Steve Wynn and his band were everything a rock band should be Tuesday night at the 9:30 club. They were tight, but not afraid to get comfortably sloppy; they played with honest enthusiasm, making the songs that are flat and boring on Wynn's new album seem vitally important; and most of all, they were having fun on stage.
Wynn and guitarist Robert Mache shared guitar chores, frequently falling into each other and taking their trebly Telecaster solos far into dissonant sonic realms before reeling them back into the confines of Wynn's simple country-blues song structures. Mache especially shone, bending the guitar neck or slamming his "whammy bar" to get just the right sounds. These guitar adventures were neatly underscored by Robert Lloyd's simple organ and piano lines and by the best rhythm section to pass through town in quite a while: former Dream Syndicate bassist Mark Walton and drummer Kevin Jarvis. Lloyd also pulled out a mandolin to add a jangly country edge to such tunes as the Dream Syndicate's "Tell Me When It's Over."
Wynn was endearing as he sang his world-weary tales in a deadpan lower register voice or raved it up in "Kerosene Man." Though his songs tended to be a shade too long and lacking in real hooks, the unforced honesty of his delivery was a real pleasure.