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Beelzebub’d and boogied


Something big is either happening or gonna happen. In the past few weeks I've seen the Rochester bands go from a whisper to a scream. The roar was apocalyptically epic a few weeks back, like when The Atomic Swindlers opened for Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and TheFluffers. The Swindlers rock in a big and sweet pop swirl that's as smooth and sexy as April Laragy's tummy. Tilbrook played loose and was charming and warm like black coffee in bed.

Local rock hero Joff Wilson has moved to the rotten apple and to celebrate his move he played one last show April 22 with a makeshift band, The Drop Outs. Wilson is such an amazing songwriting talent. But moreover he was a mentor and teacher, always willing to share a riff, or the stage, with anyone. Whether it's hosting an open mic, or sharing a gig, Wilson possesses a grace, humility, and sense of camaraderie we should all try better to attain. Though this was his farewell party, he still made room for Blue Spark & Flame (drummer Joey learned to play the drums from Wilson), who incite with equal parts terror and genius, and an engaging singer-songwriter, Brian Rath.

Thursday, the same week ran the scale from fantastic to that stuff idiots can't tell from shinola. Zappa alums Ike Willis and Napolean Murphy Brock played with Project Object at Milestones. The band was funky, fun, and odd, full of disjointed grooves and irreverence. They opened the whole affair with Frank's ode to breasts and brew, "Titties and Beer." The musicianship was outstanding and the packed house vibed hot and cool.

Out of Project Object's fire and into the toilet. 2 Live Crew put on an embarrassingly loud, lame, out of sync, misogynistic, stupid (not in a good way) set to an all-white gathering of about 100 at Water Street Music Hall. They sucked. OK --- maybe the juicy-bottomed hootchies on stage kept me entertained for a few minutes.

The following Saturday, April 23,was an outstanding double bill with Atlanta's The Forty-Fives and Toronto's The Sadies. The Forty-Fives pounded and pummeled a muscular set at the expense of their new drummer. The Sadies filled the Bug Jar with big sounds of redemption, love, loss, heartache, and rock 'n' roll. Travis Good's style of guitar playing is at times creepy. More than once I saw his right hand pass over the strings --- not touching them --- yet they still emitted a wash of grievous angel beauty.

Last Monday The Reverend Horton Heat returned dragging Seattle's Supersuckers and NYC's Murphy's Law to Milestones with him. I'm kinda surprised the show didn't sell out.

The Rev cranked out pretty much the same set with the exception of adding in an awesome rendition of Ernest Tubb's "Thanks A Lot." That was really cool.

Supersucker guitarist RontroseHeathman had to pull Supersucker double duty as second guitarist Dan "Thunder Bolton" is taking a little time off (and feeling much better, thank you). The Suckers played all their hits, casually referencing the rock greats they have the balls to call their equals, and blatantly referencing Thin Lizzy and The James Gang (seeing as how Heathmankinda looks like Joe Walsh).

Murphy's Law was loose and funny, passing around a big bottle of Jagermeister before using it as a cowbell. Though hardcore legends themselves, they got the ironic cover-song ball rolling by covering ZZ Top's "Tush."

Last Tuesday The Voodoo Organist blew into town from LA to do that voodoo that he do so well. Bee Eater --- with yet another bass player --- heated up the joint with a ragged and fun set. The Organist (Scott Wexton) Beelzebub'd and boogied solo-style on his creepy red organ and theremin, sounding all Pentecostal and damned on top of big, pre-fab beats.

Three degenerate douchebags ripped off The Priests Saturday night. Gone are one Buick Regal, a Farfisa Mini-Compact, and a 1966 Fender Bassman Head.