Wednesday, 9 December 2009

704 KAY HANLEY, Scamper, Charlie Chesterman and the Legendary Motorbikes, TT The Bear's Place, Boston MA USA, Thursday 13 July 2006

After a showery but good day shopping in Boston and also meeting up with old friend and Big Dipper man Gary Waleik for lunch, Rachel and I took the T to Central, getting a drink in the Middle East whilst watching the Red Sox on TV, before hitting TTs at 9.30. We were entertained first off by Charlie Chesterman, the former Scruffy The Cat man kicking up a countrified rock noise with his new band, recalling Gin Blossoms or some similar ilk. Not bad for an opener.

Sat down over by the merch stand in the bar area while Scamper were on. They were noisier, indistinct and didn't really impress me. The only moment of real interest came when Kay Hanley joined them onstage for a breathless run-through of the old Letters To Cleo classic "Pizza Cutter", which was a trillion times better than their own material!

The place was heaving for the Homecoming Queen, Kay Hanley, who joined us at 11.45. Even down the front was packed - unheard of for Boston! We took a spot stage left as the band hooked up and into new opener "Video", a flippant little number with the hook of "I like your video, but I admit that your music's shit!" This set the tone for this gig - flippant, bright breezy pop, played with verve and a whole dollop of attitude and fun. Kay, ably backed by another all-star band including hubby USA Michael Eisenstein, bassist Joe Klompus and thumping hard Pit drummer Pete Caldes, was in bullish mood throughout, even joking, "oh, fuck it!" when failing to hit the high notes during the chorus of the otherwise-excellent "Fall".

A brilliantly powerful and emotive "Because Of You" seemingly took Kay even by surprise, as she commented, "wow!" at the end. A rearranged and toughened-up "Galapagos", done so because Kay was worried the CD version was, "too mumsy," was touching if not as good as the full-length to these ears. However a sing-along "Te Amo" and the Cleos classic "Awake" rounded the set off brilliantly. So glad we got to see a full-length Kay gig, rather than the truncated Hot Stove show!

That wasn't it though - after the show we scrounged a set-list from the obliging Caldes; hung out with affable American Hi-Fi man Drew Parsons; sympathised with the "Peach" Pete Stone, as he'd just turned 40 at midnight; bade farewell to USA Mike, a lovely bloke it was a total pleasure to meet up with again; and Rach had pix taken with a buoyant Kay, her "new best friend"! A great end to a great night. Kay Hanley rocks!

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