+ THE FLESHTONES
Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey
September 9, 2007
It was like this: I was holidaying over in the US for a couple of weeks, and noticed that the Gurus would be playing Maxwell's together with the Fleshtones during my stay, so decided to go and check it out. No photos for this gig, sorry.
Jeez, the only time I saw the Gurus was in Brighton UK in 1985 (the gig my bro' Pete talked about missing in his Gurus Brighton review!!) and I'd last seen the Fleshtones in Zürich, Switzerland in 1988 - so with 20 years+ riding between the then and now I went to the gig with an open mind.
First on were the Fleshtones, a slim 4 piece with original members Peter Zaremba (vocals), Keith Streng (guitar and vocals), Bill Milhizer (drums & vocals), and new guy, Ken Fox on bass. They played all new songs which I didn't know, but for a band that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, its quite a testament to their undying love of playing foot-tapping rock 'n' roll that they look to the future rather than stick with playing the "hits" from the past.
Pete Zaremba was all over the place, prefering to spend half the set amongst the audience, joined by Keith and Bill on occasions. They finished their set after about 10 or 11 songs to a raptuous applause from the crowd. A great start to the night. BTW, if you're interested, there's a new book that's been published telling the story of the Fleshtones, haven't seen it myself, but you can check out the details here.
After an extended break between bands, the Hoodoo Gurus hit the stage. All of them looking older and no doubt wiser - with Brad "the bullet" Shephard, once the fresh- faced cute boy in the band, now looking more like Noddy Holder with those bushy sideburns! Dave stated that as this was the last night of the tour, (they were flying back to Aus the next day) in contrast to the 'Tones playing new songs, the Gurus were only going to play songs from the first two albums!!
The audience cheered, but I myself was a little disappointed, as I would have loved to have heard songs from "Magnum...." and "Kinky", but what the hell, bring it on!
The band played a tight set, and hearing fave songs like "Let's all turn on" or "Be my Guru" sent a shiver down my spine. The atmosphere was intimate, and Dave was in fine form, telling the crowd they last played Maxwell's way back in 1984. He went on to say that he was honoured to have the Fleshtones support them, and recounted that he bought the first 'Tones 7" back in '79 when he was visiting New York - "that single was one of the reasons the Gurus formed", he quoted.
They kept on cranking out the songs and even attempted a couple where Dave wasn't sure if he'd remember the lyrics! The crowd was responsive and shouted out songs for the band to play, "Axegrinder", "nope, sorry, that wasn't on the 1st
2!!" Dave would reply. By the time the set had finished, they'd played most songs from Stoneage and Mars, although "Tojo" was an obvious ommission, shame, as the crowd was calling out for that one too... and I'd have loved to have heard them play "Hayride to hell", still, you can't have it all, but hey.
To sum it up: getting to see a good gig from two venerable and respected bands in a small cosy venue with views of the Manhattan skyline on the other side of the Husdon River just a few blocks to the east, made for a memorable night. Nice one. - Thomas Craven
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