A Steely Grip On Rock 'n Roll
Friends, it was a righteous return to live rock 'n roll on Saturday. Braving treacherous weather from the day before, we ventured north to the former great steel city of Bethlehem, PA to see Low Cut Connie. Long time readers of BRP know that LCC is one of my favorites, and they did not disappoint. Check out that picture of Will Donnelly flying off of the band's piano, Shondra. Is that beautiful, or what?
But before we get to the review of LCC, let's talk about one of the opening acts. The National Reserve is lead by Sean Walsh, and plays country-rock with the best of them. We caught them, standing right up front, and they ripped through an 8 song set that marks the group as one to watch.
One cool and different thing about National Reserve is that not only do they have two guitars, bass and drums, but they also feature an organ, and the band used it to great effect. I looked on the 'net to see who are the members of National Reserve, but could only find Sean Walsh's name. I'm here to tell you that the drummer just tore up the skins on their finale, and the organist played inspired and passionate riffs throughout the set.
I love live blues, and NR played them. But they also played songs reminiscent of the Allman Brothers, complete with slide guitar picking, and they also played some pure country. American roots music at its best, played with respect and depth of knowledge, straight out of the back woods of Brooklyn, New York. Who woulda thunk?
NR has an album coming out in May called Motel La Grange. For more on the National Reserve, check out their website. Here's the link:
And here are some pics to get you in the mood.
As good as the National Reserve was, we didn't drive up the Northeast Extension to see them. Nope, that honor went to Low Cut Connie, the Philly-based throwback rock 'n roll band headed by Adam Weiner. I've seen LCC about 4 times in the last 18 months, and I'm not the only one who has caught the bug. The MusicFest Café in the Steel Stacks was packed with LCC's growing fan base to see them rip it up again. And they didn't disappoint.
I took a huge number of pictures, which you'll see in a minute, but I also brought along the GoPro and got a couple of videos. So here you go, BRP fans, the very first original BRP video, Low Cut Connie doing "Death and Destruction." I think it's pretty badass and gives you a flavor for what it's like to see these guys live:
How about some pictures? Sure, here's your first installment.
So how was the show? Well, Adam Weiner was spot-on, as usual, as the focal point for one of the best live acts going. He plays on his knees, he plays with his butt, he plays with his feet, he stands on Shondra, and he does it all with a showman's aplomb. It's hard to take your eyes off of Adam.
But you should because the pictures you are viewing show that this band is far from a one-person show. Larry Scotten is an amazing drummer, Lucas Rinz drives the bass while smiling throughout the show, and Will Donnelly and James Everhart both are skilled guitarists. Donnelly has a great rock 'n roll look, has all the right poses, and does the patented Shondra leap at the end of every show. And Everhart has a unique voice that complements Weiner's. This is a tight outfit.
The band has become more and more professional, and their act is primed for widespread acclaim. They are due to hit the big festivals this year - SXSW, Bonaroo - and it's very likely that these upcoming performances will make them stars. The show features great originals, plus covers of Prince, Tom Petty and David Bowie songs. They are doing all the right things.
But the changes and developments to the show have changed the experience. The act seems less freewheeling and spontaneous than previous tours - there is a setlist that is not going to be messed with and the covers are carefully selected to hit deceased legends that are universally loved and respected. And while it is still an amazing live show, if you see them a few times, you recognize that certain things are done every night and, while not exactly formulaic, are calculated.
Is that bad? I don't know. They are still amazing, their rapidly-expanding crowd loves them, and I still wholeheartedly recommend that you go and see LCC when you get the chance. It is throwback rock 'n roll, emulating but not copying past legends like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and has energy, enthusiasm, passion and sheer fun not easily found anywhere else in rock today. They are great.
I'm still a HUGE LCC fan. I strategically positioned myself right up front and in the middle so that I could grab some fantastic pictures and videos ... and to have a jamming good time, too. Weiner is magnetic, a star already, and is amazingly interactive with the crowd. He goes out into the milieu, pulls people on stage, prances and preens, slaps hands, pulls out chest hair and throws it into the crowd, and bangs the hell out of Shondra. Going to a Low Cut Connie show is a cure for whatever ails you. It's a guaranteed great time, with rock 'n roll fun that is just amazing.
I'm going to drop a few more pictures on you. But before I do, I'm a bit disappointed that LCC ignored my request (both emailed to them in advance and yelled out during the show) to play Say Yes. C'mon guys, humor a crappy rock blogger, ok? And who is the woman that accompanied you all night? That's another change in the act, but to what purpose?
For more on Low Cut Connie, visit the BRP archives and LCC's website. BRP is loaded with pictures and reviews, and the band's official website has a lot of videos, media reviews, and the like. Here's the link:
Enough of LCC. LCC started a March BRP tear that is going to leave you and me breathless. I'm way back into the live music groove right now, and off to see Spoon on Tuesday. Are you ready? I'm so ready!! And I'm going to continue to upload videos and post them - original stuff, only accessible through your BRP know-how. It's big, and you are right on the cusp and in-the-know. God, I feel cool just hanging out with you! Check back often to keep up. And if you haven't been here for a while, be sure to check out the archives. There is a lot of great stuff there, and it's all so easily accessible. See you later, friends.
Leave a Reply.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.