The Blasters and the Hi-Risers: March 11, 2011 Maxwell’s – Flac and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

April 3, 2011

[photo courtesy of Steve at Culture Schlock]

mrsaureus reports:
“Here’s a confession: I know almost nothing about Hoboken, in spite of being proud resident of NJ since I decamped from Manhattan in the early 90’s (though I try to keep up my dual citizenship). I know that it has pretensions about being the sixth borough, and geographically it’s sort of a counterweight to Brooklyn across the centrifuge spindle of Manhattan. It makes demographic sense that coolness could diffuse over that way, and with Brooklyn almost full to capacity with hip (I heard recently about some trucker hats and beards in Woodside, for goodness sake), Hoboken might reasonably aspire to graduate from counterweight to counterpart: Jersey Brooklyn. Brooklyn on the Hudson. Brooklyn Sinistro. Most of the people I saw there on my recent visit wouldn’t have looked out of place in Williamsburg, but there sure weren’t many of them. Ten o’clock on a Friday night and not much happening on Washington Street. The big question I had was, where the hell is everybody? Then I got it. Of course. It’s Friday night: everybody went to NYC (you know, the real NYC).

Maxwell’s is the smallest venue I have ever been in that features nationally known acts. You walk through the bar/restaurant with it’s nice tin ceiling to a back room that is maybe twenty by sixty feet with a small stage at one end and a bar over by the door. It’s smaller than the typical “great” room featured in all that doomed suburban real estate, those tract houses for the wealthy. There isn’t even any back stage. The bands actually walk through the audience, guitars in hand, and climb up on the stage from the front. It’s about as intimate a performance space as you could actually sell tickets for, and it’s not hard to see why people love it so much.

On stage right it’s Keith Wyatt, whom I didn’t even know was the Dave Alvin du jour, but I recognized him right away from a bunch of guitar instructional videos that I have. He still got his 80’s movie star Judge Reinhold good looks, but seemed a little tired and pale, washed out, like just being in The Blasters starts to pull your soul loose. From the time I first saw them in Streets of Fire, I’ve thought the Blasters operated in a sort of Mephistophelian haze, as if instead of selling their souls outright Robert Johnson style, they’ve been parcelling them out in small transactions over decades, JIT Fausts, shopping at Satan’s 7-11 for essentials only. Fame and fortune is a big ticket item, out of reach with this parsimonious approach, but for the soul in your left little toe you can probably get a mixed review in NME, leaning positive, and a really good chicken fried steak. Well, that’s one theory. Maybe he was just tired: the show didn’t start till almost midnight and went till almost 2 AM. That’s late by Manhattan standards. For all that it’s the city that never sleeps, shows tend to start and end early in borough number one: Beacon has a hard stop at 11 PM, and I haven’t been to hardly any shows that go past midnight. Score one for night life in borough number six, I guess.

And there in the center, with Fedora worn backwards in a sly wink, John Bazz stands facing the audience, eyes closed to slits throughout the entire song, beatific expression with a trace of wry smile, a slim, serene Buddha on bass guitar. He’s the calm, meditative eye of the Blasters storm. Behind him on the drum kit, is the storm, Bill Bateman, a cyclone with a greased pompadour and hands (and feet) he can’t keep to himself. The two lock in rock solid rhythm: the very anvil on which you can hammer out the blues.

Anchoring stage left, counterweight to both John and Keith, is a big man. These days health mania abounds, and whenever you see anyone who was famously fat (Meatloaf, say) you expect that they’ve slimmed down look good (Meatloaf, check). Well, not Phil Alvin. He’s still impressively rotund. And he doesn’t look good, at least not from the point of view of, say, a health care professional: with a flush creeping over a pasty pallor under shiny beads of sweat, his head looks like a big scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream just starting to melt. He’s Gluttony, that most American of the Deadly Sins, Blasters the well chosen house band in the Lido Circle of Hell on the Infernal Cruise. But I, for one, have about had it with our national obsession with good health. We’ve lost our admiration for big appetites, for the glory of carnal excess, and we’re the less for it, a smaller people in spirit as well as in girth. Phil would have done better in the age of the robber barons: a William Howard Taft of Rockabilly with a waistline to match his chops. Bright penetrating eyes darting over the audience, then closed as his face contracts into his famous skeletal rictus of a smile, he is rigor mortis animated, an atherosclerotic monument to an American life well lived. I consider a massive coronary to be an honorable and clean death for a man, the pathological equivalent of the firing squad, and if Phil takes one last exit stage left one of these days after a rousing final chorus of “Marie, Marie”, I’m going to take a guess and say it’s how he would have wanted it.

