In one of those coincidences that must mean something, Jahn Xavier, Tom Curiano and Charles Roth -aka the Bowerytones birth dates are within days of each other, and every year they have a birthday bash to celebrate their coming of age and the start of the summer and maybe Independence day? Or perhaps just the joy of creation.
I missed Saturday night’s gig at Beast Of Bourbon, despite being friends and a fan of the Bowerytones, because my work took me to the Front Bottoms, an extremely important group for many white teenagers and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t expect to enjoy myself as much at the Front Bottoms as I would have at the Bowerytones and I am certain I didn’t. Jahn’s 2013 Yes, You was one of the best albums of that yer and one of New York’s finest guitarists Al Maddy, of the Nitecaps, Jahn’s seminal 1980s rock and soul band, joined them for four songs in the first set as well as plenty of the second set.
The first set was primarily the last album plus a new song, a raucous “I Can Dream, Can’t I” rock and soul by a three piece like they’re the Jam or something. And finally, the same set closer as the September 2013 Arlene Grocery gig (reviewed here), the September gig -a sprawling 90 minute affair was definitely better I’ll claim because… well because I was at that one, mostly. But I wonder why Jahn decided not to play anything from the Nitecap’s catalog. I would be eating my heart out if he had played “Go To The Line”. And no “The Crest” -his tour de force, cut for time constraints, makes no sense to me. I do take it as a personal vindication that he opened with “Walk The Other Way” (I disagreed with Jahn’s decision to open with “Five Years Old” in September, and his Mom sided with me!), Still, a good, if a little stingy, setlist. But what price the second set?
Look, Jahn is soul brother number one and the second set isn’t Jahn getting into deep soul, it is Jahn giving the people the raw meat of a set where they would be going “OH MY GOD” I can’t believe he just played that!” over and over again. This isn’t in sequence so I can’t see how the band built it up, but songs the Stones and the Who covered before Jahn, mix it up with the Temptations, Edwin Starr, Chuck Berry and the Coasters. I for one would pay cash money to have heard the Bowerytones wailing on “Young Blood”. Jahn is a big Who fan (note “Pictures of Lily” and “The Good’s Gone”) but I feel that the Bowerytones were channeling early Stones. That mix of rock and soul, very early 1960s, very white boys on soul.
Jahn said, “I had an amazing time. There were moments where there was nothing else on the planet but the music and the crowd. At times, it was seriously fucking transcendent…”
Lisa Rubinstein, who I don’t know and didn’t ask if she wanted to have it, gets the last word on the evening: “Such a great show!! Jahn your voice is better than ever. Everyone really kicked it! Great to hear some rock out music and some of my favorite old R&B songs in the world! Loved the Temptations medley and especially Jahn jamming with Al, not that everyone else wasn’t amazing! These are the moments that make life special”
Here is Jahn’s (Yes, His) own setlist and “I Can Dream, Can’t I” filmed by Danny Cornyetz, plus I Spotified the two setlists at the end.
Walk The Other Way
Five Years Old
1Jesus De Milo
I Still Yearn
I’ll Only Die If I’m Lucky
I Can Dream, Can’t I?
Bad Behavior (w Al Maddy on gtr)
Open Hand (w Al Maddy on gtr)
The Miner Song (w Al Maddy on gtr)
Shine A Light (w Al Maddy on gtr)
(these are the songs we did in the second set, and the guests on them. THESE ARE NOT IN ORDER
Ain’t No Sunshine –w Al Maddy (gtr) & David Donen (drums)
Down Home Girl – w Doug Wygal (drums) & Boo Reiners (gtr)
I’m Losing You / Papa Was A Rolling Stone –w Al Maddy (gtr) & David Donen (drums)
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry – Marc Jeffery (gtr)
Sam Stone – Al Maddy (gtr)
Shake Rattle Roll – Doug Wygal (drums) & Boo Reiners (gtr)
Shop Around – Al Maddy (gtr)
To Love Somebody – Al Maddy (gtr)
Twenty Five Miles – Al Maddy (gtr)
Youngblood – Al Maddy (gtr) & Fausto Bozza (gtr)
The Good’s Gone – Crystal Durant (Vocal)
Pictures Of Lily – Crystal Durant (Vocal)
Helter Skelter – Crystal Durant (Vocal)
Life Turned Her That Way – Jahn duet w Thirsty Dave Hansen
Hearts On Fire – Jahn acoustic duet w Drina Seay
Crying In The Rain – Jahn acoustic duet w Drina Seay
Nadine – Thirsty Dave Hansen
Nonsense Song – Paul Foglino
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
We leap ahead almost a year
A flatout triumph from a major performer
New Wave pop bliss out
I WISH I HADN’T GONE
a time-capsule type of roster
Creem -America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1971 (Volume 3, Number 6)
“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”
in the immortal words of Jason Isbell to me at Gov Ball a coupla years ago: “let’s do this…”
one of the great top tens of the 2020
old school Puerto Rican underground sounds
a masterful pop about loving a drug addict