Date: Sat Nov 6

Place: The Crocodile Cafe (2200 Second Avenue)

Time: 8:30 pm

The Showbox is larger and swankier, Neumo's is newer and debatably hipper, but nothing beats the warmth and sense of history that hits you when you walk in the doors at the Croc. Stalwart booking agent Christine Wood and sound engineer Jim Anderson have held their respective positions longer than anyone else in similar venues elsewhere in the city. A good percentage of its staff does double-duty in the music community (members of the Divorce and the Jeunes are working the door and coat check when I arrive on this blustery Saturday night), and other than periodic upgrades to the sound system, they've had the good sense to leave well enough alone. Even that cute sheep sculpture--brightly sodomized by a swirl of orange neon--still hovers comfortingly over the back bar tables, just as it has since the early '90s. Perhaps it's this sense of perpetuity that makes variations in the dress and drink choices of the crowd stand out so sharply. This evening, I'm witnessing a gathering of Camper Van Beethoven fans, assembling in anticipation of what has been misleadingly billed by sponsor KNDD as a "special reunion" of the '90s college rock icons (in fact, the band played this same club earlier this year). I watch nearby booths fill up with an aging, hippyish-hipster crowd, many of whom have made very mysterious fashion choices (wavy, waist-length tresses, nose hair-singeing wafts of patchouli, and black-and-white "court jester" hats are some of the more notable offenses). A couple in front of me at the bar orders what sounds like the most disgusting cocktail ever--a "J...ger Bomb"--a shot of J...germeister dropped into a syrupy pint of Red Bull. "They're all the rage," sighs the bartender when I ask him about the drink's apparent popularity. HANNAH LEVIN

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