‘It’s a fantasy, they asked me to do it so I went for it’, told me Tommy McLoughlin after his fantastic performance at the Resident on Tuesday night. The Sloths’ frontman is a born performer and it probably helps he is also an actor and a movie director. He has a great theatrical sense of performance and has fully understood that rock and roll is all about a good act. During his TV and movie career, McLoughlin always kept an eye on rock and roll, he was delighted when Alice Cooper did the soundtrack for his ‘Friday the 13th‘ movie, but he now has the time of his life being The Sloths’ frontman.
Everyone likes a come back story and the Sloth’s come back story is truly a rewarding one: they recorded ‘Makin’ Love’ in 1965, when they were still in their teens, and for a short while lived the dream, opening club shows for Love, Iron Buttery, the Mothers of Invention, the Animals and the Doors, although it lasted about a year. They disbanded but 50 years later, when a band member discovered their 1965 single was going for $6,000 on Ebay, they decided to get the band back together in a sort of Blues-Brothers-like move,… and their story could easily make a good scenario.
Even though Michael Rummans (on lead guitar) is the only original founding member in the group these days, McLoughlin on vocals, Patrick DiPuccio on guitar, and Ray Herron on drums are the new dynamic line-up of the Sloths these days, and I had the pleasure to see another of their sweaty performance last night.
Like many kids, Tommy McLoughlin’s life changed when he saw Elvis on TV, the Beatles in the Ed Sullivan Show, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and the dream to be this rock and roll rebel frontman has never left him… He demonstrates it at each second of the show. He is simply restless, delivering a theatrical show from start to finish, aching through a heartbreak tune, sliding on his kneepads in front of a girl, or even making confetti magically escape from a hand fan without skipping a note. He is the son of a magician, and studied mime with Marcel Marceau, which makes him a sort of Mick Jagger of mimes, as he definitively moves like a rock star and acts as if he was singing in front of a 20,000-seat concert arena.
But McLoughlin’s stage and extra-stage antics shouldn’t make you forget how good the band is, the music definitely sweat rock & roll history and sunset-strip’s glory days, with propulsive rock songs and enduring hooks, from the Chuck Berry-esque ‘A Cutie Named Judy’, to the very catchy ‘Never Enough Girls’, a tune written by Holly Beth Vincent for Joey Ramone. Throughout their set of bluesy-garage rock songs, the Sloths’ tone nevertheless changed a bit with the pounding beats and half-spoken delivery of ‘One Way Out’, or the almost Doors-meet-English-invasion vibe of ‘Haunted’, or even the teen puppy love song, ‘You Mean Everythign to Me’, the B-side of their career-start-up single ‘Makin’ Love’,
There was barely a moment to rest, and their set was on fire, exhilarating to dramatic to comical, with a few costume changes amusingly pairing with McLoughlin’s comedy swagger, followed by another furious Bo Diddley’s primitive jungle drumming during their Back-From-the-Grave single ‘Makin’ Love’. The Sloths continue to live the dream five decades later, and why shouldn’t they, it’s only rock and roll anyway.
7 and 7 is
Cutie Named Judy
Never Enough Girls
You Mean Everything to me
End of my Rope
Wanna New Life
One Way Out
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