Monday, January 27, 2020

The F Word: Parkinson's just got a little cooler

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 1:00 PM

I’m certainly not in the “we’re not handicapped, we’re handi-capable” camp, nor do I want to give Parkinson’s disease too much deference in my life. But my jittery friends Ozzy Osbourne and Neil Diamond recently added their names to the list. Now Diamond has up and quit touring because of his diagnosis. Of course, I don’t know the details, but I think that may be a bit drastic. Ozzy and his wife Sharon are fighting with all their might, though I’ve had a sneaking suspicion he’s had it for years. Alan Alda and Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton have all joined the ranks of those who have the disease. I’m proud to be among them. Parkinson’s just got a little cooler. And what the hell, maybe I am just a little handi-capable.

I went from a true negative to a False Positive last Friday at the luxurious Lux Lounge, where it was déjà vu all over again. When it was Snake Sisters Café, I used to stomp the stage. I was reunited inadvertently with members of The QUiTTERS, Nod, and The Thundergods who made up the scene and filled in the gaps back then. The False Positives’ Dave Harrison was slinging his guitar from the altar and driving his band hard, which played with a vintage garage kerrang. These guys were more than capable.

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at

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Monday, January 20, 2020

The F Word: Grandpa Presley

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 5:26 PM

Even as I celebrated what would have been Elvis Presley’s 85th birthday this past week at Record Archive, it was getting harder and harder to keep up his legacy amid the fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches, and virtually everything from his square movie catalogue (except “Pocket Full of Rainbows”).

But if you’re like me and Albany’s The Lustre Kings, you still indulge in the music, the voice, and even some of the stuff from Elvis’s “Hollywood” period. The Kings rocked the joint as the scent of peanut butter and bacon wafted out from the door.

And hey, here’s another way I put Elvis in perspective: He was a grandpa. Allow me to elucidate with a quick anecdote.

I was backstage at a Chris Isaak concert in Pittsburgh a while back. Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie, was opening the show. At one point she introduced her two young children, and I, slicker than snot, burst out with “Wow, your grandpa is Elvis.”

Tammi Savoy and Chris Casello rocked the Abilene foundation a little looser than their debut there in autumn. I think you can blame that on the fact that the audience knew what to expect a little bit more, and weren’t wrapped up in “Holy shit, what’re they doing up there?” And man you just gotta hear Casello play the super-vibrato of The Viscounts’ “Harlem Nocturne.” The spirit of Grandpa Presley rocked among us.

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at

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Monday, January 13, 2020

The F Word: 'No one will ever know'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 4:48 PM

“If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song” is nothing short of brilliant. This year, participants were instructed to write a song including the phrase “No one will ever know” in the title or in the song itself. Rochester songwriting nobility and lyrical glitterati set to the task like rabid dogs.

In large part, credit has to go to Sarah Long Hendershot, who ran with this concept and fleshed it out a few years back with “Don’t Go Drinkin’ on an Empty Heart,” performed by a few musicians who piled into Bernunzio Uptown Music. Friday night’s show at Hochstein Performance Hall was a near-sellout. MC Rick Staropoli kept things rolling at a decent clip, offering up baby-boomer trivia between performers — with references to Jimmy Hoffa, D.B. Cooper, and Linda Lovelace, whose name I shouted out, knowing full well Staropoli was looking for Mark Felt as an answer...I was robbed.

Now, I could go on and on about the various performers, 21 in all. But there are far too many highlights to shine a single light on. Ross Bracco did a treatment of the song with stringed accompaniment that was heartbreakingly gorgeous. We’re talking goosebump territory here. The Lipker Sisters were dyn-o-mite, with the Lipker Mom filling in for an absentee sister. Jeff Riales’s voice boomed deep, and is suitable for weddings, funerals, dancing with your sweetie, or even ordering Chinese takeout. My WXXI homeboy Jeff Spevak waxed weary, Beat, and blue. A personal highlight was Dick Storms, with the phrase “We storm the dance floor waxing Argentine,” among other notable quips. Storms appeared on stage with two dancers, cutting a tango rug that came off sublime and subtly salacious.

All were supported by a crackerjack house band that brought the music home. But this wasn’t just about the music. It was about the community as a whole. No one will ever know — unless we keep this up. Whaddya say, Sarah?

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at

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Monday, January 6, 2020

The F Word: Ska brother number one

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 3:55 PM

Friday night was some night for Some Ska Band at Flour City Station. The band, numbering virtually in the teens, nearly exceeded the parameters of the stage with its crushing groove. As a musical style, ska has its limits. Sometimes there’s not enough subtlety perpetrated by its purveyors...but sometimes there is.

Some Ska Band plays like the Harlem Globetrotters being introduced to flubber: It’s bouncy, it’s jazzy, and at the same time, a little snotty. What sews it up for me is originality. And Some Ska Band rocks the original compositions with maximum booty-shake appeal. But they ain’t too stuck up that they won’t touch stuff by The Specials, The Clash, and Madness, as they did with manic bursts of excitement and brass. Speaking of brass, to the delight of fans, the band has amped up its horn section, led by ska brother number one, Charles Benoit. Get some.

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at

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