Fathers brought daughters, mothers brought sons and everybody else brought their oldest rock T-shirts to the 9:30 club on Monday night to see the remnants of Blondie, the funnest band in the CBGB stable in the 1970s. They looked good and sounded better.
None of Blondie's contemporaries on New York's New Wave scene found as much joy or success melding the city's other musical movements of the time into their own oeuvre. All these years later, 1980's "Rapture" sounds tame, but rockologists credit the tune with providing pop radio with its first taste of hip-hop. As Deborah Harry, now 58, rapped her tribute to Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy, a huge percentage of the audience mouthed every word.
Blondie saluted fellow denizens of its old haunts. Harry shrieked, "What I want, I want now!" during a cover of "See No Evil," a tune from Television, the most bliss-free of the CBGB bands.
Harry, dressed in a frilly red shirt that frequently threatened to fall off, screamed like a good punk would as fellow band founder Chris Stein hit the famous guitar break on "One Way or Another." But for the chorus of "Call Me," Harry held the microphone toward the fans and let them go for the high notes on their own.
Though she fronted perhaps the best dance combo to ride the New Wave, Harry didn't possess any smooth club moves back in the day, and still doesn't. She got all herky-jerky as drummer Clem Burke, sporting a white "New York City" T-shirt like the one John Lennon made famous in the 1970s, led the band through an extended disco mix of "Heart of Glass."
Harry still packs a catty wallop, however. During "Rip Her to Shreds," she dished on a rival scenester's look: "Red eye shadow! Green mascara! Yuck!" The suggested solution to deal with the fashion disaster -- "Rip her to shreds!" -- was very CBGB.
-- Dave McKenna
Credit the late Greenwich Village folk singer Fred Neil with Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers's rich, low tones. "When I was about 12 years old, I wanted to have a voice as deep as that," Rogers said during the Institute of Musical Traditions concert at Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring on Monday, then revealed how he got it: "A bottle of whiskey a day for 12 years."
Rogers looks the part of a man of folk legend: tall, with that combination of bald, bearded and ponytailed that works so poorly on lesser men, and possessing both that espresso voice and a lightning-fast technique on acoustic and electric guitar. He roamed among six guitars and even more styles on Monday night, employing a light-footed gallop on "Twisting in the Wind"; a lutelike, fingerpicked sound on electric on "Soul Kiss"; and a delicate touch for "Shining Thing," a song about those moments of epiphany when everything connects.
For all his mastery, though, it's his everyman quality that makes Rogers most appealing. A highlight of the show was "Ease Into It," a slide blues on a Gibson electric that Rogers introduced as "a song of middle-aged seduction." Drawing a huge laugh on the line "It takes me all night to do what I used to do all night," he quipped: "I've found my demographic."
-- Pamela Murray Winters