This date in 2003 once again found us taking a road trip to see the Dictators. Being longtime fans, we were aware that there were often long gaps between gigs, so we tried to see as many as we could to tide us over between breaks.
This particular trip took us to lovely Philadelphia. The “lovely” part, we’ll have to take their word for. We got seriously lost in South Philly, the worst burned-out ghetto this side of “Superfly.” Around and around we drove, 2 of the palest white boys you have ever seen, as we tried to work from the vague directions the pre-Mapquest search provided. With the dome light glaring, we could not have called more attention to ourselves if we’d had an air raid siren shrieking. We simply could not find the club!! The hotel, we found no problem, as we passed that twice! Once we saw our second upside-down car on fire, we figured it was time to call the North Star Bar and ask for directions. My friends, it’s never a good sign when you tell the club your location, and they reply with “Oh my God, get the hell out of there now!”
Andy Shernoff’s Song Workshop is in the middle of a month-long residency at Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th Street in NYC. We caught the set last Wednesday.
These gigs are rare chances to peek behind the songwriter’s curtain, and witness songs as they are being brought to life. The musicians barely know the tunes — experiments are made, risks taken, mistakes shrugged off. It’s endearing to hear the material in this manner, and it’s a unique experience for the audience.
This was the first time I’ve noticed just how amazing Brian Hurd and Tricia Scotti truly are, and how they are both perfectly suited for their supporting roles. They both display musical intuition that sometimes borders on the telepathic. Brian, who’s rocking the largest set of mutton chops since the heyday of Andre the Giant, never overplays, and always supplies what the song needs. Sometimes it’s a wailing solo, sometimes a background fill, but he’s always spot on and soulful. And Mother of God, what a voice on Tricia Scotti. It is a wonder of nature. I would pay to hear her sing the phone book.
Three of the night’s tunes were new to these ears, and all were memorable. “I Just Want To Save Your Soul” is almost spiritual in tone, while “I Know a Song To Save Your Life” has a Paul McCartney vibe (the GOOD Macca, not the “Just Another Day” Macca). “I Cried Love” was the best of the newbies, with a simple, soothing feel that is reminiscent of “Stay With Me” while sounding nothing like that classic.
The Otto’s residency wraps up tomorrow. There are more shows coming in Queens, and another soon at Café Nine in New Haven. There will be lots of Shernoff to go around in 2013.
Photo courtesy of Natalie Bradt
“Monitors are for pu**ies!” declared the too-sexy-for-his-white-jeans HDM, as Manitoba blazed their way through a 40-minute greatest hits set at Wavestomp this past Sunday. This was the debut of Wavestomp, and judging from the size of the crowd and the level of good vibes, it’s destined to become an annual event.
The gig took place in the “ballroom” of Rocks Off concert cruise’s largest ship, The Princess, as it did laps around the Statue of Liberty. While the ship initially seemed like an odd venue, the unique layout — with the stairs serving as tiered seating and the upper deck doubling as a wrap-around balcony — actually made for a nice and compact auditorium feel.
This show was as close to a Dictators convention as we’ve had thus far, and the competition was intense for the coveted “who traveled the farthest” award. “Boston? Feh, plus your team sux. North Carolina? Now we’re talking! Wisconsin? Who has Google Maps, which one’s father away? Wait, Minneapolis?? I think we have a winner!”
I’m running out of adjectives with which to describe just how great this band sounds, and how much F-U-N fun these gigs are.
Set list from 7/22/12:
• 1. The Party Starts Now
• 2. Next Big Thing
• 3. Avenue A
• 4. Haircut and Attitude
• 5. Slow Death
• 6. Who Will Save Rock + Roll
• 7. New York, New York
• 8. Stay With Me
“Baby, Let’s Twist” and “American Beat” were cut at the line of scrimmage due to time constraints.
– Salvi C.
Manitoba made their Baaahstin debut this past Thursday, 5/24, and ended a 9-year drought between gigs here. Boston has always been a 2nd home for HDM and company, and despite all the Yanks/Red Sox foolishness that permeates both sides, the love has consistently flowed both ways. Thursday’s gig may have been the best of the best, as Church was packed, and my peeps were going nuts from Note One. Our boys were greeted and treated like the rock gods that not enough people besides us know that they are.
