Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Smithereens continue to rock. A great thing

I had hoped to post much earlier in the week than today, but have been sick since Feb. 14th. I got a sore throat that didn't go away, and the nasty little bug moved into my lungs and I'm on anitbiotics now. I am still winded when I tackle a single flight of stairs, so the energy just has been down.

Anyway, even when I was sick, I couldn't miss a chance to catch the Smithereens at the Coach House on Friday, Feb. 16th. I could have lived forever without seeing the opening band Boxcar. I think I caught them last year (I think they opened for dada at the same venue) and they were not any better this time around - 40 minutes of sonic pain. Enuff said.

Next came the Next. I had never caught the band before and didn't know their songs, but I was impressed by the lead singer's voice and the original rock material. The band fits comfortably alongside Big City Rock, a band that recalls the 1980s with a fresh spin.

Finally (and when you're ill, time crawls by), the Smithereens took the stage before a capacity crowd at 10:09 p.m. There is something about the quartet's unlikely mix of wonderful melodies and cruncy guitars, memorable harmonies and singer Pat DiNizio's dark lyrics that has a sound like no other artist. The band long-ago described it as AC/DC meets the Beatles and I think that description still fits. This was a good night for the band, with the New Jersey outfit featuring four songs off the newly-released Beatles tribute "Meet the Smithereens!" across the 125-minute set.

The Smithereens continue to be my favorite-ever bar band, playing a loose and energetic style that is timeless. Highlights included the kick-off number "Behind the Wall of Sleep," "Only a Memory" featuring lead guitarist Jim Babjak tearing it up and "Room Without a View" featuring drummer Dennis Diken on fire.

Here was the set list:
Behind the Wall of Sleep
House We Used to Live In
Only a Memory
Top of the Pops
Yesterday Girl
Cut Flowers
Don't Bother Me (George Harrison tune sung by Jim Babjak)
Deep Black
Under the Boardwalk (cover - impromptu)
Up on the Roof (another impromptu sung by Dennis)
I Wanna Be Your Man (the old Beatles Ringo classic sung by Dennis)
Miles From Nowhere
Cigarette (Pat DiNizio held a burning cig while delivering a knockout version)
In a Lonely Place
Especially for You
Blue Period
Drown in My Own Tears
She's Got a Way (great harmonies on this should-have-been a hit)
Room Without a View
Time and Time Again
Blood and Roses
(Encore starts)
I Want to Hold Your Hand (the Beatles classic delivered with power & style)
Hold Me Tight (another cut off "Meet the Beatles!"/"Meet the Smithereens!")
(impromptu jam of several oldies like "That's Life" and "Broadway")
A Girl Like You (seven minutes of firepower after midnight)
I'm a Fool in Love Wity You" (this was the last song the band played and Pat noted it is a new song. A great song that hooked me in from the beginning and I hope it is included on another Smithereens album soon!)