Monday, March 06, 2006

UNCLE BOB WITH BILLY FICCA, CB's 313 Gallery 3/5/06

There have always been these strange, some may say "quirky" gigs that have been happening at CBGB and its various stages (not to mention Max's Kansas City during their heyday) ever since the beginning of time (or at least 1974), and even though it's far past the date when such stellar pairings as Blondie opening for Screamin' Jay Hawkins at CB's or Sleepy LaBeef doing the honors for the Cramps at Max's sends thrill chills down the spine at least Hilly's surviving (for now) club still seems to come up with some strange and enticing billing that harkens back to the days of old when Bobby "Boris" Pickett would somehow end up paired with Information, or singer/songwriter Buzzy Lindhart would pop up amidst a more hardcore/altie array of bands including the Lubricated Goat! And frankly, I still get a little tingling feeling when I see these really incongruous billings and interesting slap-dashes pop up once in awhile...kinda flashes me back to the days of the Fillmore when you'd get some jazz or soul act stuck smack dab inna middle of your typical FM hotstuff "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" type acts!

So that's why I tuned in to see Uncle Bob with Billy Ficca last night. And I tuned in amidst a haze as well...y'see, I thought Uncle Bob was gonna be one of those quirky new unnerground rock and roll-y acts that somehow got veteran drummer Ficca into the band in order to boost attendance or something. Since Ficca seems to want to play with just about anybody (and always has...even when he was in Television he did a series of gigs May '75 at CBGB with future cabaret pianist Vanessa Vickers sandwiched in between hard rock power trio Trilogy and David Patrick Kelley and Toivo, Kelley to later star in famed teen gangwar epic THE WARRIORS which had gang fights breaking out right inna theater during its '79 run!), I figured that maybe this setting was more or less Vickers revisited three decades later. And since I wasn't around to get an eyefulla that one (or smart enough to try to get a tape of it) at least I can pride myself on catching this thing before everything goes down the proverbial CBGB toilet, so to speak.

Anyway, to my surprise Uncle Bob wasn't some new group but an actual guy who I guess is Unca B hisself, playing an acoustic guitar backed by a still fit-looking Ficca on bongo drums! Bob looks like one of your typical hipster New Yorker types or something (or nothing)...sings kinda gruff and really was nothing that much different than a lotta the (anti) folksingers who have been playing En Why See for the past twenty years. Nice enough stuff...not anything "for the ages" but then again is music necessarily supposed to be, or is any popular culture for that matter? (I mean, there are a lotta now-forgotten TV shows and rock groups and comic strips that still pack a wallop as far as my personal tastes go, and though they may not "make it" within your parameters they sure feel snugly at home with mine!) Ficca's bongo playing did add a bitta beatno mystique to the proceedings, though for some reason I kept thinking about that bad Percy Dovetonsils updating that Bobby Darin used to do on his show...he being this hippie poet reciting rehash beat verse to a bongo-playing freakazoid! Boy, how such little things as Billy Ficca playing bongo drums bring back the long-hidden tee-vee memories!

Good point: the cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" which somehow "made it" on an acoustic guitar and bongos level. Bad point: the anti-Bush song. Not that I'm any great fan of the guy though I gotta still say I love him like a big teddy bear (he being the closest to Calvin Coolidge, another fave teddy bear, as we're likely to see in quite some time), but when I hear smug left-leaning humorless young hipster anti-trade tyrants rant against him I can't help but wanna hug and kiss the big galoot perhaps outta spite if anything! Maybe these people should start doing pro-Bush songs...then I could see the whole sickening scene for what it is, and for what its disturbing potential may be.

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