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I Scene It: Mickey James Duo at Harro East Ballroom

The death of Mickey Smay


The death of Mickey Smay. Now don’t flip out, the kid’s not dead, but you gotta die in order to get reborn. And from my perch on the shores of a sea of about 600 people, I watched first hand this 15-year-old musician got reborn in rock 'n' roll, sanctified in the blues and soul.

You see, Smay’s dad, Jason, is the drummer for roots-rock’s reigning heavyweight and Rochester favorite, JD McPherson, which afforded the young Smay an inside track to the opening slot for McPherson’s show last night at the Harro East Ballroom.

Playing as a stripped-down two-piece, the Mickey James duo tore into some guitar-heavy savagery. The guitar tone was big and nasty as Smay wrung the big, red guitar’s neck. He was a study in stock-still cool and seemed a little surprised at all the howling and screaming from the crowd. He’s a touch young to realize what a frenzy he got those in the audience of the skirt, lipstick, and heels-wearing persuasion in to. This boy can really play as he touched on stuff from Eddie Cochran, Johnny Bond, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and SRV, all sandwiched between Link Wray’s “Black Widow” and “Jack the Ripper.”

Well I’m here to say it’s “Mickey the Ripper” now, s’far as I’m concerned. Look out Jack, this young man is dangerous.