Wreckless Eric, who appeared at the Bayou last night, is the kind of eccentric rock performer England has been producing since the debut of Screaming Lord Sutch two decades ago. The diminutive Eric is full of nervous energy, awkward stage antics and good humor on stage.
Eric's tongue-in-cheek daffiness was a clear departure from the frenetic seriousness of his punk brethren. Instead Eric and his four-piece band delivered simple '60s-based pop constructions that were engaging and charming without sacrificing power.
The best examples of Eric's melodic knack were his first hit, "Whole Wide World," and the hypnotic "Semaphore Signals." If his gritty Cockney vocals obscured some of his lyrics, his looney grin gave his meaning away. Wreckless Eric may not possess the potential for greatness, but his brand of cockeyed rock 'n' roll is fun for anyone with their head screwed on crooked.
Live Wire, the British band that opened the show, offered a lead singer with an uncanny vocal resemblance to Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. In fact, Live Wire's music draws its inspiration from its same stylistic source as Dire Straits -- J. J. Cale's cool southern funk. Unfortunately the style needs good songs and subtle guitar playing to gain intensity, and Live Wire had neither.