Lucid Culture


Ian Hunter Wails in Hoboken

Ian Hunter is an inspiration: at 72, he’s at the peak of his career, as his careening show at the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival last night reaffirmed. With an excellent band including Mark Bosch on lead guitar, James Mastro on rhythm guitar, a second keyboardist supplying rippling organ and incisive piano, and a rhythm section, Hunter stomped with a nonchalant intensity through songs from the glam era up to the present. The old stuff was represented by Angeline, which has aged well; the woozy All the Way to Memphis, which hasn’t; and of course the requisite All the Young Dudes which at this point is on autopilot and needs to be retired. The more recent material, unsurprisingly, was the best. Mastro grinned and played purist, straight-up rhythm throughout the show, switching to mandolin on a couple of songs, Bosch firing off noisy, shattered blues when it came time for solos. Hunter began on piano: a singalong of Cleveland Rocks appeared early on, along with a noisy version of Life After Death that alternated anguished guitar screams with stillness.

Hunter switched to acoustic guitar early on; they hit a pretty indifferent riff-rock vibe mid-set but regrouped with the best song of the night, a rough, rampaging version of the towering gutter anthem Man Overboard, title track to his excellent 2009 album. They followed that with a slightly less pessimistic, incisively roaring 23A Swan Hill, another cynical, regret-tinged disollution anthem. Maybe it was because they did everything generously and expansively, with plenty of room for intros, outros and solos, but when they closed down the set with a pounding cover of Sweet Jane at close to half past five, it seemed like a short set. Or maybe that’s because Hunter’s catalog is so deep that there’s no way he’d be able to get to all the gems in a single concert. He’s got several dates lined up at City Winery in September for those who need to see more – and by the crowd’s reaction, those shows will probably sell out.

May 2, 2011 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Album of the Day 11/2/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Tuesday’s album is #819:

The Bongos – Numbers with Wings

Along with the Feelies, the Bongos put Hoboken, New Jersey (across the river from Manhattan for all you outsiders) on the map in the early 1980s. Their quirky, sometimes jangly, sometimes powerpoppy Drums Along the Hudson remains a cult favorite almost thirty years after it came out. We picked this one not only to be counterintuitive, but also because this 1983 ep is a whole lot better, in fact, it’s got some of the best janglerock ever recorded. The classic here is the swooping, hypnotic, uncharacteristically dark and plaintive title track; Sweet Blue Cage mines a distantly glimmery, psychedelic Rain Parade feel. Barbarella, with its Adam Ant-style percussive dance groove, is the smash hit that should have been. They follow in a similar vein with Skydiving and wrap it up with another deliciously jangly should-have-been hit, Tiger Nights, a party theme waiting to happen. Some fans and critics objected to this album as overproduced and slick, but the band never wrote better songs before or after. Frontman/guitarist Richard Barone has continued as a solo act; guitarist/bassist James Mastro would go on to a career as a brilliant and highly sought-after lead player with Ian Hunter, the Jayhawks, Amy Speace and many others. Here’s a random torrent.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 2/13/09 – Happy Birthday Gail!

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Friday’s is #530:

The Bongos – Numbers with Wings

The 1982 title track to the Hoboken band’s excellent ep, this is an uncharacteristically haunting if lyrically nonsensical janglerock anthem, Richard Barone’s watery guitar soaring over a brisk dance beat. Others – guess who – would say that this isn’t even the best track on the album, that it’s the atmospheric, melancholy Sweet Blue Cage that really hits the spot…

February 13, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment