A touring band that comes to the Washington area as much as NRBQ does (at least once a month) has to provide enough variety to keep each show interesting. NRBQ's show at the Wax Museum last night had enough surprises for even the most regular patron. The group brought along old friends from Boston, Jake & The Family Jewels, to play a likable opening set, and their manager--Captain Lou Albano, the bearded, barrel-bellied screamer of pro wrestling telecasts--to act as emcee and rap artist.
Albano was perfect for the show's anything-goes atmosphere. Terry Adams would subvert the pop melody of a song like "I Want You to Feel Good" with radically altered piano chords. After banging the last chord with his elbow, he'd bounce off his stool, call out the next tune to his anxious comrades and land behind the clavinet where he'd slap out screeching rock rhythms.
The band did everything from the warped gospel of "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" to the crisp jazz swing of "Time and Place" to the mock march of "The Sinking of the Bismarck." The group also did its most popular originals--"Me and the Boys," "Ridin' in My Car" and "It Was an Accident"--whose catchy melodies were made all the more appealing by the classy Everly Brothers singing of guitarist Al Anderson and bassist Joey Spampinato.