Each time NRBQ comes to town, they always appear to be finishing up a particularly arduous tour. The musicians are bedraggled; they stumble about the stage like punch-drunk boxers. Their hair looks dirty and unkempt. Their clothes hang on them like unironed throwaways. They are rough and unrefined.
But their music is terrific.
Last night at the Bayou, NRBQ struck at the heart of rock 'n" roll. Buzz-saw guitar chords tore at the wildly enthusiastic crowd, while jackhammer rhythims pounded away incessantly. Garbled, gutsy vocals mixed with a screeching sax and a rumbling trombone to produce a sound that had all the subtelty of a Mack truck steaming down a country road at full speed.
NRBQ plays various styles, from hard rock to country jaxx with touches of reggae and blues thrown in for added effect. These styles are played with a sense of barely controlled abandon, with the volume up and the energy level approaching the breaking point. The solos are imprecise and the endings to the songs tend to fade away in a flurry of notes, but the music somehow manages to hold fast. NRBQ has carefully avoided 20 years of musical evolution and is proving that finesse is not always best when it comes to rock 'n" roll.