David Johansen set a few bizarre fashion trends when he was with the New Ork Kolls years ago, and judging from his concert last night at the Bayou, he still shops the flea markets. Early in the show a red blazer gave way to a sleeveless denim jacket with a portrait of Marilym Monroe stenciled on the back. His accouterments included Mouseketeer ears, a jungle spear and what appeared to be a sequined bathing cap.
For a time it seemed as if his wasdrobe might upstage his music. Some of the songs he performed off his new album were extremely heavy-handed, especially for a songwriter known for his style and wit. Johansen, lead guitarist Blondie Chapin and the powerful rhythm section did their heavy-metal best to lift them off the ground, but the results were frequently disappointing.
Certainly no new songs could rival the sound and fury of Johnasen's "Frenchette," the exhilaration of the Four Tops' "Reach Out" or the romping "Melody." That's when Johansen didn't need to rely on thunderous power chords, props or his Mick Jagger looks and gestures. He buil each of those songs to such a masterful close that the lesser tunes seemed like a distant memory.