Rock God: three shows in five days

Me, that is. Well, sort of.

As of tonight I’ll have seen three honest-to-goodness rock and roll concerts in five days, a level of sheer balls-to-wall rockitude that I probably haven’t achieved since ye olde college days.

Herewith a list of the shows that have been rocking my shorthairs:

1. The streak began last Thursday with Ride into the Sun: A Tribute to Lou Reed at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. The show featured a mashup of some of the valley’s best bands, but it was tough to say who was who because there was a lot of sitting-in and member swapping. J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. played on a bunch of songs, and Mark Mulcahy sang two songs on his own (“Waiting for the Man” and the other I can’t remember) and then played drums on another. Local faves Rusty Belle did righteous versions of “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Sweet Jane,” making those of us who thought we never wanted to hear those songs again think twice. But the best performance of the evening came out of nowhere from a band that as far as I know doesn’t even have a name and wasn’t originally scheduled to play on the bill — local guitarist Greg Kendall fronting a pickup band consisting of his two sons and a friend of theirs, all in in their teens/early twenties, all wearing baseball hats and dressed like lacrosse players. They started off with a fine version of “I’ve Found a Reason,” which was great, fine, perfectly nice and then after a pause to readjust they launched into an absolutely blistering version of “European Son.” Not my favorite Velvets song by a long shot, but this was one of the most electrifying live performances I’ve ever witnessed: a pounding bass/drum backbeat kept things steady while on top of that Greg delivered five minutes of furious guitar-driven madness. It was astounding, one of those transcendent moments that remind you why you go to concerts in the first place.

2. Then on Saturday night Twinkly and I caught Jake Bugg at the House of Blues in Boston. I know he was the hot new thing last year but he just came across my radar a couple of weeks ago and I have been listening to his two albums on repeat ever since. He’s the real deal: a bit of Johnny Cash, some Nick Drake, maybe some Everly Brothers, maybe some Dylan. He performed a short, intense set without any affectation whatsoever; the extent of his stage banter was the name of the song and whether it was on the first album or the second. There was a hilariously huge contingent of young women at the show who screamed in teenybopper fashion every so often, which I didn’t expect. And also: what the fuck is with people carrying on conversations during acoustic numbers?!

3. Finally, tonight me and the kid are seeing Pixies on the launch of their new tour at the Calvin in Northampton. Looking forward to it since it’s been a good 20 years since I last saw them (that time Pere Ubu opened and David Bowie was in the audience). Tonight, Mark Mulcahy is opening the show and if you don’t know him, check out his new album, “Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You.” It is a fine piece of work.

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3 Responses to Rock God: three shows in five days

  1. pt dismal says:

    yer livin’ the rock’n’roll life there, kamper. the missus and i played a number at a local record store lou reed tribute in november. acoustic guitar/banjo version of “the heroine” from the blue mask. not a blistering performance, but it was a lot of fun.

    viva lou.


    • kamper says:

      Sounds fun – wish I could’ve heard it. This show was 3 hrs long and it just reminded me of how many great songs he wrote – from Velvets through solo. And the songs are so solid, open to almost infinite interpretation.

  2. pt dismal says:

    if i can figure out how to get the video offa the missus’s phone, and can figure out how to post it on the youtube, you can see and hear the awesomeness…. if not, i’ll sing it for you over the phone.


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