Well... zero, in traditional New Jersey cement-shoes terminology. But despite the miserable weather, which did its part to create a proper Jersey Shore atmosphere, Rocks Off's Washington Shore party filled the Washington Avenue Drinkery Thursday night. Some people came sporting their best guido gear, others wondered exactly what the hell they had wandered into.
"I think something's going on that we don't know about," one guy entering the Drinkery said to his buddy as Rocks Off was outside smoking. Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man," anyone? Rocks Off felt the same way a few months back, when everyone seemed to be talking about this new MTV reality show and the Washington Shore germ began incubating in the petri dish of some of our younger colleagues' minds. Every day the party got closer, we also wondered exactly what we had gotten ourselves into, but once it started - surprisingly - we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves.
One reason, maybe, is that Thursday scarcely resembled the Washington scene reported in this week's Press cover story, or the verite Washington footage shot by the Press' Blake Whitaker that screened on the Drinkery's TVs all night and deserves a reality show of its own. Rocks Off doesn't hang out on the avenue all that much (i.e. hardly ever), and our general opinion is that if Houston really wants to be more like Austin, it's finally got a Sixth Street it can call its own - a textbook case of "be careful what you wish for."
It may not have been a normal night out on Washington, but it seemed like a normal night out to us - people sitting or standing around, drinking, talking, socializing, shivering when they went out to smoke, enjoying the music. Drinkery regulars may have wondered what was up with the cosmetologists darkening people's faces, and all the girls walking around looking like a cross between Battlestar Galactica and the Ronettes, but maybe not.
Speaking of getup, somebody told us the two costume contest winners happen to work for another Web site that (cough) covers Houston nightlife and entertainment, and we think the fact that they not only chose to come to our party over whatever their well-budgeted marketing engineers had planned for Thursday, but dressed up and won the freakin' thing, speaks volumes about the kind of party Rocks Off (as a collective, not the individual writing this review) is capable of pulling off.
A huge part of the evening's success was the expert ear of DJ Dave Wrangler. Seamlessly mixing H-Town rap (Lil Keke's "Southside"), indie-rock (MGMT, TV on the Radio), plenty of Motley Crue, G 'N R and Bon "Freakin'" Jovi, and his own stuff - we love the
- Wrangler never let things drag for a second.
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He made us wish the Eagle and Arrow would play his techno remixes of AC/DC's "Back In Black" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," and dialed up the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" for the exercise in complete awesomeness that was the fist-pumping contest - if there was ever a piece of video associated with Rocks Off that deserves to go viral, it's this one:
As for the other D-word, from everything could tell, douchey behavior was kept to an absolute minimum. Rocks Off saw no fights, chest-bumping or anything like that, and exactly one spilled drink/broken glass. Near the end of the evening, however, one of our writers did alert us to an amorous couple near the back engaging in the time-honored pastime of "finger-banging."
And that's when we knew it was a party.