I made it to the Horseshoe about five songs into the Fleshtones' set.
They call their music Super Rock, and they've been doing it since the summer of 1976. I've probably seen these Brooklyn garage-rock veterans about 10 times now, and I maintain that they still comprise the most entertaining quartet in rock-and-roll. The last time I saw the band, in April 2004, I thought that it was a bit of a sub-par performance (the first that I had witnessed) and was worried that age might have finally caught up to the guys. But that concern was cast aside with last night's performance.
The crowd size was disappointingly small, but those who were up front with me were definitely into it -- and the band seemed to feed off that enthusiasm in a set that included Pretty Stupid, You Don't Know, Let's Get Serious, Do You Swing?, Fascination, She Looks Like A Woman, Push Up Man, Break That Lock and an encore featuring guitarist Keith Streng doing his best Robert Plant on Communication Breakdown.
Streng frequently jumped off the stage and into the crowd, while bassist Ken Fox was all over the place as well. Drummer Bill Milhizer would occasionally stand up to play, and singer Peter Zaremba was at his best as a master showman once again. He'd occasionally step behind his vintage Farfisa organ to bang out a few chords, but more often you'd find him dancing on a speaker, bringing his mic stand into the audience to sing, or, during Push Up Man, getting down on the floor to challenge fans to a push-up contest. At one point near the end of the night, Zaremba, Streng and Fox were all standing on tables and benches in the middle of the club while still singing and playing.
The smiles on the faces of the band members showed that their love of playing rock-and-roll in front of people with an appreciation for it still hasn't waned after almost 30 years as a group with little more than a cult following. It's infectious and always leaves me grinning.
Fox was manning the merch booth after the show. We talked for a while and then I bought the band's last vinyl copy of 1998's Only Skin Deep album for $10. It was a good deal for me, and I hope that any little small contribution that I can make to the band's bottom line will give it the ability and impetus to keep on keepin' on.
The Fleshtones rule.
np Leafs 3 Thrashers 1 after one period