NRBQ tars-and-feathers Vancouver, leaves the Cabbage Patch Kids alone


photo by John Scully


By Steve Newton

Not a lot of people showed up for NRBQ‘s Commodore Ballroom date last Thursday (January 29), but of the 500 or so who did, few went home disappointed. In fact, it’s fair to say that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s ever had a bad time at an NRBQ show, because the powerful fun that this foursome from Saugerties, New York, brews up on stage is much too addictive for that.

The New Rhythm & Blues Quartet are wild. They’re zany. They’re kooky. But most of all they’re very, very good, and when they get rolling there may not be a better live rock and roll band anywhere.

As usual, keyboardist Terry Adams was the centre of attention. With his blonde, page-boy locks flying, Adams used his elbows, forearms–and sometimes even his fingers–to beat nifty sounds from his trusty clavinet. Mountainman guitarist Al Anderson (six-foot-four, 300 pounds) looked mean as he ripped raucous chords from his vintage Telecaster–but he also played pretty when the tune called for it.

Easygoing bassist Joey Spampinato stood calm and collected in the middle of things, casually laying down the bottom end. And drummer Tom Ardolino–who is prone to wearing black magician’s capes and lampshades on his head–skipped the antics and stayed mainly behind the skins, sluggin’ out the beat on tunes like “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” and “Get Rhythm”.

About the only thing you could complain about in NRBQ’s show was the conspicuous absence of any Cabbage Patch Kid tar-and-feathering. The last two times they played Vancouver–at the Commodore a year ago and Club Soda a few months before that–they finished their sets with such a poke at a puffy-faced CPK.



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