From my balcony perch at Sticky Lips Juke Joint during The Empty Hearts' positively packed show Tuesday night, it was as if I was staring into a boiling, balding caldron of Scorgie's remnants and black-clad bon vivants. All the kids were there. We're getting older, but still love our rock 'n' roll. And this was a fantastic show; a memorable show; the band's maiden voyage on stage anywhere. As this quartet continues to grow and time goes by, the amount of people that were at that show will grow like all the people -- "I was there, man" -- who claim to have been at Woodstock.
This was an event to be remembered and filed under "tough shit" if you missed it. The sound was big and beautiful and loud, and the band rocked boldly between sniper precision and a swaggering stroll. Yes, The Empty Hearts has staggering rock star pedigree and collectively a pile of instantly recognizable hits that, when wedged into the band's mostly original set, made the influence of The Cars, Blondie, and The Romantics a little more apparent. The Chesterfield Kings weren't represented sadly, but I did what I could, kids, and screamed "Richard Speck" half a dozen times.
The Kings' Andy Babiuk held the bottom end admirably while bounding around proudly; Blondie's Clem Burke swung mightily at the drums with a thundering blue collar ethic; The Cars' Elliot Easton was the master of classic big tone and lumbering cool; and The Romantics' Wally Palmer wailed and crooned while leading the charge. I love The Empty Hearts' CD and loved the show even more. If you had just strolled in off the street you would have thought "Hey, what a happenin' scene. Rochester is pretty cool." And I was there, man.