A couple of Thursdays back The Badenovs paced and raged on The Bug Jar stage with lots of textbook crazy and new-wave cool. Badenov carrot-top newbie and ex-Profile Greg Hassett dwarfed his Telecaster while still making it roar. It's good to see the big man back, slingin' on the bandstand.
Frontman Stan "The Man" led the charge and won the argument with an element of exasperated fun; master of the low-bottom and City Newspaper food guru Adam Wilcox hovered between Michael Anthony monotone thunder and Jaco Pastorius burp-gun noodling.
They warmed up for The Earl Cram Revue, who hit the stage already in a full gallop singing --- and erotically purring --- about, among other things, the anonymous thrill of glory holes. Ah, don't you just wanna Tijuana?
Roots-rock's legendary darling Rosie Flores celebrated her birthday at The Dinosaur BBQ last Friday. She picked so mean but sang so sweet, covering the Beatles' "Birthday" every time an audience member bought her a shot of tequila. I heard the tune at least seven times so you know Rosie was good 'n' warmed up, leading her new quartet through her many hits and loves.
Rosie invited me and baritone extraordinaire Croonin' Curt on stage so she could cut a little slice of rug herself. I explained that I now play like a caveman. Not batting an eye, Flores told me, "Hey, even a caveman's got soul."
And speaking of primitive, G. Love and Special Sauce served up a load of primal grooves and hip-hop boogie --- guitar, bass, and drums style --- to a sold-out Water Street Music Hall last Saturday night. Loads of pretty young things filled the joint. Even ol' Mary Jane wafted in here and there. Gee, I haven't smelled her since the last time I saw The Black Crowes.
G. busted out some real authentic Mississippi Delta gutbucket and sang in a kinda drunken, haphazard rap-drawl. The drummer was incredible and got me thinkin': hip-hop ain't nothin' but fractured funk. Lots of young kids piled up against the stage (a good vibe = no barricade) to dig the handsome young trio as they served up stuff that, if done by old, crotchety, black bluesmen, they wouldn't have paid no nevermind. And that's the truth.
I hit The Little Theatre Café two times this week and caught --- on separate occasions --- Trio East and Diane Armesto. Trio East leaned into it grande with the trumpet player blowing his entire solo during "Caravan" into a coffee mug as opposed to the standard toilet plunger.
You know, the next time I get coffee, I'm gonna put cream, sugar, and Caravan in it and sip away in Ellington elegance with a slurp and a smile. And speaking of elegance, Armesto's tone and phrasing are warm and laid way back, but she fills the room with a big sound and cool pleasure.
Tom Hannney's harmonica tip number 2: don't share harmonicas. You wouldn't share toothbrushes, would you?
Looking like The Young 97's, The Old 97's are some of the best songwriters I know. Every song seems to speak to each listener in one way or another. You just shoulda seen all the people at the Dallas quartet's Tuesday night show at The Tralf (Buffalo) singing along to some of the older tunes like "Roller Skate Skinny," a cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," and new ones like "Bloomington."
Show opener Chuck Prophet (ex-Green On Red) played some great singer-songwriter rock that relied heavy on guitar hooks and his compelling voice. Prophet and his band looked kinda scruffy, but it looked like they had planned it that way. The 97's, on the other hand, looked like they had slept in their clothes.
No matter --- they sounded slick and rocked a joint that slowly filled up. It seems the audience was getting drunk at the Friday's across the street. The Tralf's new management hasn't secured a liquor license yet, and diggin' country --- even if it's alt-country --- on gun soda and bottled water just don't cut it.
Angry Johnny & The Killbillies honked and tonked this past Saturday at The Bug Jar with the debut of The Scarlets, The Husbands, and The Bloody Hollies. Murder and the lust that leads up to murder were everywhere, with Johnny's art on the walls and his band on the stage. The man paints and plays in blood.
Both his music and art pay tribute to the serial killer and varying degrees of macabre madness with a sort of self-reflection and ironic accusation. And for those alarmed by Angry Johnny's paintbrush or battered guitar: he's speaking to you, and about you, more than you think.
The Bloody Hollies followed. They just get better and better, incorporating some slippery slide into the sleaze --- and I like that.
Gabba gabba hey --- Johnny Ramone rest in peace.