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Live fast, die young

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New York City madmen/legends Simon And The Bar Sinisters completely blindsided the unsuspecting punk element at Monty's Krown with an intense set of rockabilly, punk, and frank, Bowery boy self-deprecation. With just drop-tuned guitar and drums, Simon dared the audience to stump the band and boogie.

            Also in the "we don't need no stinkin' bass players" department, The Immortal Lee County Killers hammered the Bug Jar in quasi-revival style with greasy, stompin', delta punk that they describe as "the essential fucked-up blues." They're my new favorite band.

            Both bands displayed the energy and abandon that keeps rock 'n' roll in the bloodstream and out of the chlorinated mainstream.

            Played a memorial show with The Rockats and countless others in NYC for the late, great Manny Berlingo of Slick Pelt. He lived fast and died young. Sometimes, when you're the friends left behind, that kind of cool stings.

            Although his fingers plucked fleet and nimble, Plimsoul Peter Case had people at the Montage hanging on every word of his stories about abandoned houseboats, barely audible singers, and jail.

            Sue Foley sure can warble sweet and true, but her guitar wasn't nearly loud enough when she played the Montage. I wanted it loud enough to taste. Foley and her slick band mixed classic blues in two-tone shoes, throwing in originals in a comfortable, laid-back fashion. I don't think she broke a sweat.

            Steve Grills and the Roadmasters did. They opened the show with the smoldering bite of Grills' guitar and the band's steady locomotion, outshining the headliner in the energy and licks departments.

            It was local nepotism at its finest when I went to The Storms' (Dick Storms, of The Record Archive) Halloween party. I went as the devil (a stretch, don't you think?), my date went as a kitty, coffee mogul Java Joe went as Dick Storms, and Dick went as me. I've always wanted to have my own action figure; this is probably about as close as I'm ever gonna get. Spent the evening in horns carousing with Krypton 88, who sounded great in their stripped-down trio loudness, Defenbombed, who sounded rough and ragged (like Motörhead with a flat tire), and all the hipster denizens at Lux Lounge. Shot my first stag film, peeled off my horns, then headed to church.

            Whoever your savior may be, a visit to The House of God Church in Rush will sanctify and rejuvenate your sorry soul with the sacred steel guitars of The Campbell Brothers. I cannot recommend this enough. I would have stayed for the parish meal (feast) afterwards, but Uncle Ralph was calling my name. Jesus is lord, but he can't grill a T-bone like Ralph's.

            You gotta hand it to RPO conductor Jeff Tyzik for slipping suburban honkys the funky and cool they all needed before Ray Charles took the stage. Tyzik even broke out his horn and wailed. Ray Charles is super-bad, he's the big deep freeze. What an engaging performer, what a class act. It was truly an honor to be in the audience as Brother Ray turned the Eastman Theatre into a giant Fridgidaire.

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