(alternate title: J.P. Brushes With Greatness)
Images with the kind permission of Dorthy Lee @ Nuclearjackalope.com
Three days later, and I’m sitting here reminiscing about what a great time I had at the Manitoba gig on Sat, 3/31. As much as I love the band and their music, it was the unique circumstances of the gig that make it such a special memory. It was a house concert, the first ever for Manitoba. Drew Eckmann, my new hero, was our host for the evening. Drew takes it upon himself to do his part to try and preserve rock + roll by opening up his home in Ringwood, NJ, for concerts.
The more I think about it, the more astonishing the whole concept is to me. I mean, I don’t like it when people I KNOW come in my house, and this guy is generous and kind enough to open his house up to complete strangers. And he’s done it 107 times!! As a result of his dedication, 75 or so drooling, screaming idiots were able to share and enjoy the primal, communal experience that a great concert provides.
Photos by Adam Gerstein
Doing this on four hours sleep and a massive hangover. Seriously, MANITOBA played their hearts out. They knew the importance of this gig (let’s face it — you are talking about 4,000 people) and they looked thrilled to be opening up for Guns N’ Roses.
(Photo courtesy of Ian Jane /Rock! Shock! Pop!)
Did you spend the weekend craving a cigarette and some cuddling? If not, then you weren’t at the Manitoba show at the extremely oversold Bowery Electric on Thu 1/26. The lucky attendees have spent the last couple of days looking back in awe.
You thought the Asbury show was great? So did I. Well, this was a quantum leap above the debut. From Note One, the band kicked a** and took names. They were tighter than a mosquito’s tweeter, and there was a ROAR coming from the dueling Gibsons that is almost beyond description. Imagine being on a tarmac without earplugs as a jet plane comes in for a landing — THAT’s what they sound like.
In accordance with the age-old show biz axiom of “Always open out of town,” Manitoba made their world debut on Friday, Jan. 13. The band headlined at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ, as part of the “Light the Day” benefit series.
It had been a looooong 5 years since these songs have been performed in the loud and proud, and it was a toss-up as to who was more excited — the band, to finally have the chance to play them, or the audience, who finally had their patience rewarded by being able to hear them. Suffice to say, it was an emotional and cathartic night for everyone in attendance. The supermodel-thin Handsome Dick spoke for everyone in the room when he bellowed, “There’s nowhere I’d rather be than in a bowling alley in New Jersey on a beautiful Friday night!”
If you had your druthers, and could choose the parameters for the perfect party, what would those parameters be? If your criteria includes a wonderful venue, gracious hosts, amazing food in quantities that could feed a small army, guests who are fellow music fanatics, and last but not least, a kicka** band playing three feet from your face, then Chumley, you really should have been at the Del-Lords house concert this past w/e.
Saturday’s show at the Root Hoot concert house in Peace Dale, RI, was the third leg of the band’s World Domination Tour, after lesser stops at the Lakeside and in Spain. Some 75 lucky souls spent 2.5 hours being regaled by Scott, Roscoe, Frankie and Lucky. The band played two sets. The first set was very tight, and loaded with DLs classics. Then, after a 45-minute break, in which everyone attempted to put a dent in the mountain of food, they played a much more adventurous second set, in the classic “Do we even KNOW this one?? Ah Hell, let’s do it anyway” style. Three or four from the upcoming album were previewed and well received. It also seems that both Scott and Eric are frustrated comedians, as they told very funny stories about Stu-boy King, Screaming Jay Hawkins and “Sergio F**king Franchi.”
Until we hear back from the librarian at Prince George Community College, and we’re not waiting underwater for that to happen, we’re going to go with the assumption that this is the very first review our boys ever received. This beauty is from the Village Voice issue dated May 2, 1974, and it covers what looks to be gig #10 or 11 of the Dictators. “There’s no way for them to miss out on superstardom.” Sigh.
Thanks and a tip of the miner’s helmet to our friends at streetsyoucrossed.blogspot.com, who did all the heavy archeological digging for us.
– Salvi C.