The Bar Belle:BAND over beads or balls

Generally, this week’s column would be about the two big events in the next few days — Super Bowl (Feb. 3) and Mardi Gras (Feb. 5). I’d probably tell you the best spots in town to go. I’d most likely dig up some crazy beer specials. Perhaps share some sordid stories of past parties, maybe unearth a photo or two. And I’d promise you the first round is on me. Well, none of that’s happening this time. Number 1: My 2001 Mardi Gras memories are hazy at best — flashes of trolling for beads, chugging hurricanes and navigating through a crowd of nakedness. And Number 2: I just haven’t had the time to do the research.

There’s been this recent obsession of mine occupying my every waking moment. I don’t want to drink because then I’ll have to stop to go to the restroom. I don’t want to eat because then my hands will be slippery. I don’t want to talk because then I’ll miss a beat. The devil with which I dance is known in larger circles as Rock Band. He is devouring my soul … and I kinda like it.

First there was Guitar Hero. Simple enough — play lead guitar to a video game by using a “joystick” that resembles a guitar. I was intrigued. And hooked. Now comes Rock Band — adding in three more players to virtually form a band and play along to selected songs. Drums, lead, bass and vocals are all up for grabs for anyone who has sat idly on the sidelines for years, watching musicians dazzle with innate abilities. “I can do that!” you say as you air-drum the beginning beats to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” Well, no you can’t. I tried. But you can “pretend” to do it with Rock Band.

If your friends aren’t cool enough to have Rock Band, then get yourself over to the Pink Door (2222 Dundee Road, 413-5204), where they have it set up in the back room for play just about every night of the week. Go forth, jam hard but be forewarned — Rock Band will cause you to lose sleep.

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