Digging deep into its catalog, and adding generous doses from its new "Divinity of Purpose" album, Connecticut hardcore harbinger Hatebreed pummeled the heavy crowd at Water Street Music Hall Thursday night. The twin guitars were l-l-l-loud yet discernible as they lead the rhythm-driven onslaught. There was plenty of push and pull between instruments that antagonized the audience ebb and flow, but it was when the group collectively pounded the down beat that shit got nuts. It was loud, mesmerizing, and infectious. The dance floor -- or the area typically reserved for dancing -- was a sea of pumping fists and flying elbows as Hatebreed summoned a tumultuous tantrum with its thunder.
There was a little confusion Friday night on the club side at Water Street Music Hall. Who were the Slide Brothers? Well, this Robert Randolph-sponsored ensemble features Aubrey Ghent, the nephew of godfather of sacred steel Willie Eason, along with Calvin Cooke (sometimes called "the B.B. King of gospel steel guitar"), and Chuck and Darick Campbell of our beloved Campbell Brothers. Alas, the Campbell half of the outfit was absent Friday night, but Ghent and Cooke percolated a blistering set in a more bluesy, secular vein. It was utterly righteous. The steel was definitely the focal point, but I could swear I heard the ghost of Johnnie Johnson, the original Johnny B. Goode slithering out of the piano.
Split that scene and headed to Tala Vera to catch 34 Feet Deep, an interesting Rochester band with subtle groove. The sax kept it cheery and the guitar gave it balls, but I think the band is still searching for its "wow factor" as far as material goes. It's getting close...
Saturday was Record Store Day, to the delight of the boys and girls all over the land. My first stop was the Bop Shop to dig Austin, Texan Wammo flexin' some spoken-word exasperation above a hip, hip groove. The Big B, Buzzo, followed with his band and with his trumpet, and swung mad/cool like Herb Alpert taking a stuffed moose head though a revolving door. It was a lot of fun, with DJ Tanner punctuating the madness and gladness with lacquer cracker spins from The Cramps and The Sonics, to name a few.
Rounded out my afternoon with the fun-lovin' dopes in The Isotopes at the Record Archive. The band opened its irreverent show with a beautiful Ventures-meets-Louis Prima-and-gives-him-an-atomic-wedgie take on "Sing, Sing, Sing." And of course, as always, there were dancing girls. Look for the new 'Topes record out soon on the Record Archive's recently resurrected record label.