Friday night. Nothing to do. Check the listings and I see the Metal Masters 4 show is going on at the Gramercy. $20 to see Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian, Dave Lombardo, Kerry King, Gary Holt, Billy Sheehan and Phil Anselmo basically jam out on good tunes for a few hours. Good deal! Except the tickets are long sold out and the scary black dudes outside are trying to get $80 a pop for them. I managed to talk him down to $50 and we’re off to see some of my childhood heroes bust a nut on the front row.
Here’s a video of the gig. The real shit starts about 90 minutes in when Phil takes the stage and wakes up the crowd with “Mouth for War.”
It was the most suprising fun I’ve had in a long time. Hangin’ with my good mates and watching the dudes that I looked up to as a child playing some of my favorite songs just a few feet away. Fuckin’ headbanger!
Scored a dollar slice at the pizza place across the street. Impossible to say no, some of this stuff is really fuckin’ good. Everything is cheap tasting but they do it right so we can save money and get fat on the run.
In short: yes. Pizza Napoletana is huge, fresh, exotic and delicious, but after dining at Paulie Gees the other night I can still feel a lump of wood fired dough resting in the pits of my gut, taking its sweet time digesting.
Is this a pizzeria for ants? The tables were so small it would have been impossible for each of us (4) to order a pizza to ourselves. We ordered three and most of our plates and glasses had to sit on the side. The environment is cozy but come the fuck on.
Pies were what you’d expect from an expensive napoli style joint. Great charring, awesome fresh tomatos, exciting recipes and toppings. You won’t notice much difference between this and a place like Roberta’s except for a litte dab of Mike’s Hot Honey which, a welcome departure from olive oil that I’m so used to soaking up my pizza bones in.
Two of our pizzas had a pretty nasty watery center which always bums me out, but I know how difficult it is to get this shit right on a nightly basis. On a really late Tuesday night when things are winding down I don’t really blame them.
How does this compare to Richmond pizzerias? Well there are only three that even attempt this kind of shit in RVA; Stuzzi, Aziza’s and Pizza Tonight! I’d say Pizza Tonight! is more consistant and has equally interesting toppings and what not. Stuzzi is always watery and Aziza’s is right about in the middle.
But goddamn, enough is enough. I dont even have the slightest desire for this stuff right now. Deceiving as it’s got a very thin crust, the dough is actually very heavy and doesn’t seem to digest very quickly. I could go for a slice at Tarrant’s right about now…
So Saturday night rolls around and I think it’d be a good idea to check the show listings for the thing-to-do around NYC and I see Pentagram is playing with Agnostic Front, Poison Idea, Negative Approach and some other tough sounding bands. Fuckin’ weird line-up eh? My buddy Murphy is a huge Pentagram fan so I relay the info to her and she flips out, drops everything and rides to the Warsaw to pick up two tickets. Schwing!
We get there as Negative Approach goes on and they crush pretty hard. I’m not a hardcore guy but these guys didn’t bore me and they didn’t act like thugged out whiteys on stage. Something that I can’t say for Agnostic Front. Look, this isn’t my genre and I understand AF is seminal, maybe even legendary in your scene. But who the fuck takes these assholes seriously? Washed up, out of shape daddys from Queens throwing up shitty gang signs, jump kicking and throwing rock punches in the air over the crowd. Mix that up with zero talent and a vocalist who not only looks like Fred Durst but sounds like a Rottweiler getting punched in the stomach and you’ve got a bunch of Pentagram fans waiting outside in the smoking section.
After many an overpriced Polish beer (it IS the Warsaw) Bobby Liebling and Pentagram take the stage, and in anticlimactic fashion. Liebling strolls out way before the band is even ready to hit the stage, taps his microphone, waves at some fans and stands with his elbow resting on one of the guitar amps. Zombie-walks to the other end of the stage, no smiles on his face, stands for a bit then finally leaves. Huh, just wait til the band starts playing dude!
Pentagram, for those who don’t know, is a pretty cult-legendary band from Northern, VA who had all the talent in the world to be essentially the Black Sabbath of the US, but combined with bad luck and a singer who was addicted to crack and heroin for decades, a revolving door of musicians and not much happened in the way of success. Liebling, whos body is visibly crippled by drug use, can still sing his ass off. The band sounds great now, very heavy and modern whilst retaining everything that made them pioneers of the 70′s and 80′s. They played their entire debut album mixed with a few others and rocked the place. It was great to see this band before Liebling is sure to die sooner than later. Dude looks like a straight up corpse.
Afterwards we walked back down towards Williamsburg but I had to grab a slice on the way. It was a pretty standard pepperoni slice from a Greenpoint pizzeria; affordable, crispy and proper. The places are always on point here but we had the added pleasure of trying to walk the plank to even get inside this place. I was too hungry to snap a shot of the slice but you’ve seen it all before.
Metal, pizza, beers. Good times.
