Concert Review: The Bygone Few, JD McPherson


I know it's lazy to describe a band's sound with another band -- bands as adjectives, I call it -- but sometimes it's a good kick start in the right direction. So when I tell you the new Rochester band The Bygone Few sounds like a Misfit Concrete Blonde, you'll understand why...and hopefully accept my apology.

The quartet caught me a little off guard when I saw it Tuesday, July 2, at the Bug Jar. Maybe I was used to guitarist Ryan Hurley's upright-bass-driven psychobilly leanings (most recently in the late, heavy, fast, and sorely underrated Quartershots). What I got instead was a loud and heavy slug of dark rock 'n' roll. Too swift to be called a dirge, but too noir to ever flirt with pop sugar. All around it was a pretty cool debut for this band, which hopefully won't be bygone too soon.

Coming at you straight outta Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, JD McPherson played an amazing set of gen-u-ine barroom rock 'n' roll Saturday night at Abilene. The place was boiling to the brim and spilled out on to the sidewalk, where the music ricocheted as well. Hipsters, greasers, unawares, ne'er-do-wells, Betties, boppers, freaks, and geeks all lined up to see what is one of the next great saviors of vintage and classic American music.

McPherson's guitar work was tight, tart, terse, and twangy as his band flawlessly pumped along like a casual locomotive. When not dishing out delicious originals, the band dug into the Chess catalogue to shake tails in the sardined crowd even further. Its spirited take Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley didn't hammer on the cliché licks and rhythms, but rather the subtle flow of this unmistakable Windy City wail.

Because most of the audience couldn't see the band due to the large crowd and McPherson's diminutive size, everything around us -- the pretty girls, the duck-tailed boys, bluesers and boozers -- became part of a 3-D sensory onslaught of pure rock 'n' roll glee. Fun, fun, fun. Shazam!