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One Band, One Local Bar, All Night Long. What'll It Be?

This one's pretty simple: Recently Rocks Off asked our writers to tell us if they could choose any artist, living or dead, active or defunct, to perform all night long at one local bar or club, who would that be and where?

Sam Cooke at the Continental Club I would love to see tons of musicians live in a perfect venue: Queen in a huge arena (with great seats, of course), the Beatles in a London nightclub, Nirvana at someone's basement house party. And while I will never be able to have those experiences with those bands, there is a good chance I will be able to see a similar type of show at some point. What is far less likely to happen is to see someone like Sam Cooke play in a supper club while the crowd is "Twistin' the Night Away".

Sam Cooke is one of the most amazing singers of all time. His voice managed to oscillate effortlessly between velvety smooth to rough and raw, always sounding pitch-perfect. There aren't a lot of singers like him anymore, but moreover, there simply aren't concerts like his anymore.

I imagine myself putting on a cute party dress and high heels and going to Continental Club. Some people are seated around the floor, tapping their heels and clapping. Individual fans are near the stage, singing and swaying to every note. The dance floor is being used -- get this -- for dancing: couples who came together or were brought together through "Bring It On Home to Me" are holding one another close. Everyone is in a great mood. The music is playing to make people feel good.

People always say "They just don't make music like that anymore." What's even truer? They just don't make shows like that anymore. I strongly suggest you go out and buy Live at the Harlem Square Club, put it on your record player, close your eyes, and come to Continental Club to see Sam Cooke. I will be there, wearing my party dress. SELENA DIERINGER

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at Notsuoh My bar in Houston is, and always will be, Nostuoh, so I feel like a little bit of a square picking a band to play that isn't as weird as the bar I love. Nevertheless, I have to go with a night of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Not only are they electric performers, but they provide just the right atmosphere for drinking and singing.

Plus, I'm sure in my fantasy scenario Ted would break out some of his dub/lo-fi material, which would make him and his band a completely appropriate choice for the setting. Maybe a Chisel reunion too? Who knows? Since it's a totally imaginary scenario, let's go with that. COREY DEITERMAN

Okkervil River at West Alabama Ice House If we could pick a nice late October day to get Okkervil River to play Down the River of Golden Dreams, Black Sheep Boy, and The Stage Names front-to-back at the West Alabama Ice House, that would be just about the best day I could imagine.

Can you picture it? Just sitting there on a perfect breezy day, drinking Ruby Redbird or Lawnmower, watching three stellar albums' worth of that amazing live show? Yes. A thousand times yes. (And yes, they'd have to play the B-sides, too.) JOHN SEABORN GRAY

Pantera at West Alabama Ice House As long as we're fantasizing, I suppose I'd like to see a reunited (and resurrected) Pantera play an all-night set at the West Alabama Ice House. That way, I could bring my own bottle of Crown Royal and suck down Blacktooth after Blacktooth as Dimebag Darrell's unforgettable guitar tone laid waste to my entire neighborhood. NATHAN SMITH

See more fantasy nights on the next page.

Ramones at Mango's The first album I remember owning (and loving) was The Ramones' self-titled debut that my Dad gave me around the age of five, which I've always assumed was the reason I listen to what I do. Sadly, the group stopped performing together in the 90s, and Joey Ramone passed away when I was in the sixth grade.

So my pick would have to be catching Ramones at Mango's, which seems like the perfect place to catch a show of theirs. Of course, this is fantasy, and I know that Mango's wasn't around during Ramones' hay day, but it's intimate and dirty enough to feel punk rock. And of course I'd want to see the band in their Rocket to Russia or Road to Ruin era, when they'd built up enough of a discography to play a somewhat long set seeing as they were known for their short, fast tracks.

But if I'm being honest, I'd catch the group anywhere if I had the chance to see Joey Ramone in all of his tall, lanky glory. ALYSSA DUPREE

Sly & the Family Stone at AvantGarden If the space-time continuum could allow it, I'd pick 1970s Sly & The Family Stone playing under a perfect Houston night at present-day AvantGarden's courtyard.

The building has that San Francisco vibe associated with the band's origins. There they would be, as they were 40 years ago, huge afros and all. We'd dance our asses off to a set that opened with "I Want to Take You Higher." Larry Graham would slap-pop the bass all over an eight-minute run of "Dance to the Music" and everything would end with the band's soulful version of "Que Sera, Sera."

And, if the wormhole could stay open just a little longer, we'd catch the Ramones at Notsuoh later that night. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.


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