Wednesday, April 18, 2012

JD McPherson; Lucius @ Mercury Lounge

JD McPherson; Lucius
@ Mercury Lounge
New York, NY - April 18, 2012

It has always been a mystery to your obedient Indie rockin' boy how of all the genres to escape the clutches of permanent nostalgia among each generation of youthful rock n' roll discoverers, it's original straight up Rock n' Roll that seems most prominent. Yes, rockabilly has had its druthers among the subsets but that is as much about a distinct style and culture as any music to go with it. A lot of the purists seem to care more about the pomade and the cut of their jib than the music that draw them to said jib in the first place.
The fact remains that original Rock n' Roll - the Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry kind - has never been kept up like the garage rock that came after it. It seems to be too kitschy for too many who could or should be playing it (blame Happy Days or baby-boomers, maybe). Worse than that, it also misses the Music Intelligentsia and Classicst crowds who are focused on pre-Rock n Roll sounds, the kind of otherwise excellent music found on the lower end of what's left of the radio dial, furnished by a local college campus.
So consider then one JD McPherson. A Sooner with the sound of the greats. The Jump Boogie Woogie Blues sped up, to paraphrase Little Richard. The actual original sound of Rock n' Roll. Not repackaged as shtick. Not meant to blend in with any tastemaker crowd. Just a direct devotion to the most basic, most elemental, most essential music to shake up the pop culture of the World in the last 60 years.
And better than that, he's good at this.
With a soulful voice and a touch of shred on the git, McPherson is as legitimate and credible as one would want in this rock n' roll racket. This is sincerity backed with skill. He's complemented by among others, his sharp bass player, Jimmy Sutton - himself possessing a voice taken from the times that made this sound number 1, sending fogies running for the hills - those scared of Brown Eyed Handsome Men, Great Balls of Fire, and the Summertime Blues.
The reason for musical existence is this sound of music. This gang is around to remind us of that.

Lucius is fronted by two dames with pitch-perfect harmonies. They sing as country balladeers but with a mix of 60's sounds behind them - a trio of cats merging the sounds of Dusty Springfield, Rita Moreno, Aretha Franklin, and maybe Loretta Lynn before she was even around. This is a coasting outfit, they play at a steady pace and keep a steady tempo throughout their set. You'll want to listen for those harmonies but you'll also take a peek at what their cooking behind them too.


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