Premiere: Stream SMOLY HOAX ‘LIVE at Almon Billiards’
Secret East Records (003)
The mood down at Almon Billiards was unstable and erratic. On that sticky and hot summer night, the building on the verge of being torn down and bulldozed to make way for the ever-expanding city-wide condominium takeover, tensions were high during the 22nd bi-annual league tournament. High-profile players were being eliminated by brash newcomers and pricey bets were being lost left, right and center. Cigar smoke and cursing drifted out from the seedy private back room, rumors of high stakes poker games whispered amongst the crowd unfamiliar with the usual goings-on. The only thing that could cut the tension like a knife was SMOLY HOAX, a three-piece rock outfit from down the street, who caught more than a few shifty looks from the patrons as they lugged their worn-down gear through the front doors.
Setting up in the corner of the hall, to the disgust of some tournament players who were worried the noisy vagrants would mess with their game, the band tuned their guitars, haphazardly plugged into the crackling PA speakers and immediately ordered a round of shots. They could read the room, and knew the judgmental side-eyes and mutterings meant this could be a rough set. There was no money guarantee, and also no confirmation they wouldn’t be told to shut the fuck up and remove their sorry asses from the bar; neglected to the filthy alley outside the pool hall, desperate and completely alone.
With some liquid confidence, the uncertainty washed away and they counted into the first song of their set. Smoking blues licks ripped through the hall, bass throbbed against the spare pool cues hanging against the racks and the drums cut right into the concentration of the seasoned pros lining up their perfect game-ending shot. “Someone should tell them to go play at one of those beard-and-bicycle IPA breweries”, scowled a greasy haired self-proclaimed pool shark nursing a double rum and coke, wearing a faded shirt with “June 1999 Cole Harbour Tournament Champion” across the back.
The night went on, the songs pleasing some, mildly entertaining others, and causing the rest to threaten the bartender with ruining their life-or-death billiard game (“them pricks come in here, think they own the place” “Boring ass crap, they made me sink the 8-ball while breaking!” “What kind of LOSERS name their band that?”) The music and the sounds beneath were captured that night on this exclusive “Live at Almon Billiards” recording, almost not having seen the light of day due to the sound equipment having almost been drenched in a pitcher of cheap beer when a drunkard sloppily fell after having one too many shots of Jameson. Thankfully, it survived, and here lies the results, for your listening pleasure.
… Smoly Hoax, live at Almon Billiards, one-night only.
– Album forward via SMOLY HOAX
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Prince's Rink in St. John's fit for a boxing match circa 1933. When spectators sat on wooden seats to watch iron competitors. Photo from The Rooms Sports Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador. . . . #stjohns #newfoundland #secreteast #boxing #boxinghistory #therooms #archives