The banner hanging above the stage of Constitution Hall last night featured a picture of an otter swimming next to the name of the headlining group, the Little River Band. The poor creature was probably going down for the third time.
The group's music is a leaden combination of California country rock and innocuous pop with touches of folk and heavy riffing thrown in for no apparent reason. Dual guitar solos a la the Allman Brothers and lush vocal harmonies were the order of the day, as the group thundered its way through a series of songs that lacked any sense of character or feeling.
To their credit, the Little River Band's show was slick and professionally packaged, with skillful lighting and a sound system which more than compensated for the hall's miserable acoustics. But the group had nothing to say musically and their performance seemed pointless. After hearing the seven-piece group from Australia, it is tempting to suggest that rock 'n' roll is down 'n' out Down Under,
The concert was saved from complete triviality by the backup appearance of Carlene Carter. Her brash blend of country music and British-oriented rock had the crowd stomping and clapping along to the songs, particuarly her energetic version of Elvis Costello's "Radio Sweetheart." She is a daring new kind of rock singer, one that could be called a Cowpunk.