Radio Star at Merkaba Lounge ****

I can’t give them a full five because I only saw about seven songs, but they were so consistently good, with and without backing tracks, that I must give them props here.

Here is a list of the songs they played while I was there:
The Power of Love (Huey Lewis & The News)
Be Good Johnny (Men At Work)
Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)
Somebody’s Watching Me (Rockwell)
Don’t Mean Nothing (Richard Marx)
Your LoveĀ (The Outfield)

I’m forgetting one…well, regardless, every song was executed almost perfectly.

Singer Billy Lucas nailed everything, though he cheated (like almost everyone does) on the Outfield tune. The original is absurdly high. They played it a whole step down. He was charismatic, but also kind of stood there, mostly because most of the crowd wasn’t even paying attention to the band (shame on them). His guitar playing was tight, too, holding it all down.

My personal favorite was his brother David – great bass player, awesome tone (with his Music Man/Aguilar rig, that’s no shock), and great presence on stage, with his bald head and Tony Levin-esque vibe.

Their lead guitarist, Scott Clark, is a monster – adding almost a jazz vibe to solos on certain tunes, but always playing something that complemented the song harmonically (even if it sounded a little bizarre compared to the original tune at times). I loved the way he approached his solos, though, and his rhythm playing was stellar – he and Billy are just “toit” (as Goldmember might say).

Drummer Greg Seale held it all together with tight, focused playing, and hilarious (to me) fills, sometimes playing over the bar to the point where you go, “What the FUCK?!” Then he comes back. I think that’s more entertainment for musos, though.

I liked their Adidas track suits (the uniform of the band) – very Beastie Boys/Run-DMC – and I thought they put it together well.

The only gripe I had about what I saw was the PA – I thought the sound was pretty bad. You could hear everything, but there was this sort of upper-midrange honk to everything that just sounded to me like crappy speakers or incompetent soundman.

My guess it was more the speakers than the sound guy.

Overall, a great show, and they made it fun even when no one gave a crap, so kudos to you fellas – If I get some free time in the evening (when I’m not playing with my own band), I’ll be checking you out again!

Check them out at Their MySpace

Rating: COOL.

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