With a symphonic version of "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum" blaring from their speakers, the Pirates shanghaied the stage of the Cellar Door last night for an evening of basic rock 'n' roll. The group, three old British Rock salts dressed in striped pants and knee boots, attempted to storm the place, like the swashbuckling heroes of an old adventure movie.
While those movies have technicolor to keep them fresh and new, rock depends on immediacy and imagination, neither of which was displayed by the Pirates. They blasted their way through old standards and new material which sounded like those standards. Their set hobbled along on a wooden leg supported by threechord songs, pounding drums and hoarsely shouted vocals that tried to recapture the glories of old rock but were scuttled by the passage of time. The Pirates have energy and a certain, rough-edged charisma but they belong to another age that has, regrettably, faded into the past.
For this reason, their set was touched by a note of sadness for the musicians as well as their listeners. Like the pirates in the movies, they have travelled for years searching for a buried treasure, only to find it, tarnished and rotting with age. The Pirates (and many other rockers) should seek new treasures rather than digging up the old.