Concert Review: The LSD Enigma, The Nightstalkers


It's funny; a lot of psychedelic era or music influenced by the psychedelic era doesn't sound that psychedelic to me. I think in many cases these were in essence garage bands on psychedelic drugs. Minds are still getting explored and bent, but the sounds frequently aren't all that mind-bending.

Exception: Rochester's psychedelic sonic sensation The LSD Enigma, a duo the works in intensity, swirling color, and depth, and is just a couple of clicks away from being weird. The band played Friday for the art-crawling set for First Friday festivities at the Record Archive. The band adheres to the genre's folk-story roots but splashes in tons of slap-back and reverb over an infectious go-go beat. It was the delay and dimension created by the reverb that gave the show a truly psychedelic twist and shout over the otherwise organic strain of the choppy acoustic guitar, snappy, treble-tight drums, and harmonies reminiscent of Phil and Don in outer space.

I've preached and pontificated and pleaded the case for classic bar bands. I'm talking about artists that play hard, performing music for scooting around the joint with your hands around something cold and your arms around something warm. Bands like The Nightstalkers. Honestly, there are few better. I've been going to see this band since when the late Marshall James roamed the earth and fronted the band with his soulful pipes and dry wit.

I made my way to Sticky Lips Juke Joint Saturday night as the band was laying down its badass blend of bluesy boogie, rock 'n' roll, and jazz. There is something so cool about a blue-collar, working-man's band that relies on zero frills while delivering the thrills for the working-off-their-dinner crowd. It was a moment in time of varying significances -- first date, last date, beers with buddies -- depending on who you ask. When you have a bar band as tight and rockin' as the Nightstalkers, regardless the outcome, it sounds alright.