Sometimes things just work out...
On Tuesday, May 19, I wanted to be at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in NYC for the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash featuring oodles of great music including the Supersuckers. Unfortunately somehow once again my Tuesday night dart league team made the playoffs and I couldn't let the team down...we won that night, but came in second for the season.
A few nights before I had checked the Supersuckers tour dates to see if there was anything else in the area and there really was nothing very close...looks like I would have to miss the boys supporting their latest album "Get It Together" and more importantly the 20th Anniversary Tour of the (aptly) self described "Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World".
But as I stated above, sometimes things just work out...
So it's about a week later and I sign on to myspace (That's right, MySpace, I'm sticking with it, I'm not joining facebook or whatever the next flavor of the moment social network comes along...) and see a post from los 'suckers saying something about finalized tour dates...I figure lemme take a gander and WHOLE LEE SHIT Kids, what's this?! The Supersuckers are playing this Friday, May 29 at the Basement in
Kingston?! A mere 2 minute drive from my job and 30 minutes from home!? That Powerball virgin sacrifice paid off some dividends afterall!
So I call my buddy Kev who I turned onto the band soon after I discovered them around the release of "La Mano Cornuda" (their classic 1994 Sub Pop release) and suddenly, as the Easybeats sang, "I've Got Friday On My Mind"
So I actually had never been to The Basement, but I hear it's a small joint so we get their right before 8:00pm when it says doors open. A mere fifteen bucks and we get our wristbands for entry and check the joint out...oh yeah...this is gonna be good!
I've seen the Supersuckers at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ and I thought THAT was a great small place to see a show...well the Basement takes it to another level. (Photo note - the photos throughout this review are ones I took of the Supersuckers about 15 years ago at one of those great Maxwell gigs - unfortunately I didn't bring my damn camera to this show for updated pics)
The joint is about 15 feet wide and maybe 60 feet long. You walk in and a bar is immediately inside the door for about 30 feet down the right side. Then there's about 20 feet of open space and then the stage which is about 2 feet off the ground and maybe 15 feet deep. Legal capacity can't be more than 100 people.
Oh yeah...bathrooms...well this place took a cue from CBGB and you have to walk across the stage to get to the bathrooms which are right behind the stage...and at a supersuckers show you know the beer is flowing and the bathroom traffic was pretty heavy through out the night, but "Rontrose", who was stationed directly in the bathroom path, handled it well.
So I'm really wondering who has the goods on Eddie Spaghetti (vocals and bass), Ron "Rontrose" Heathman and Dan "Thunder" Bolton (guitars) and Scott "Scottzilla" Churilla (drums) to blackmail them into playing such a tiny place, but I'm thankful. It was actually the grand re-opening weekend of The Basement so it looks like management went all out!
We were parked against the left wall about 5 feet from the stage and there was a slightly shaky start to the show. Eddie's mic was shocking him everytime his lips touched it and it's hard to rock to your maximum powers when your getting mouth tazed everytime you go to sing. Luckily the boys trusty roadie fixed things up after about three tunes and then the show truly began!
This being a new album tour as well as a 20th anniversary tour, we were treated to just the right balance of new tunes mixed with plenty of classics - the first of which was "Luck" off 1992's "The Smoke of Hell". "Luck" shows the hardest fastest punkest rockest side of the Supersuckers and it ruled. It came early in the set after somewhat newer tracks like "Rock n Roll Records (Ain't Selling This Year)" and "Rock Your Ass" the lead off tracks from 2003's subtly titled "Motherfuckers Be Trippin".
The majority of the night's selections from their latest studio album "Get It Together" came early on mixed in the set list with the likes of an amped up "Bad Bad Bad" (from 1995's Sacrilicious Sounds of...). The new tracks got plenty of racous applause but things truly went into overdrive when the classics starting emanating from the speakers right above my head.
My first taste of the Supersuckers was when I picked up "La Mano Cornuda" and to this day it's remained my favorite. I actually consider it one of those rare finds - the perfect album, great from beginning to end...imagine a sonic cocktail made up of 2 parts Cheap Trick, 2 parts Motorhead and 1 part Bon Scott era AC/DC. I still to this day listen to it and wonder how the hell the Supersuckers did not explode out of the Seattle scene with this and their other albums...but I digress...
From this must own long playergot the ode to slackerdom "On The Couch" (probably the highlight of the night for me), the revenge fantasy "How To Maximize Your Kill Count" and of course "Creepy Jackalope Eye". "Jackalope" was something of a strange slowed down version, not countrified (there was no acoustic country set tonight), more lounge, but with a last full speed balls out verse and chorus to get the crowd jumpin.
Close to the end of the night, before the "encore", we got treated to another two off "Smoke of Hell" with the bluesy "Hell City, Hell" and the full bore rock attack of "Coattail Rider" (which actually followed "On The Couch" if memory serves me correct for quite the one two puch to the ear drum).
I say "encore" in quotes as the Supersuckers have a motto of once they leave the stage, the show is over, so there is a few second fake encore break while the band explains this and then the night ends with a great last batch of songs starting with a cover of the Ramones "I Believe In Miracles", a holdover from the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash of a week earlier and done to perfection.
Next up is what would probably be the closest thing the boys had to a hit - "Born With A Tail." Again, this song should have been massive - hard commercial rock you can't help but sing along too and won't leave your head for days. "Born" led right into "Pretty Fucked Up" and was immediately followed by "I Want The Drugs" which led back into a reprise of "Born" and suddenly the show was over.
About 80 to 90 minutes, 25 or so songs, 90 or so degrees, 100 or so very happy fans! Sometimes things just work out!
Opening the show was a great local band called Rented Mule. They play both types of music - Country AND Western (and Blues - hell they play CBGB - Country Blue Grass Blues). The core of the band is the husband and wife team of Jeff and Kate McCoy on bass and sultry vocals/sexy stage presence/guitar respectively. Jeremy Boniello on just right less is more drums and Mark Primoff on stellar clean and tasty lead guitar. For those who came to the show hoping for the country Supersuckers, Rented Mule should have sated their appetite. Excellent originals and a cover or two (a Lynyrd Skynyrd song I didn't know, but my buddy Kevin did) - this is the type of country music I like - the good old Hank Williams Johnny Cash type. I look forward to seeing this band playout again locally