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Cold weather, warm women 

Spring at last, spring at last, thank God almighty, it's spring at last. I'm gonna kiss spring on the mouth. And, being the subversive romantic that I am, you can tell "W" it'll be a French kiss, too --- with French-fry breath.

            Flogging Molly flogged Molly and the whole damn sold-out crowd at Water Street Music Hall. Sporting one of the finest crews on the road today (Dave Allen and Steve "Mr. Fix-it" Agnew), the band (starring Rochesterian Dennis Casey) played a tight, million-m.p.h., Celtic-tinged set that didn't once let up on the energy. The crowd bobbed and flailed feverishly in the pit like rabid, sweaty popcorn. Hung out with the band for two days, eating Thai food, fixing amps, and bad-mouthing the country.

            Tripped over to Monty's Krown, where the new-for-2003 Riviera Playboys rocked hard. They played classic garage-rock and closed with a Walt O' Brian drum solo that would've made Bonham proud.

            Tuesday night was my first big arena concert in a long time. Nobody's really doing it anymore, so we gotta look to the Boss. I, Record Archive enchantress Alyna Hill-Alderman, and approximately 12,000 white people (I counted two blacks and three Asians) packed into the Blue Cross Arena to watch Bruce prove it all night.

            Springsteen is a master storyteller, a prolific songwriter, and a relentless performer who mounts the stage without an ounce of pretense or flash. Note to the majority there that think the Boss is the end-all and the be-all: Bruce Springsteen's hard-rockin' Americana is alive and well, not just in his work-weary hands, but in those of other artists, like Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, Ryan Adams, Paul Westerberg, The Yahoos. Go to a record store and broaden your horizons. Bruce would want it that way.

            After almost three hours with Springsteen, we slipped over to see Seattle rockers (and Link Wray's back-up band) The Jet City Fix play a smokin' pick-up show to everyone in town that mattered, with The Thundergods and The Shakletons. Apparently, these Northwesterners can't get enough of our cold weather... or our warm women.

Speaking of Flogging Molly, Bruce Springsteen

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