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Zekes, Dekes, freaks, and geeks 

I love The Grinders. I mean I love me some mailman Todd. But I'm not sure I dig 'em in a big venue like Water Street Music Hall, where they warmed the boards for The Chesterfield Kings two weeks ago. They still sounded great, and sure, they've earned the right to rock a huge crowd righteously. But their classic barroom bop is so gloriously in your face I think it should be played, heard, smelt, and felt as such. But that's just me.

            And The Kings sounded totally outta sight. I've been seeing these guys for years and years and have always had a blast. What struck me was the diversity of their set list, which drew from just about all their albums. And I like them with just one guitar (man, that Morabito is a mother on that thing).

            The sound was solid and the stage show was no-frills and relentless. I'm not sure if the dancing girls were strung-out or just lazy, but they were still a nice touch. Dancing girls are always a nice touch. In fact, I could use a couple on my desk right now.

            I caught Bee Eater and Low Ton at Los Bug Jar last week. Low Ton was sporting a new guitar player stage left and the sound was as heavy as ever.

            I went down to the Bug Jar to check out Boston's The Charms, but some idiot had them play early. So I missed 'em and got to hang with them a little instead --- they're good people. Got to see Piehole, though. They've got a new album and a tight sound. And though they just kinda stand there, the music moves. Their guitar player is a monster.

            Last Tuesday was bluesday at the Auditorium Theatre when B.B. King blew into town. King brought along a first-rate band and rocked the joint. You gotta love when King sings in that rich baritone. And his guitar tone --- man --- it was as fat as he is. Show opener Murali Coryell is one of those players who mercilessly slashes at all the strings and still manages to render single, stinging notes that positively burn.

            After seeing Zeke open for Superjoint Ritual I'm now fully convinced rock 'n' roll is a vocation. You see, long after the promise and supply of copious amounts of liquor, drugs, and fast women dries up, bands like Zeke are still out there giving their all. Some of their selections for the evening were so fast that even the count in wasn't discernable.

            Zeke sounded as greasy and road-weary as they looked. This band is just incredible. Superjoint Ritual was super loud and super heavy. Everyone on stage looked either super stoned or super drunk. It was nice to see a return to thrash metal tempered with what I guess you could call real stoner rock. Every other word --- and at times every word --- out of frontman Phil Anselmo's mouth was motherf***er. It kind of lost its punch after awhile.

            It was then off to the Bug Jar to hang with all the rockabilly geeks groovin' on Los Angeles' Deke Dickerson & The Echo-Phonics. Deke played his face off all up and down a bunch of different guitar necks including a new gold metal flake, double-neck number with a lightshow built right in the fingerboard. His stripped trio was impressively well versed in each other's instrument as they repeatedly switched off, dazzled, and amazed.

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