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Mexican bar mitzvah 

Dave Alvin gave everything he had and everything we wanted at his Montage show a couple of weeks back. The sound was incredible --- fairly loud but distinct enough to pack a punch. The band played with such whisper-to-a-scream dynamics that it continuously brought the SRO crowd to their feet and to their knees. Blasters fans, country fans, blues fans, and all those that fall in the cracks in between were completely --- as Clarence Carter says --- sassified.

If you had been there you would have seen what could be deemed "newspaper music writers gone wild." You would have seen one (OK, it was me) dancing on a chair, whistling and squealing like a girl, and another (OK, it was Spevak) dancing on a table with mucho glee and abandon.

Alvin bandmate and spiritual adviser Chris Gafney tore down the house with a few incendiary opening numbers and amply added color to Alvin's weathered tones. Other than not hearing "Every Night About This Time," I got a taste of everything I wanted to hear from the man. Marie Marie never sounded better and if she had been there, she surely would have broken my heart --- dancing on a table with Spevak.

If you think Joe Cocker looks like a drowning epileptic, you should've gotten a load of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes at High Falls two Thursdays ago. Thing from The Fertility Rite Brothers was there celebrating his 125th Southside Johnny show.

Johnny wallows in and pours out a whole lotta soul. I've seen these legendary Jersey boys about half a dozen times now and they consistently put on a relentlessly rockin' show. This one in particular featured Johnny blowin' a lot more harp.

And speaking of harp, children, it's time for Rob Cullivan's harmonica tip number three: Practice playing as softly as possible. This will improve your breathing technique.

Volume --- the great healer. That's just what Crosby, Stills, and Nash used to cover up the fact that they can't really harmonize anymore. I've heard rumors they hate each other's guts, and the 20-yard space between each performer on the FLPAC stage attested to this fact. Roughly 6,000 people in attendance seemed to dig it except for me and The Bop Shop's Tom Kohn.

On the Replacements' song "Asking Me Lies," Paul Westerberg sings, "at a Mexican bar mitzvah for 700 years." I saw Brave Combo last week at Milestones, and now I think I know what that lyric means.

Local legendary punk scenester Iron Mike doesn't think Skate Korpse sounds like Agent Orange. But I do. They're young and loud and have a hint of that salty twang. They were ill-prepared for the gig, breaking guitar and bass strings right out of the gate, but sounded real good once they got going, warming the stage for The UV Rays who...

...rocked and head-banged loud and heavy with healthy doses of sarcasm, cynicism, and meaty guitar. Closing this Bug Jar Tuesday-night extravaganza were LA's The Weirdos who looked a little weary but rocked hard and '77ish classic nonetheless.

I had always considered Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a Royal Crown Review knockoff... and I still do. But there's no denying the band's musicality and swing. The band pumped and swung mightily with plenty of brass and swagger (including a pretty cool cover of "Minnie The Moocher") last Thursday at The High Falls Festival site to the biggest crowd I've seen there yet. Though there wasn't a lot of room to dance --- God forbid you spill some sandal-wearing yahoo's eighth beer --- hipsters and red-hot hootchie cootchers mingled with the average citizens. Even Thing was there... still celebrating his Southside 125th.

Despite my utter distain for pop culture --- you know, reality TV, Brittany, low-carb anything --- I have to admit that Alicia Keys can really sing. What an amazing voice. But the fact that she actually writes her own stuff shouldn't really be commended, because, frankly I feel all artists should do this. A fairly diverse crowd piled into FLPAC Sunday night to hear this corn-rowed-cutie warble and wail.

But what really struck me was what I like to refer to as the 2004flash-o-flesh parade: scads of size-14 women in size-eight outfits and heels that really don't work well on moist ground. Man, I loves me a full-size gal.

I spent the weekend at Chateau Leon on Hector Falls, contemplating my belly button while Ron Stackman's Music From The Big Lawn went 'round and 'round in my head.

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