If the profane brilliance I've read in his Facebook posts is any indication, Steve Pavia is this town's Charles Bukowski: a tragic, self-effacing figure; a no-club lone wolf; a lonesome stranger with a lonesome guitar.
Pavia was a stalwart fixture on the scene back in the day, as they say. Many years ago (I'm figuring the late 1980's) Pavia --- as Stevie Boy --- cut a howlingly sinister disc called "I Get Dangerous," a lo-fi rockabilly 45 with Personal Effects alum Bernie Heveron on the dog-house bass.
After pulling a Houdini act that lasted something like 10 years, Pavia is back with his guitar, his witty sarcasm, and his literary cool. I caught him and his big orange guitar Friday night at Monty's Krown. He hit it raw and wired, but unfortunately couldn't derive the same pleasure the crowd did, because he couldn't hear what the crowd heard. What we heard was Pavia's percussive slash and chop beneath urgently growled vocals. It was immediate, primal, and Frigidaire cool. Nobody in the room cared if he couldn't hear it or not, just as long as they could.
The Mad Cow Tippers --- 1/3 Rochester, 2/3 Ithaca --- followed with some loud, twangin', and tasty cowpunk. The trio opened with the theme to "Peter Gunn," which easily has the coolest, most ominous bass line in music history. The joint was immediately turned into Mancini's Krown. The band was bare-boned, raw, and rough-edged. I'm not sure if they could hear, but we sure could.