How’d they play? They played great, they’re the Blasters. Very generous thirty song set, over two hours. Keith Wyatt really takes flight: considering his extensive GIT/instructional video background there’s an instant of worry about that whole “if you can’t do” thing but it’s immediately shredded into little pieces and blown out of the room with his first guitar solo. And song after song, he’s inventive, melodic and precise. And when’s the last time you saw a guitar player change his own string onstage while the lead singer stalls by reciting the Confession? I hadn’t realized how much charm guitar techs take out of live music till that moment.

The Hi-Risers drove down from Rochester to play a short opening set. They’re a fun band: bright and pleasant, eager to please, and it’s good to see the young’uns still have a taste for the rockabilly. Easy, breezy, and excellent in the novelty department, what with the kazoo, and the one note guitar solo, what they lack is any whiff of sulfur, nothing dark to be seen when you peer down the chute. Rockabilly always teeters on the edge of being the blues exorcised, and one reason the Blasters are the masters is that you don’t have to have much second sight to see the Devil trying to pull Phil Alvin into Hell right in front of your very eyes. If the Blasters drive a hard bargain, The Hi-Risers seem not to have made any deal with the devil whatsoever. Kids these days! I don’t know if it’s internet distribution or what it is, but when you cut the cord, sometimes the dog runs off.

Hmm. What else. OK, here’s something: it really struck me at this show how thoroughly, as a people, we’ve lost our ability to dance. Back in the first half of the 20th century most people could pair dance (that is do real dances with actual steps in the company of other dancers where you move all over the floor and don’t bump into each other) competently enough for this skill to be assumed and for entertainment to accommodate this assumption. Then sometimes in the Sixties I guess, we more or less made a conscious decision to abandon that skill and replace it with improvised but still more or less rhythmic singles dancing. Then disco came and fought a skirmish, a brief last spasm, and was repulsed as dancing flatlined. As we begin our long slog through the 21st century it was hard to identify any dance skills whatsoever in a group of maybe 200 people self-selected to go to a rock and roll show in Hoboken NJ on a recent Friday night. And this music has a very strong, simple rhythm: it was what we said we liked when we said we hated disco. Most people stood rock solid still and didn’t even tap their feet. A few did sort of “dance”, but it was mostly orgiastic spasming without much reference to the music or the immediate surroundings, to be read semiotically as “Having drunk alcohol, I must now have fun.” Actually, there was exactly one couple who could properly dance, and it was the shadow that they cast that got me to thinking about it. And in case you’re wondering, no, I’m no Fred Astaire myself, but I’m thinking about taking some lessons.”

Recorded and minimally produced by mrsaureus, standing center floor ten feet back from the stage, Core-Sound High End Binaurals to Sony PCM-M10 (48 kHZ, 24 bit), WavePad Sound Editor to chop and FLAC only.

Stream “Long White Cadillac” (The Blasters):

Stream “That Rock & Roll Beat” (The Hi-Risers):

Direct download of complete show in MP3 files
The Blasters (HERE)
The Hi-Risers (HERE)

Download the Complete show in FLAC
The Blasters [HERE]
The Hi-Risers [HERE]

The Blasters and The Hi-Risers
Hoboken, NJ

The Blasters
01-Daddy Rollin’ Stone
02-Long White Cadillac
03-Well, Oh Well
04-Sugar Momma
05-Lonely Over You
06-All Your Fault
07-Arkansas Traveler – Technical Difficulties
08-Red Rose
09-Bipolar Blues
10-Please, Please, Please
11-I Love You So
13-Band Intros – Rockabilly Man
14-American Music
15-Love is My Business
16-I’m Shakin’
17-Window Up Above
18-Everything’s All Right
20-No Nights By Myself
21-One Bad Stud
22-Cryin’ For My Baby (Give Me a Big F Chord)
23-New Orleans $2 Whore
24-Man Trouble Blues
25-So Long Baby Goodbye
26-Trouble Bound
27-Help You Dream
28-Dark Night
29-Blue Shadows
30-Marie, Marie
31-Rock Boppin’ Baby
32-High School Confidential

The Hi-Risers
02-She’ll Be My Ruin
03-I Like the Way She’s Mine
04-Johnny, Jim and Jack
05-Rockin’ Spree
08-Wild Romance
09-Top Shelf
10-One Note Joe
11-Gear Bustin’ Sort of a Feller
12-That Rock & Roll Beat

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The Blasters, visit their website, and purchase their official releases from the Evangeline Records website [HERE].

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The Hi-Risers, visit their website, and purchase their official releases from The Store at their website.

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One Response to The Blasters and the Hi-Risers: March 11, 2011 Maxwell’s – Flac and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

  1. April 4, 2011 at 4:47 am

    thanks for this two amazing concerts. hi- risers one of my favorite recent bands.

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