So of us here in Turbojugend Richmond made a trek up to Brooklyn, NY for the Turbonegro Vans House party. If ya haven’t checked out a Vans House party yet, DO IT. Find some bands you like and go! Of course, you’ll likely have to wait until next summer to experience it again but it’s got everything anyone could ask for. Free admission, huge show space, outdoor beers and food vendors not to mention FREE BEER and free bottled water all night.
It all started with an early pick-me-up at one of my favorite bars (really my only favorite bar) on Bedford Ave., the Charleston. I think it’s one of the last crusty punk rock bars on the block and even this place is cleaning itself up for a more posh clientele. But a few things remain the same; cheap beers & shots, good tunes and free pizza. The Charleston is one of many places in NYC that serves up small, hand tossed pizza all day and night for literally nothing. As long as you buy a brew, you got a ticket for a pie and these pies absolutely crush most of the shit you’ll find at pizza parlors down the east coast.
$4 in the hole and I’m fed and I’ve got a nice early high-life buzz going. We take a walk up Wythe Ave. to meet up with another TRBJND Richmond fella and Apocalypse Dudes frontman Hank Von Randall and we head up to LuLu’s in greenpoint to meet up with some friends from Turbojugend Baltimore, Gilbo, Jerrod and a few others I can’t remember. I also get to meet up with my buddy Nick from Earache where I used to do some bitch work last year. We catch up on all things heavy, guitar pedals and power tubes as we throw back several high life/Jim Beam combos. The bartender here is super fucking nice (as is the case with most places around here) and hooks us hungry lads up with olives and offers to pick up a couple of our drinks for us. Super nice dude, don’t remember your name but thanks!
LuLu’s is another spot that serves up free pie so after a few more combos we turn our tickets in for 3 more small pies. Yum.
Some of our buddies are super worried about the long lines and getting into the venue before it fills up so they split off and me, Nick and Randall stay behind to have a couple more rounds. I’m getting pretty sauced at this point and it’s not even 6pm. My Austrailian mate and Drop Tank bandmate Harry calls to tell me he’s waiting in a HUGE line a few blocks away from the venue. Now we start to worry and Harry is hungry for pizza. So I stop off at a pretty decent slice shop on Franklin St. to grab him a cheese slice and a Dr. Pepper and I run down to meet him in line. The line is fucked! Blocks long.
But as I’m approaching the head of the line, there are 2 Turbojugend ushers in front, waving me in to the venue ahead of the lines. Real gangster style, I skip the blocks long lines along with my denim recruits and we slip in early. We head straight to the back patio to sip on free Heinekens. I manage to put a few of them down before checking out Nightbirds. A pretty rockin’ punk band with a charasmatic frontman. Totally digging these dudes, the sound is great, the lights are great, energy is there. Killer stuff.
I walk back outside to get a free Vitamin water, chug it down and immediately get some intense heartburn. Nick proceeds to tell me “thats like a whole scoop of fuckin’ sugar, sumbitch. Get the smart water!” I didn’t think about that fact and have to sit down quietly for about 20 minutes while this shit passes. I grab a smart water, drink it down and start to feel better. I was worried I’d fucked myself over before Turbonegro.
Checked out Doomriders. Didn’t hear good things about them being rich boy pussies before hand and their performance was pretty whack. Total southern heavy scene sound from northeastern dudes with some pretty terrible tough guy vocals. Tight jeans and Les Pauls will only take you so far brah. Back to the beer garden!
I actuall don’t have patience for the lines at this point so I just hang out with bros until Doomriders finishes making noise. Once the crowd clears out my inner high school metal fanatic comes out and I push my way to the front of the stage. Waiting quietly like a kid. 20 minutes of standing around and the lights go down…
Turbo played a ripping set of new and old, sounding better than the last time. Euroboy is as skinny as ever, Tony Sylvester is getting more comfortable, Happy Tom is still hilarious and keeps proving he’s the most important member of the band. Rune Rebellion dons a new, amazing Great Britain military helmet and Tommy Manboy looks menacing as fuck with the Hank eyes sitting behind the kit.
The place was wild. I didn’t realize they broadcasted it live on the net. Andy sent me a video message of him sitting on the couch at home enjoying the set as much as I did. Just another reason to wear Vans the rest of my life.
After the gig I made my way to Bar Matchless for some overdue Heavy Metal Karaoke with some old pals and a quick bite with Harry. At this point I’ve been up drinking and bangin’ since 1pm and it’s approaching 2am and I’ve still gotta meet up with my mates that I’m staying with at another bar down the street. I’m surprised by even more old buds and hang out for a bit having a beer and shooting pool at Ontario bar. I’m done at this point so Susie and I grab a cab back to her place and we pass the fuck out. The next day we have a long one at the beach, Ft. Tilden. It’s becoming so much more crowded, even for a Thursday. I narrowly avoid getting towed and Ben gets a $60 ticket for parking at a restricted area. EVERYthing is restricted here now. These kinds of things solidify my reasons for leaving NY. But I still love the place and would live here in a heartbeat if I had a good job.
It’s been a long time coming and I should have written about this two weeks ago, but pizza is usually just as good a few days later so pizza writing should be as well.
