by Brian Smith
The Sugarcoats, starring a Peter-Panish Joey Mazzola and his merry band O’ youngsters, lifted off of its own night (and city) buzz on the Magic Stick’s second stage upstairs; Stones/Band/Gun Club nods abounded, sort of, and you forget how a bit of age and sense of earned judiciousness separate the men from the boys. Guitarist Mazzola’s so there, so aware of the song and its singer, enough to understand that it’s what you don’t play that make the before-and-after motifs so musically profound. (God’s in the air between notes, ya know
) His strident arpeggios and melodies rise over, under, sideways and down. Boom. The quintet’s sullied beat-pound suited singer Corey, who resembled a youthful Steve Earle but sounded a bit like a young Dylan (Jagger too!), only pissed off and higher pitched. Neat!
Cannon: The spindly Kenny Tudrick’s such a natural that even his stumbles (mic stand tipping, bad guitar cord etc.) are handled with a kind of rock star grace and timing that’s inherent, and the rock ’n’ roll, country and blues hooks, the Hammond drones and poppy melodies, sting and soar and then bottom out only to lift up again, so much so that it’s hard to believe this is a fuckin’ trio. Now that’s songwriting, chief, of the highest, brightest order. Every godamned note played carries weight. There’s absolutely no retreating behind walls of fuzz or distortion or some other cheap trick, just three instruments and up-from-the-gut singin’. Tra la la.
Erik Lusch’s mammoth, million-pound Hammond B-3 organ, Nick Lucassian on the tidy Charlie Watts-sized Ludwigs and Tudrick, alternating between standard and open tuning, turned in a jaw-dropper of set, the band’s first ever, that teaches how you can’t have what Tudrick has without living that (his) life. The shit’s earned. It bottlenecks familiarity, aesthetic, passion and musical insight (and a record collection that runs deep deep deep) and then uncorks it in 3-to-6 minute salvos, such as soon-to-be-giant songs “Hang ’em High,” and the instant singalong-y single “Sun Down” and handful of others that don’t sound unlike a natural evolution from Tudrick’s dead Bulldog,
Even on this tiny flimsy stage and through a dubious P.A., where drums, mic stand and the Naylor guitar stack rocked a bit to-and-fro whenever Tudrick leapt, Cannon showed how it’s not the set-up, or the stage, or the venue, but it’s the guy and the band. Any great performer has that something that makes you want to know more about 'em, no matter how much you deny it. Unless you’re a narcissistic weirdo you don’t wanna see a replica of yourself up there, yeah? After Tudrick, it’ll be drudgery watching have-nots go at it. Not everybody can do this.
Old Jim Diamond sittin’ in (did he join?) was about the only “novelty” with Doop & the Inside Outlaws, whose kickass downriver honky tonk blends sweetly the black south and white north country-soul and rock ’n’ roll with skill, wit and aplomb — the shit-kicker hats notwithstanding. And that, kids, is about my only observation worth noting because it was too sweaty and crowded for my tender girl and the cigarette, so we hung back within eyeshot and at one point listened to Augie Visocchi’s yarn of snowed-in
With a pickslide ...
Photos below by Doug "Sweet Cheeks" Coombe:
Doop and the Inside Outlaws