If you’re under the impression that 1990s band reunions are flooding the 2K_teens, you’d really be floored by the flow of even older combos coming together for another go-round. Next week in New York, the great late-70s power pop legends, the Real Kids, are playing with ’80s garage gods, the Lyres. But wait, first let’s keep beeping in reverse to the surprisingly sweaty show last Friday at Warsaw in Brooklyn. The cool old Polish hall was a perfect setting for the Flamin’ Groovies and the Sonics show, since it had the air of a place that would’ve hosted a high school “Battle of the Bands” around the time these groups got going. It was the first night of a two-day spectacular set up by Norton Records.
First off were the veritable babies of the evening, local stomp-blues trio, Daddy Long Legs, who kicked out their always reliable 40 minutes of growling, strumming, harmonica-wailing BBQ sauce.
Next up were the Flamin’ Groovies, the kings of power pop (since they pretty much invented the genre circa 1966, long before we even knew pop needed to be re-powered, and it did). This mostly original lineup laid out an hour-plus of the Byrds-y end of their sound, with all their fine guitars shooting out fine tones. The band even gamely hitting the stage in near-period outfits, all paisley and stripped pants. Their set a couple years ago with Roy Loney singing along might’ve been a little looser and lascivious, but this one worked wonders to set up the roots-rock faithful for the Sonics.
Seattle’s garage rock granddaddies utterly seared eyebrows with their energy and song-into-song bam-bam as they kicked through their classics like “He’s Waitin’” and “The Witch” among too many too mention. Clad in all-black, the band featured three original members, including singer/keyboardist Jerry Roslie, whose pipes still harbored the deep wail that made the Sonics so distictively savage. And if he wanted to keep to the keys for a tune or two, bassist Freddie Dennis’ screamin’ was even more insane. And those riffs! This band came up with the template for the rawest gut-punch riffs still being mined by punks today. Your grandmother and her coffee klatch could walk out and strum Sonics riffs, and it would probably be pretty fun. This? This was not your grandmother and her coffee klatch. Seriously, if you are at all concerned about the aging process, catch the Sonics again soon (and you might be able to, as they are wrapping up a new album), and you will walk out thinking 67 is the new 32.
Photos by Alix Piorun.