You put a powerful black voice in front of a garage band you've got some unstoppable rock 'n' roll. Put Boston's bombastic blues belter Barrence Whitfield blasting in front of The Savages (including two of the original Savages) and it's like an operatic Howitzer. The band unleashed an incredible r&b-tinged garage barrage on the unsuspecting and the suspecting piled into Lovin' Cup Tuesday, September 10, as Whifield let fly with his gravel wail and primal scream.
Whitfield bounded around the place, dancing on tables, throwing tantrums on the floor and generally wreaking havoc with hits from his quiver like "Bloody Mary" and "Big Mamou," as well as songs off his new "Dig Thy Savage Soul." Original Savage, guitarist Peter Greenberg (ex-Lyres, ex-DMZ) added the comfortably loud rock 'n' roll treble to Whitfield's bluesy Tyrannosaurus trifle and trouble. One of the best all-out rock 'n' roll shows I've seen since, well, the last time Whitfield was in town. Unstoppable and unparalleled. EEEEEOWWW!!
Caught the Charlie Mitchell Group's happy hour set at Abilene Friday evening. The band is no doubt proficient chops-wise, but comes on with a casual hangback. More atmosphere than performance, which ain't always easy. I dug the group's casual elegance, especially its take on Monk's "Blue Monk." Tres cool.
Anonymous Willpower let go with a huge set (breaks are for pussies) later that night at the Dinosaur BBQ with a heart full of soul. The band rode the rollercoaster between Irma and Etta with an amazingly tight back beat. So tight, in fact, that it would've made Ike Turner slap himself. They wore the crowd out, up, and down. I dug Don Anonymous' parade-float head gear, I dug Suzie Willpower's vocal trips to church and the moon. Hell, I dug it all.
I'm getting a wee bit tired of copping to "Americana" and "roots-rock." Yet when I caught Dust & Bone's set at Lovin' Cup Saturday night, the band's casual lope and saunter called to mind The Band and even Dylan, and it doesn't get more Americana or roots-rock than that, does it? The three-guitar front end was surprisingly clear and cooperative. You could pick out the picking on all three. I liked it a lot. Dust & Bone warmed the boards for 5Head, which delivered a tight and fun, horns-a-plenty set of smart-assed ska. Bassist Steve Pizzuto sounds better with his pants on. Trust me.