In 1966, rock n' roll had gained enough technique to create ambitious music without losing its original spontaneity.That balance was soon lost as ambition got out of hand. Last night at the Bayou, the Tourists revived that balance as well as anyone this side of Tom Petty.
In only their second U.S. appearance, the British quintet featured the catchy but sophisticated melodies of singer-guitarist Peet Coombes. The premeditated polish of the vocal harmonies and keyboards was counterbalanced by the twitching thump of the backbeat. Lead singer Ann Lenox combined clean, controlled singing with theatrical dancing. Lenox and Coombes joined voices most dramatically on Coombes' "Everywhere I Look" and the band's new single, a remake of Dusty Springfield's 1964 hit "I only Want to Be With You." The Tourists encored with the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride," a tribute to their most obvious influence.
The Tony Sciuto Band closed the opening set with the Beatles' "Paperback Writer." Sciuto, a Baltimore native, has also revived the Beatles' clean, lively sound, though he is more of a McCartney melodist than a Lennon conceptualist. His melodies to "Captian Wonderful" and "Cafe L. A." were instantly memorable. His Baltimore band gave them a punch and urgency they lack on his debut record.