There is an apocryphal tale that there were three musicians on board the boat
with Ponce de Leon when he went searching for the Fountain of Youth. Rumor has
it that they were not popular with the crew and they split as soon as the ship
landed in Florida. Ponce was quickly offed by the locals. No one knew what became
of the three musicians. One theory is that they found the Fountain of Youth
and proceeded north through the years until they ended up at the Paradise last
night. The names listed on the crew manifest were Willie Alexander,
Steve Cataldo, and Barrence Whitfield. I'll have what
Given the lineup, Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls are an
interesting choice to open the night. Do they represent a little torch sharing,
a warm welcome for the gals, and or a nod toward well-spent youth? In any case,
the Cure-Alls laid down spirited, up-tempo indie punk with
a singer-songwriter’s ear for a tight story. Johnson
lays down the law with the big bass and shows the crowd that the band’s
stream of public accolades is well deserved.
The Nervous Eaters show a new face with Adam Sherman
on guitar, Brad Hellan on bass, and David McLean
on drums. They are in turn tight, rangy, and mangy. Cataldo
chooses to forego some of the raging riffs of youth for a batch of new, slightly
less caustic, but engaged, steely-eyed takes on his world. No sitting on the
hits tonight. Cataldo follows Dylan Thomas' advice and does not go gentle into
that good night.
The early Nervous Eaters always had a dose of
lyric bile behind their proto-punk anthems. It would be great
to have a bouncing ball to follow along with with the new tunes
like openers "Wild Eyes" and "Why You Telling Me
Now". Time for a new disk? They rip through "Just Head"
and "Hot Steel" and hand the party off to Willie and
the Boom Boom Band.
Sherman sets the Wayback Machine to 1977 and Willie pegs it
with "At the Rat". He blossoms like a shock-topped, wild, gangly weed
the second he hits the stage. Years melt away. The band is cranking and
Loosigian is on fire. His solo on "Bimbos" cuts through like
a laser beam. Don't let it hit you in the eyes.
Willie's arms flap in the breeze, his hair is standing on end perfect, and his fingers dance on his well-traveled keys. He's in love with rock and roll and the crowd is loudly in love with him. He lets us take a breather with his homage to Kerouac - originally recorded with the Nervous Eaters as the backing band, talk about full circle. "Radio Heart", "Hit Her Widda Axe", "RnR 78", "Dirty Eddie", and "Mass Ave" never let up. It was spectacular.
The Paradise is a little over half full for most of the show. The crowd thinned
out before Barrence took the stage with Four Piece
Suit. Pity. They picked up where the Boom Boom band left off.
They grabbed the R & B and soul and delivered the gift to "The Girl
From Outer Space". They scorch us with "Stop Twistin’ My Arm"
then soothe us with "Apology Line". Four Piece Suit are different
from the Savages, a bit more subtlety and a touch more range. Tonight however,
they pick up the Savage’s rock and roll torch and absolutely blast off.
Barrence warms his voice up with some Tuvan throat-singing.
His famous yowls and howls are in fine form. No need to wait for the vibration
- it's flying off the stage. The hard cores left in the room know a hot blast
when they hear it and jump the shimmy and shake. Fast or slow everything feels
go go go. They wrap up the night with a screaming take on Nick Lowe’s
"Peace, Love, and Understanding". In case you hadn’t had enough
they slide into the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil" as a tribute to
What a night it was!!
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