They were no-count outsiders when they made their debut at the long-since-defunct Keg in 1976, but the Slickee Boys who played their farewell gigs this weekend at the 9:30 club had become a rock-and-roll institution in Washington. And not just in Washington: Fans arrived from as far away as Los Angeles to hear the quintet's final song, which turned out to be Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen."
The eclectic but fundamentally garage-bound group has changed personnel frequently over the years, and during Saturday's two-hour-plus show, many ex-Slickees clambered onstage. Original singer Martha Hull, who performed Friday, didn't make the Saturday gig, but plenty of others did, including founder Kim Kane and a steady stream of former bass players. (Among the missing were Emery Olexa, who was expected, and Howard Wuelfing, now a Columbia Records publicist, whose "Control" was performed.)
Fittingly, it was the current lineup, led by singer Mark Noone and guitarist Marshall Keith (the only remaining original member), who performed such Slickee standards as "Gotta Tell Me Why," "Life of the Party" and, of course, "When I Go to the Beach," the MTV semi-hit whose video preceded the group's arrival onstage. Perhaps the song that summed up the Slickee Boys experience best, though, was their cover of Grand Funk's "We're an American Band."
Naw, not really, but it was pretty funny.