Tarrant’s on Broad has taken their ever expanding restaurant and pizza menu and finally added valet and pizza by the slice. We think both are exceptional concepts. Since Valentinos had a van drive through the front of it (had someone else been driving this customer’s van this could have been avoided), I’ve been slacking on my late night slice game. Tarrant’s rarely let’s us down but we’re not always in the mood for a $20 pie. They need to figure out how to not drop the entire pizza in a vat of flour every now and then, but aside from that their entire setup is everything I love about a NY style slice. And now, I can order JUST a slice, and not a pie as big as my head.
I got my ass over there in the first couple of days since they started this offering and my initial slices have been on point. Everything there is to love about a perfect Tarrant’s pie is now in slice form. It seems logical that you could just take great slices out of a great pizza, but lots of places actually don’t cut it (no pun intended) when it comes to slices vs whole pies. Either they have a weak reheat game or they try to make slices fresh and with different ingredients, there’s plenty of room to stray from your original pizza product. Tarrant’s is right on the money.
The best part is, the price is right. For a place that serves a bottle of Sierra Nevada for $9 after tax and before tip, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out the slices cost $2-3 bucks a pop depending on toppings. I grabbed a cheese and a pepperoni and got out for less than $5. Just the way it should be. I also happened to luck out last week and cruise by just as they were closing. The closing staff was disappointed to let us know they were closing and ovens weren’t making more pizza. To our delight they offered us half of a pizza that was left. We took a slice, thanked them, and planned our next attack while riding into the summer night.
We love getting emails. Here’s a recent personal favorite.
Hi Andy and Grant,
I want to pizza up your ass and tell you about the Bay Area debut of Hot Italian, which opened a little over two months ago in Emeryville – it could be a great fit for Pamparius.
The restaurant is drawing buzz for its authentic pizza, handcrafted by co-owner Fabrizio Cercatore, a certified maestro pizzaiolo from the Italian Riviera; and the restaurant’s contemporary design, inspired by co-owner Andrea Lepore. Her innate sense for a modern aesthetic is showcased in every detail of Hot Italian, from the colors scheme of black, white and red, the furniture encouraging communal seating (indicative of Italian culture), and the details such as the pizza take-out boxes – matte black with the white Hot Italian logo and very contemporary wall-hung bike racks. Hot Italian is also located in the nation’s first LEED Certified Platinum neighborhood – the Public Market in Emeryville.
In a small shithole of a strip mall you’ll find Asian Market 44, a vaccuum cleaner repair shop, Judy’s Pub and Smitty’s Pizza. I was in town and while my friends had no interest in authentic Ramen or Oreck maintainence, we threw on F.U.B.A.R. killed some Smitty’s and cruised to Judy’s for some cheap drinks and jukebox madness.
Smitty’s makes a pizza that sits somewhere in between Chanello’s and Y-Not, both VB staples, one a cheap chain delivery/pickup, the other a decent NY style delivery, pickup, or sit down restaurant. Smitty’s hits on the same portions and topping qualities of Y-Not for the most part, but is cheap and crushable like Chanello’s.
We took a spinach and tomato, and a pepperoni, green pepper and onion pie to go. It took five hungry dudes to kill two pies and it was hard choosing between the pepperoni, green pepper, and onion, and the spinach and tomato. Both great quality toppings for a lower end pizzeria. The crust on these pies isn’t anything to write home about, pretty skimpy to be honest, but it’s the type of pizza where you can inhale 4 or 5 slices down to the bone and still be hungry for more. We paired these pies up with some rum and coconut water and it set the tone perfect for a night of dive bar raging with the jukebox on punk/metal rotation. If you’ve got a Friday or Saturday night in VB to kill and you’re looking for a random pizza party experience, take your chances and get some Smitty’s pie and drinks at Judy’s Pub.
Brett was kind enough to invite us back to Aziza’s to try the new dough recipe, a transition to sourdough. Unfortunately, we showed up on a night when they didn’t have it ready but we did manage to try a pretty unique pie and we also got to check out the brick bread oven in the back.
Prosciutto, pesto, sliced peaches, sliced almonds and mozz. This thing was not on the menu but one of the most delicious pies I’ve had in Richmond. The wide array of flavors attack your palette, fill every nook and balance each other out very well. We also had our standby white pie with arugula and a red pie with prosciutto and mushrooms I think. Poor choice on our behalf, yet again. I think we’ll just let Brett (Adams) decide what we like. He seems to have our tastes dialed in.
There’s the man in action. This oven was built primarily to use for baking bread, so the temperature varies about 150-200 degrees fahrenheit from the base to the dome and he’s got to manage all the pies that go in. It seemed like a lot of work when he was working on one pie, but he’s also got to manage 15 pies when Aziza’s is slammed. By himself. Pretty handy guy!
Oh yah, he’s also playing a solo show before he ships out of town so check him at at Emilio’s on Broad, this Saturday at 10pm.
Pamparius on Twitter
- @AlchemyRVA back on Franklin?