Black Joe Lewis and Low Cut Connie
ME down, September 23, 2014Review and photos by John Keegan
Abu the monkey boy shambles and scampers through the lineup crowd outside the Middle East. He touches people’s shoes and jiggles their pockets. A woman on stilts teeters through the press. Another women holds a picture frame in front of her face. She pulls down a pane of cellophane and gives great sloppy kiss. Don’t ignore the magic rings or the hula hoops.
Lagunitas beer knows how to spend a marketing budget. Throw a party. Invite your target audience to register on line for free tickies. Lay out a spread of free booze, circus sideshow divertissement and two hot bands – everyone has a price. The ME down is more than well lubricated. The ring dancer and the acrobats wet the crowds’ appetite. Someone needs to press the red button. The slinky carney calls our attention to the center ring and Low Cut Connie hits the stage. There a blast. Two credible front men, Adam Weiner (piano) and Dan Finnemore (guitar and drums), ping pong the lead vocals. Weiner with the welcome sounds of a beat up acoustic piano brings his Jerry Lee and a little Elton John. He’s up on the bench waving his arms and high kicking his legs inciting the audience to show some gospel love. He’s tap dancing on the bench and banging on the keys. He likes that spotlight and that spotlight likes him. Finnemore, jack of all trades on vocals, second guitar, bass and drums, holds up the Buddy Holly end of the party. He keeps his feet on the floor or the monitor. He’s not as flamboyant as his high wire partner but he imparts a little more pop rock tingle. Russell Saliba fills in the low end and adds some fine yeah, yeah, yeah’s. Neil Duncan’s twang rockin’ leads keep everybody hopping.
Between sets, the women in red sequins throws down some muscular gravity defying pole ballet and the women in black and her brawny partner lift and flip through a don’t try this at home floor routine. A mime faced Kit Kat Club MC hammers and removes a seven penny nail from his nostril, escapes from a strait jacket and walks on glass. The taps at the bar are challenged. Two of whatever is the best request. The crowd in front of the stage is party hardy - they need one last push.
Black Joe Lewis are a big beat blues rock trio with a horn section in tow and they immediately push down the red button. They build a framework on blues changes with a slap of funk and rumble of soul. Everyone is rocking hard tonight. The front of the stage is swinging and banging. The drums lay it down fast and loud. The excellent big loopy bass pounds out the blues and keeps the communication with the leader flowing. The horns do the funked up James Brown thing. It takes a couple of tunes to bring them up in the mix but once they hit they punch hard. They’re on the riff. They’re off the riff. They are honkin’ and squealin’. And so is the crowd. Lewis barks out the tunes. He riffs hard and solos harder on his red no name guitar. No flashy fretwork, just tight, raw solos that move everyone from I to IV with kick ass rock n blues. The front line dance crowd leaves with a smile - drenched in sweat and Lagunitas.
For a good time call Low Cut Connie and Black Joe Lewis.