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Looking for a hot time in Kabul? Al Kamen to the rescue

Posted by DownWithTyranny on October 30th, 2012

From our partners at DownWithTyranny!

Secretary of State Clinton with those mad rockers the Backsheesh Boys

by Ken

I’ve already tried using the storm as an excuse not to think about the elections and vice versa, so I’m grateful to our WaPo “In the Loop” pal Al Kamen for offering this helpful hint for what to do the next time you find yourself with a free evening in rocking Kabul.

Rock on, envoys!

You won’t read about it in Rolling Stone, but there’s a rockin’ music scene in an unlikely corner of the world: the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Seems State Department employees there like to blow off steam from stressful jobs by picking up an ax — or a mike. The latest issue of State magazine, the agency’s monthly in-house glossy, profiles a few bands that have sprung up at the post.

There’s the Mission Essential Jazz Band, which performs all the standards and has wowed crowds at events including the embassy’s Spring Fling Ball and July 4th celebration. The ensemble has also entertained at the British and Russian embassies.

Playing more modern tunes are the Spin Boldaks (named after a particularly dangerous town in Kandahar province), an acoustic-guitar band that covered alternative classics and dance grooves, including Madonna’s “Holiday.” Alas, like most great bands, they eventually broke up (the members scattered to different assignments around the globe), but the magazine notes that fans can still see photos on the band’s Facebook page (dig the ironic 1980s getups — leopard pants, skinny ties).

But the current darlings of the Kabul embassy scene are the Backsheesh Boys (the name is a Persian-language riff on the now-defunct boy band the Backstreet Boys), who started out playing mostly Southern rock but whose repertoire now includes classic rock. The band has appeared at hot spots such as the embassy’s old Duck and Cover Bar, the Red Tent (which the magazine describes as “infamous”), the Clamshell at Camp Eggers, and the International Security Assistance Force’s Club 37.

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