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Savtones at The Square Root


The Persistance of Memory Orchestra

UU Church lawn, Gloucester, MA

The Dirty Truckers, Stop Calling Me Frank, Muck & The Mires

on a boat in Boston Harbor

8/15 - 8/17, 2019


Two if by land, three if by sea or something like that. Tony Savarino and the Savtones have a classy new disk out its called Savvy Tonarino. Savarino has a sly way of underlining his twang and surf with just the right highlights to emphasize the feel of the songs - a little secret agent man here, a little doo-wop there, a little space and Avante spaz out on the margin. These guys are talented and creative. They know their way around a genre. Live, Savtones display many of the record's strengths. They role out an eclectic mix of originals and covers. Then they ride the dynamics and solos to keep these instrumentals interesting. On the disk the dewy-eyed standard "I Only Have Eyes for You" is a shimmery standout. Live, the band took it a click or two faster.

The Square Root is a small cafe plus space with a fine selection of beer, munches and, of course, coffee. The size of the room made the night's full crowd seem like a sellout and created a good buzz. The High End band boys Curt Florczak and Johnny Carlevale are doing some of the bookings at Square Root. The idea is to do a wide range of rock from the snazzy Savtones to the rockin' October 19 gig with Watts, Kid Gulliver and State of the Union. Well worth the drive to the other side of the world.

Willie Alexander resurfaced in Gloucester after a health scare and recuperation. He brought together his cubist rock band the Persistence of Memory Orchestra with Ken Fields and Mark Chenevert on horns and Jim Doherty on drums. They thread-the-needle through a twisted mix of Vincent Ferrini tone poems, angular sambas, funked-up horn section vamps with a splattering of earthy sax solo and of course Willie's inimitable originals. This all took place on the lawn of the Unitarian church on a side street off Gloucester center on a perfect summer night under the trees and the stars.

As for three on the sea, Eddie Barese, the drummer in Stop Calling Me Frank was the impresario behind the three-hour tour. You can't beat a party boat the ocean on a perfect weather day with some of the cream of the Rum Bar music crew." The combo definitely brought out everyone's A-game. The show is so catchy it's contagious.

The Dirty Truckers were ready to rock the boat and the boat complied with some good-natured rocking of its own. This lead to a fair amount of splayed stances and wide dance steps to highlight the Truckers exile on the harbor antics.

Stop Calling Me Frank took their hosting role seriously and put out one of their best sets. They nod, they wink, they honk, they mug. They pushed all the tempos into the red and the crowd responded in kind. Lead singer Lennie Donohoe was on fire especially during the second to the last song when it looked like he might blow an eyeball out of its socket!

Muck and the Mires held down the last leg of the three-hour tour. They keep the fashion quotients up with nautical blue shirts and a couple of jaunty navy lids. They flew across the harbor on a hydrofoil of old and new. I'm surprised there isn't a listen-a-long flotilla riding the wake behind us. A lot of familiar friends and faces - Gilligan, Ginger, Mr. and Mrs. Howell - kept the boat in balance. Muck capped off a great day with Jay Allen jumping in for a rip through a cover of the Ramones' "Comando".


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