Monday, February 25, 2008
To the Tap Room Saturday night to see Willie Nile. I stand by my assessment from two years ago: Nile is certainly a pro, but he only has warning track power. On the way home A. asked, "So what's his claim to fame, exactly? Was I supposed to know any of those songs?" "He came along too late to be a New Dylan," I told her, "But once he was going to be a Next Springsteen." Still, there are pleasures to be found at the Triple A level, and among them is intimacy: for ten bucks we got a solid rock'n'roll show from a guy who opened for the Who back when. He's a little too faux Irish for my taste, but I'm a little sensitive to faux Irishness, so you shouldn't take my word for it. And I'll say this-- the band worked. Chris Knab having the time of his life, four guitars, plus Willie and solid backup singing gave the material a strong setting, and it was plain that everyone in the room was enjoying themselves. Like most Next Springsteens, or even the Boss himself, Nile's theme is redemption-- often redemption through the saving powers of a rock'n'roll heart (he is not so trite as to suggest that the music itself amounts to a baptism, thank goodness), and this sort of thing goes over well in a crowded bar on a cold February night.