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Thorny as Hell

If I had to guess, I'd say you could probably count all of Paul Thorn's songs on an average person's phalanges. Granted, I've only seen him twice now--once at the Rio last year and at the Catalyst last Friday night with his band--but his repertoire and banter was so similar, it felt as if I'd seen him a hundred times. I immediately understood why his fans at the Rio had been so familiar with his act, why they were able to recite his pre-song raps and sing along with all the songs--because there are only eight of them.

But in Al Gore's age of the Internet, it's easy to look up Thorn and see that he has in fact recorded over 50 songs, and probably has more than a few still in his back pocket staying nice and warm. He might have even played some of them Friday night, but after hearing "800 Pound Jesus," "Burn Down the Trailer Park" and "I'd Rather Be a Hammer Than a Nail," I spaced out and started people-watching instead. There were two bobble-head ladies enjoying the show from a table in the back that held my attention for a while, but it wasn't until my girlfriend, bless her little heart, claimed two stools at the bar that the real show started.

There was a couple next to us that were enthusiastically enjoying the roles of rich playboy and sexy stripper right before our eyes. He was sitting on the stool next to me, occasionally hooting and hollering as she hiked her already short skirt up and danced suggestively for him--and anyone else who happened to edge their way ever closer to the sideshow. Besides the short glimpses of the woman's derriere, the best part of the show was watching the men around try to cast furtive sideways glances her way. Note to horny men trying to ogle a public exhibitionist: Guess what, it's OK to look at someone intentionally making a spectacle of themselves! Nobody felt the need to cast furtive sideways glances at Paul Thorn, right? I know, I know, you paid money to look at Paul Thorn, and yes, it would probably be rude to tip an exhibitionist for showing you her butt. But come on, guys, if you could only see your faces looking all serious and conspiratorial, eyelids low and sleazy, thinking no one's the wiser, you'd do like I do instead: pretend you're a gay fashion designer appreciating the lines of her dress, and then go catch the midnight showing of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.


Signal Path at Henfling's on Sept. 23. Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill at Skyland Church on Sept. 23. Matthew Embry, Chris Wedertz and R Duck Show at Next Door on Sept. 24. Carol Elizabeth Jones and Laural Bliss with Tom Rozum at Cayuga Vault on Sept. 24. Painted Sky at Cayuga Vault on Sept. 25. Michelle Kiba, The Ukulele Lady of Santa Cruz at Moe's Alley on Sept. 26. Cheri Lovedog and Sean Kennedy at Moe's Alley on Sept. 28.

Mike Connor

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From the September 22-29, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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