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Angels or Popeye 

It seemed like Nancy Sinatra'sboots were made for just kinda standing there on the Montage's groovy, new, and improved stage. She launched the early show with the sexy cool she's known for with a super-sensual rendition of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," but that was it.

            The show was a yawn fest with occasional pangs of embarrassment like the kind you get watching your mom try and sing karaoke in heels while buzzed on chardonnay. Kinda creepy, kinda Blue Velvet. And the age-defying lighting (i.e. the dark) didn't help those of us with cameras.

            Dick The Dancing Record said the later show was equally surreal but phenomenal due in large part to the huge audience response.

            I left in order to thin out the blood in my caffeine stream and to rekindle my love of women in rock. Slid into Java's for the joe and slid Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Roseinto the dash to sate the rock jones. This is just an amazing country record.

            A few days later I found myself again in stitches with NYC beat-punk-poet-laureate and caustically casual observer Hamell On Trial. The way this guy personifies the inanimate and addresses the absurd while beating the hell out of his guitar is engaging. It was one man, one acoustic guitar (still really loud), and a quiver of songs about true love, jerking off, liberal politics, rock poseurs, and John Lennon.

            Sunday was fun-day with The Dovers and The Deadly Snakes. The Bloody Hollies skated on the bill 'cause their drummer done quit. They could have asked Rob Filardo. He's got time for another band, right? The Dovers are a new stripped-down trio of lo-fi coolness. One guitar, one singer, one drummer (two arms). Their set was frenetic and kinetic and rocked all Sympathy-like. I dug 'em a lot.

            The Deadly Snakes are rough and raw and bluesy and soulful to the max --- on record. Bop Shop Otto Hauser loaned me their two discs and I was all jazzed to catch them live. But the sound kinda sucked, or was just really unbalanced (it was all bass and drums), and they just stood there. They looked uncomfortable. Maybe they were having an off night, it being Sunday and all.

            k.d. lang's Thursday night show at The Eastman Theatre was spellbinding simply because of her voice. Lang and band put on absolutely no stage show, offered limited banter, and filled the spaces between songs with tangibly dead air. But it didn't matter. Her voice will put your jaw --- if not all of you --- on the floor.

            She gave my goose bumps goose bumps when she tore into Roy Orbison's "Crying." The hushed, barefoot tone of the show just added to the weight of her voice. When I die and go to heaven I know all the angels will sing like her... or maybe like Popeye.

            Unfortunately all my hobnobbing with lang made me miss The Deadstring Brothers. I love their lonesome-sounding CD though: Detroit country, and good country at that. They warmed up for The Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash. They were OK, but let me just say: If you refer to yourself as a bastard and refer to the Man In Black --- in your name no less --- you'd better bring it. The Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash were a tight band, but leaned on too many covers for my taste and didn't come off nearly as gritty as I need to get off. Plenty of twang but no bang.

            Speaking of which, on the same night the incomparable Hi Risers banged and twanged Dinosaur's doors off. They slowed it down just long enough so I could get a slow dance in before kicking back into bop overdrive. Can anyone sit still at their shows? I dunno, corpses perhaps.

            Veluxe rocked deluxe at The Bug Jar last Saturday. With soft contoured pop melodies, interesting chord structures, and just enough velocity, these guys rock.

            The Diva Show at The Montage is really a great idea: the Peachy Neechies backing up a string of would-be starlets. Though there were obviously varying degrees of experience or proficiency, the packed house poured love and support all over those who ventured on stage.

            Caught Canadian singer-songwriter Mary Simon at Milestones the same night. She still sounds plaintive and innocent, but her backing band fleshed out the groove and put her in a more rock light. It was pleasant and catchy. It looks like she's let her hair grow, too.

            The Flour City Knuckleheads were at The Club at Water Street last Friday. These guys are punk, sloppy, and cool. They seem to have the right idea --- touring, touring, touring, playing, playing, playing --- and are building a strong fan base here as well. Everyone in the joint seemed to know all the words.

            See all you angry inches at Hedwig this week.

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