Dave Edmunds wrote no new rules for rock 'n' roll Thursday night at the Bayou, but no one invokes the age-old principles better. Edmunds' heart and guitar are in such a good time--1956 and Chuck Berry and rockabilly, to be exact--that it was impossible not to enjoy the exuberant rock 'n' roll classicism of his five-piece band. By the time Edmunds and co-guitarist Micky Gee cut into Springsteen's "From Small Things," the band had hit fourth gear and the crowd revved into overdrive.

With an exceptional selection of material stretching from Smiley Lewis to Graham Parker and Elvis Costello, Edmunds could do no wrong in terms of the traditional canons of '50s rock 'n' roll. In fact, Edmunds' whole show, full of whining guitars, chugging rhythms and the bouncing piano work of Jeraint Watkins, was the kind of high-energy tribute to Chuck Berry that Berry himself can no longer pull off.

The opening act, Switchblade, played simple and primitive rockers and, in the words of their own tune, they were "Red Hot and Cool." This D.C. band pounded out a set of rockabilly-derived material that was hot and greasy enough to fry an egg. Switchblade eschewed any musical subtlety or sophistication in favor of the simple and effective assault.