The F Word: Redacted

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Overkill thrashed and trashed Anthology along with Death Angel last Wednesday. It was all faded denim and faded tattoos in the mosh pit, which routinely dispensed the wounded like a thrash-metal Pez. Overkill singer Bobby Ellsworth screeched and raged on the stage, part-Wicked Witch and part-motivational coach: “C’mon Rochester, I can smell ya but I can’t hear ya.”

My first stab at taking in the Lilacs and their soundtrack was on S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night with NYC’s asphalt troubadour, Willie Nile. He and his black-clad trio played four-on-the-floor rock ‘n roll, where all fear to tread, except perhaps Paul Westerberg. It was the perfect blend of punch and poppy.

Later that night at Skylark, with maximum gorgeousity and skill, the Sirens & Stilettos burlesque troupe                                                                                                            and if you weren’t there to witness it , then you’re                                  -.

The following Monday, Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, along with The BB King Blues Band, rocked indoors as the inclement weather shut down the Lilac Festival for the day. Everyone raves about Ponder’s voice, myself included. But her command of the stage and the audience should also be noted. She puts the buzz in the biz and had us wrapped around her finger so tight we left looking like a bunch of sprung springs. She didn’t leave much room to rock for The BB King Blues Band, who laid it out rather straight and perfunctory in Ponder’s wake.

On Wednesday night, back at the Lilac Festival grounds in Highland Park, Eli “Paperboy” Reed played slick soul with some rather sloppy guitar. But it didn’t detract from the show. In fact, it added a bit of humanity to his voice — a voice that was, frankly speaking, almost too good.

Weather-wise, there was more of a drazzle than a drizzle. Mother Nature apparently had a full bladder and a migraine during Paperboy’s set, and didn’t let up with the chilly waterworks until Lee Rocker slapped the first few descending notes of “Stray Cat Strut.” Rocker busted the clouds with his group and played all the hits we wanted, including guitarist Buzz Campbell’s take on my single-most-favoritest song, Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk.” Hearing these Stray Cat tunes outside the context of the band proved in my mind how perfect its catalogue remains, to this day.