] Fred Mann has told me that this will be his final hurrah, his final live show, which really hits home because the Enemies were one of the first bands I saw and [late guitarist] Joe Bompczyk was a giant, both in person and behind the guitar. He made his Les Paul look like a ukulele,” Redding said. He added that one night, when he and a few friends went to see the Enemies playing at Gabel’s on Hertel, they were jumped. When Bompczyk and the Enemies came out and saw this, they chased the attackers to Delaware Park.

Redding explained why this year’s reunion would be the last for at least a few years. “Reunions are meant to be special events, and probably not more frequent than once every five years or so. I have decided that this is it for me and Continental reunions; maybe I’ll do it again in five years or so. It kind of burned me out; it took me a while to decide to do it again this year, but enough people contacted me and others and asked me if I was going to do this.”

Redding was pleased with the first reunion, which provided a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project, despite a small-in-number but large-in-volume-and-hysterics group who complained about bands booked, etc.

“The feedback we received was 99 percent positive; everybody I talked to had a great time. We sold out last year’s reunion, which was great; I thought we’d do well, but didn’t expect a sellout. The drama and some complaints did surprise me a bit; I never really got into the drama of the Continental when I worked there. I was a musician [Funk Monsters and Woman, Cowboys of Scotland], a DJ and booker. I thought that we had grown up and matured by now.”

Another special part of the reunion will be the honoring of the late longtime Continental owner (and voice of the unique answering machine message) Bud Burke: “If it wasn’t for Bud Burke, we wouldn’t have a reason to hold a Continental reunion,” Redding said. “In fact, we have a lot of people coming in from out of town, including Los Angeles, New York City, Florida, Alaska, Austin and Arizona.”

Tickets for the event are $10 in advance from the Town Ballroom box office, online at www.ticketfly.com, or $20 the day of the reunion. Redding said they hope to be able to make a donation to the Music Is Art Foundation this year, to help supplant the funds lost when last year’s Music Is Art Festival was all but drowned out by heavy rain. “There will be tickets at the door, but they are selling very well; we’ve sold about 500 tickets in the last week,” Redding said, adding that the Town Ballroom will again offer their Continental drink specials, including the infamous Purple Motherfuckers.

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