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Doin' the mess around 

Man, I love this job. I recently pulled off a cover photo shoot with my ex, convincing her to do it in her underwear. I think I'll ask her to model for my nude sunbathing article next.

            While you all got fat watching re-runs, I was driving four hours to see San Diego's Paladins (the most righteous bar band ever) in Albany. Besides what's here, Rochester is surrounded by great music. Got a wild hair? Need a ride? Call me.

            The umpteenth annual East End Festival was a great place to watch drunken suburbanites in sandals fumble with their cell phones and perpetuate their insipid mating rituals. And what is with all this cover band bullshit? One band full of Journey and Def Lepard covers had a bass player in a Ramones T-shirt; he should know better. I had to talk my friend Danny out of storming the stage and ripping it from this infidel's back.

            "You'll thank me in the morning," said Barry Manilow to all the boyfriends and husbands who were clearly dragged to his Saturday show at FLPAC. With a few big nose jokes, casual flirtations with the mostly female audience, and polyester love songs out the wazoo, Manilow didn't leave a dry seat in the house.

            Playing with his fists as much as his fingers, Teddy Morgan pounded out the South-West twangin' blues, at times taking off into uncharted, feedback-laden, ethereal areas. It was like watching him fly without leaving the Dinosaur stage. He makes lonely seem a little less solitary.

            Ripped jeans never looked better. Sophie B. Hawkins is the sexiest performer alive, with a siren-like voice that continually brought the Montage audience to its feet, and me to my knees.

            Have you ever had dreams where you could breathe underwater or where the desert was your friend? Then you've heard Alejandro Escovedo. Escovedo filled the joint with beautiful music from acoustic ache (in the middle of the audience) to full-on raunch, mixing in just enough "why God?" audacity to make it sinister. He closed the set with Mott The Hoople's "All The Young Dudes."

            James Cotton's Manhattan Square Park show smoked hot and heavy with openers Rockin' Robin and Bucket of Blues threatening to steal the show with Robin's 30-foot tall voice and charismatic charm. This man could sell Popsicles to Eskimos. "Gimme back that wig I bought you, baby," he bellowed. Cotton can't sing anymore, but man can he blow the harp. He wound up at The Dinosaur later playing drums, harp, and doin' the mess around with the people.

            Jorma Kaukonen is a stellar guitar picker, but after getting Cotton's pyrotechnics in the face, his Saturday night Montage show was kind of a yawn fest.

            I can't stop spinning the new Blues Explosion or the new Paul Westerberg, nor can I spend more than 10 minutes home. I just got one of the best haircuts I've ever had and I gotta go out and show off my head. Dig.

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