Merry Christmas to me! 2019 brought me two, count 'em two, great Christmas gifts. First, it was the annual Marah Christmas show at Underground Arts, which was its usual raucous good time. Next, Low Cut Connie brought their act to Union Transfer the Saturday before St. Nick travels the globe. How nice is that? A BRP two-fer to end the year.
As you know, I'm a pretty big supporter of LCC. You might even say that I'm a booster, the Chamber of Commerce for this Philly-based rock band. You could go further, but I try to keep this site as family-friendly as possible. Anyway, I've been dragging people to see LCC for almost 4 years, hyping them with whoever asks what I'm listening to these days, and otherwise using them as a benchmark to compare with other live acts. Yes, they're that good.
And Saturday was not a disappointment. A sold-out UT was filled with festive holiday goers ready to have their rock 'n' roll eyeballs gouged out of their heads. LCC does what very few bands do these days: they revel in their rock performances and bring energy, passion, musicianship and showmanship to the stage. They did all of that on Saturday night.
Right when the band came out and the crowd went wild in anticipation, a big grin swept across my face. It had been nearly a year since I last saw LCC, and I was psyched for the event. It's not that I had forgotten how good they are live, it's just that I had seen so many other bands over the course of the year that I was happy to be back in a place where I knew a good time was going to be had. I've taken people to see LCC who are skeptics and gone so far as to GUARANTEE them a good time. Hey, they're coming with me, so that's going to be fun regardless, hahaha, but seriously, I've brought the most disparate people to see LCC and everyone has said "wow, that was great" at the end of the show. EVERYONE! It's as sure as death and taxes. So here we go again.
Out trots the band on Saturday, and, wait, who are these people? Well, there's Will Donnelly on guitar and the irrepressible Adam Weiner front and center, but everyone else is new: new drummer, new bassist, new rhythm guitar, and two new female backup singers. Damn, what is going on? I don't know, but the band quickly blasts into David Bowie's Diamond Dogs and we're off to the races.
How did the newcomers measure up? Let me say it this way: if this was the first time you saw LCC, you would be "OMG, that band is awesome! They are, like, amazing!" OK, maybe that's how you talk, but I hope not. That is, however, how one patron spoke right after the show. And you know what? Despite the limited range of her vocabulary, she was right. They are awesome and, like, amazing. But not as awesome and amazing as the good old days.
Say what? How so?
Let's start with the obvious. It's not just the President that ages over 4 years. Adam Weiner has aged, too. He's still a bit of a mad professor moving about the stage, stirring the pots and making sure that the band is humping. But he doesn't do as many crazy stunts on the piano (he still does some - check out the pictures for the proof). And he seems to be into a new phase of fancying himself a sex symbol. There was too much ass-wagging at the crowd and the like. The worst was when he ripped off his beater shirt and stood up there bare-chested. Particularly when the boy seems to have, ahem, put on some weight around the midriff. Seriously, that rock 'n' roll road diet seems to be agreeing with him.
And the show is different in that it's now the Adam and Will show, with guest appearances as necessary. Yes, Will poses and preens around the stage to a higher degree than before, and seems to be the more measured rock-posing foil to Adam's over-the-top outrageousness. Yes, Will still climbs up on Shondra and jumps off, which is a great rock move, but he also is doing some posing with Adam that wasn't present before. It's cool - are these guys the most photogenic band in the land or what? - but it's different.
And then the female backups. They could sing, no doubt, but they were dressed like strumpets, accentuating the forbidden lust rock angle that they seem to be driving for these days. Except that it's 2019 and there is no forbidden lust anymore. You want some booty, just hit the Tinder account and it shows up at your door. And it's free. Anyway, the backups were very athletic and basically did a 1.5 hour workout while occasionally singing, dancing and moving about the stage. Then one of them took off her shirt, revealing a sports bra and tiny boobs, and threw it to the crowd. That was how the show ended.
What else is new? Well, during Shake It Little Tina, the band invites patrons up on stage to dance with the band. About 20 or so people took them up on it - I would have gone had I been closer to the stage, but alas, just hung back and took pics instead. I thought that bringing people up on stage was a cool and fun thing to do.
And they played new songs. RED ALERT! Yeah, the new songs. They ain't the upbeat bar tunes of old, like Boozophilia. Nope, instead we're getting artsy, with Adam trying to write the follow up to Springsteen's Atlantic City. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. Newer songs like Revolution Rock 'n Roll and Dirty Water were part of the lineage of the band and kept the crowd going, but Adam alone at the piano doing a ballad is an "uh oh" moment for me.
The show did highlight a bunch of the aforementioned songs, and those were the ones that got the crowd pumped. It was great to hear them performed live again. And we were lucky to have one enthusiastic crowd going nuts, too. These are not the unconverted masses from a few years back. No sir, the word has gotten out on LCC, and the crowd was filled with acolytes singing back the lyrics to the band. There are probably even Harvard Law grads in their now, too. I know, that thought made puke come up my throat, too. Apologies.
Am I complaining? Like Joe Walsh, I can't complain but sometimes I still do. I guess that I'm disappointed in some of the changes, fired up by others, and realistic enough to recognize that nothing good is going to last forever, particularly at these wages. The new band is tight, plays the songs like they are meant to be played, and leaves the visuals to the established LCC stars and the new wanna-be go go dancers. The performances are still passionate and there is dedication to make sure that everyone is having fun. It's still a great show.
Yet, as we discussed on the way home, it's not quite as good as past shows. Yup, the human condition has appeared again - never satisfied.
Hey, hey, come back! I'm not trying to get all down on this post. It was a great show, a fantastic kickoff to Christmas week, and a bargain/steal/rock-bottom giveaway of crazy live rock (tickets were $20). I came away completely happy. I was thoroughly entertained. And I'm as enthusiastic about live rock as I've been in quite some time. The detour through Elton and Cher is over, and I'm back to great bar bands cranking out monstrous good times to the delight of people of all ages. Or something like that.
If you're not done with your holiday shopping, I have a great suggestion for you: give the gift of BRP. It's FREE for Pete's sake! All you have to do is send the link and they're in like flint. I'll do my best to keep them entertained for all of 2020. And you'll be a hero for giving them the best holiday gift EVER.
With that, Merry Christmas to everyone. Unless of course you celebrate something different. If that's the case, Merry Something Different. Whatever you celebrate, just live by the rule of being cool to your fellow human being - help out when you can, laugh and joke with them, and remember that we're all riding this same planet together. Except for those Harvard Law grads, hahaha. See you soon!
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.