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Friday, August 05, 2005

To Thursday At The Square last night, to see Willie Nile, featuring The Amazing All My Children Band (and assorted cousins and in-laws). I felt like I got burned on my two Willie Nile purchases back in the day, but he was in fine form, and the band ably backed him. It was clear that they were all having fun, and when that happens the music is pretty hard to resist. Props to Chris Knab in particular-- not merely a solid performance on the skins-- he played with flair. Hard to know what to make of Nile-- he had a shot, and showed warning track power, I guess, but credit where credit is due, he's made a career of it, and I respect that.

The headliner was Lou Gramm, another story altogether. It is tempting to say that Foreigner represents something close to the nadir of 80's Corporate Rock, but that wouldn't be quite true or entirely fair. It is probably more accurate to say that Foreigner was one of the last examples of the sub-genre known as "Hard Rock", a lumbering Triceratops characterized by a paucity of blues in the performers' diets. It is important to distinguish Hard Rock from the forms that displaced it in the ecosystem, notably Heavy Metal and Punk. Who were the great Hard Rock bands? Foghat? Deep Purple? Bad Company? Mountain? Steppenwolf? I'm cheating a little here-- the answer is probably The Who-- but you see my point. In any event, Gramm was flabby and flacid, singing songs that were just hook-y enough to be annoying. His band seemed tight, which is, after all, a prerequisite of the form, and if they'd been playing stuff that I like, I think I'd have like the guitar, but even though Foreigner produced a plethora of hits, there's not a single one that I can say that I ever liked. I left after three songs, but not before "Double Vision" got stuck in my head. Thanks, Lou.

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