Low Cut Connie remains the bomb. Yes, indeed, Adam Weiner is still an amazing live performer, Will Donnelly still cuts a fantastic stylistic lead guitar pose, and LCC remains the best bar band in the land. The backup band is constantly changing, and while they are still good, I’m partial to the first iteration of the band that I saw. I still remember being at the Yards Brawler Fest in Philly, all by my lonesome, and watching wide-eyed as LCC blew my rock-saturated mind. At one point, three different people had climbed on top of the piano known as Shaundra, and there was just well-rehearsed and wild mayhem going on up on the stage.
Those days are not quite over, but the band is different now. Adam is more of a star, having become a lockdown phenom with his Tough Cookies performances. I watched a couple of those episodes, and they were a worthy introduction of his unique style to a homebound audience fooled into giving up their lives by the evil Fauci. They weren’t a substitute for the real thing, mind you, but more of a holdover to keep you interested until the “all clear” was issued (I think a sizeable minority of people are still waiting for the all clear, but not me – I went to the Free State of Florida and LIVED).
Anyway, we were in Asbury Park at the Stone Pony and LCC was up on the stage blasting through a terrific set and going through all the routines. Remember Adam playing the piano in crazy positions? He still does it. Remember the backup band ripping and tearing up the raucous songs like Rio and Shake It Little Tina? Will Donnelly posing and prancing on stage while never missing a note? It’s all still there. The only thing missing was Will doing his end-of-show signature jump from Shaundra. I don’t know if he didn’t do it because, well, we’re all getting older, or if he didn’t do it because the ceiling above the Pony’s stage is pretty low. But Adam still tore off his undershirt, got out into the crowd and slimed some people with his sweaty body. And Adam was still clamoring for the crowd to come along for a wild ride but only if they got louder!
Stop, I almost forgot. LCC always brings an interesting opener, and they haven’t forgotten that part. This night, it was Susu out of NYC. Susu is a punk band fronted by two scantily clad young black women up front. Why mention their skin color? Because there are hardly ANY black punk bands anywhere, and to have a white punk band with two black chicks up front is different in anyone’s world.
Susu has it all: looks, style, showmanship, charisma, stage presence. The only thing missing? Good songs. Now, they did have the sense to cover the Ramones Beat on the Brat a truly great piece of tongue-in-cheek punk nihilism. I hadn’t seen that song played live since the last time I had seen the Ramones, so I was all smiles while they blasted through that track. Other than that, the songs were average, mediocre or forgettable. Sometimes, all three. But not to worry! I’ve seen other bands that had the look and style before they had the sound (anyone remember the Bravery?), and the songs are out there to be had if Susu takes the time to find them.
Here's an interesting tidbit. The two women who front Susu ended up singing backup for LCC. I remember that kind of thing happening before with Car Seat Headrest bringing the opening band into the second set, too. But for Susu, those two women were ACTIVE on the stage. I mean all over the place. Those girls must have been tired after being up on stage for a few hours of very hard work. They knew enough to let Adam be the star, but they weren’t shy about making their presence felt. All in all, it was an entertaining combination.
LCC has a lot more songs now, too. And the crowd has matured. In fact, when they played their older songs (I remember this, in particular, for when they played Say Yes) a lot of the crowd didn’t know the tunes. I found that very interesting. That means one of two things. The original LCC crowd is now gone. Or LCC has found a much bigger audience, and most of them derive their LCC knowledge from the Tough Cookies era. It’s probably a bit of both. I may be one of the few people who have seen LCC many times and who still spend their hard-earned money to see the band over and over.
There is also no question that the band is changing. Adam is trying to write different tunes than the rave-ups of his more youthful days. As anyone at BRP knows, going away from rave-ups is not a good idea in my book. And while his more recent albums are getting some critical acclaim, I still like the bar band zaniness of the early stuff. I don’t really want to see Adam by himself at the piano doing a ballad. Yuck, that’s so Elton John without the sausage-sized fingers. I want to see movement, silliness, people moving and grooving. And sure, there is still plenty of that, but it’s not the same as the earlier days.
But did I come away satisfied? Oh, hells yes! And the value proposition remains outstanding – you can barely go to the movies these days without dropping $20 a ticket, but to see a full band of crazies giving you their all for about 2 hours for $20? Man, what a great deal! I love it. And even without the value, it’s still a great night of pure rock ‘n’ roll energy, with some fun campiness thrown in to keep you entertained.
As always, if you get a chance to see LCC, do yourself the favor and go see them. I never guarantee that people will enjoy a show because of the vagaries of people’s tastes in music. But I have taken dozens of people to see LCC, and they have all come away satisfied. As Dick Vitale would say, it’s a guarantee, baby! You’ll love it. And some day, you’ll be able to tell all your friends that, yeah, you saw LCC back in some tiny club before they became big stars. And you know that there is nothing like lording your good fortune over the deniers and unbelievers who later become converts – not that that’s why you go to see LCC, mind you, but it’s yet another in the long list of benefits of seeing them perform live.
With that, it’s time to move on to yet another adventure in the BRP world. If there is one place where the value proposition is even better than an LCC show, it’s BRP. Free! How much better could it be? Well, it might be better if I wrote better, but hey, that’s a nitpick. Tell your Ma, tell your Pa, everything’s going to be alright when you’re in BRP land. Hang in there, winter won’t last forever, and soon you’ll be outside in shorts and flip-flops with the grill going, a cold beverage in you hand, and the tunes playing as a warm breeze wafts down on you. Take care, my friends.
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.