It was a busy week here at F Word HQ, starting off on Wednesday, February 20. I went to Record Archive's Backroom Lounge, where folks jammed in to hear Escape Terrain jam out on the smooth side of instrumental jazz. Apart from some Stevie Wonder wonderment, for the most part the band traversed original terrain with some deep dives into funk and some creamy soul.
I was once again in the Backroom Lounge on Friday, February 22. People who were there for the Fickle 93.3 happy hour stuck around for the dissonance and ragged grace of Buffalo Sex Change, who confounded a few with its drive and VU-type cool, and played with an indirect nod to Nod and Scrappy Joe alt-tuning. 'Twas raw and right on.
Following Buffalo Sex Change was Albany's Shana Falana, who brought psychedelia mixed with a kind of lost innocence, like Mazzy Star playing at being a genie in a bottle. Once Falana rubbed the lamp, the music floated unfettered and free, captivating the curious.
Same night, different set of circumstances entirely. Classic bands like Journey, Cheap Trick, The Stones, and The Who are missing original members due to death, retirement or irreconcilable differences, but I can still rock with the remnants.
Pat Benatar's lead guitarist and lead husband Neil "Spider James" Giraldo blew through town, landing at Montage Music Hall with Derek St. Holmes, who was Ted Nugent's guitar player and singer on the early stuff. As a fan of classic rock, time marches on when it comes to seeing my favorite bands alive and intact. I've seen Nugent do "Stranglehold" live, but never with its original singer, St. Holmes. I got to hear it on this particular night, but without Nugent. And though the silver-coiffed Giraldo didn't sing any Benatar tunes, that in-your-face flash guitar still hit the nostalgia bone. And man, what a gentleman.
Goddammit, those Lake brothers are something else. Every little thing they get there greasy mitts on turns to rock 'n' roll gold. I went to check them out at Abilene on Saturday, February 23, in their newest inception. Reminiscent of The Jam, The Shine blazed through a set as it opened for The Surfrajettes, Toronto's all-female, instrumental surf sensations. The quartet hung ten--or rather, 40--for what seemed like 700 fans. It was sardine city, so packed in fact that I couldn't tell my pockets from anyone else's around me. By the way, Lenny Polizzi, I have your wallet.
My last stop of the night was to go experience Sole Rehab at an undisclosed location on the city's north side. The place was packed with a sea of bobbing heads as DJ Nickl burned down the house.
Everyone was dancing, everyone was moving. Everyone but me, which gave me a kind of slow-motion vertigo. But the music's throb won me over, and by the time I left I was groovin' in my car. I simply couldn't help it.