Monday, October 10, 2011

Blue Oyster Cult - Midnight Hike -- State Theatre - Oct 9 2011

Midnight Hike - This still relatively new area band landed a nice gig opening up for one of my favorite legendary bands. Not only does it garner them a nice unique audience, but it is a pretty good fit as Midnight Hike exhibits quite a bit of classic rock amidst their more modern styled straight ahead indie rock. They played songs from their one CD (reviewed here previously) and delivered them quite well. The better songs worked well and the lesser ones were still decent. The next step is to keep writing and their set should sharpen up further. The crowd is of course older, with some young people (next generation) also present here as always, although there does not seem to be as many youngsters as I noted in previous visits. The crowd politely accepted the band and I sensed that several people enjoyed this set. Not the guy next to me however, but he did not elaborate nor did I really care. Good gig on a good stage and these guys sound like they still have plenty of energy and are having a good time playing. Who knows where they will turn up next, but it will be a rocking affair.

Blue Oyster Cult - Is this the ninth time for me? I could look up my notes and try to figure it out, but suffice it to say that this has been an important band for me since that first concert of mine where they opened for Rod Stewart and the Faces until the recent couple of times I have seen them on this stage. It's the usual band featuring two original members (Bloom, Dharma), drummer Jules Radino, and ace musician Richie Castellano. The only change is rotating bass position. Rudy Sarzo had been playing but was finishing a tour with Dio Disciples (didn't know that 'band' was still active), so Jon Rogers filled in (he was Joe Bouchard's first replacement). Nice to see Jon Rogers still likes to rock out as it sounds like he is a busy Emmy award winning director when he's not doing this. But on to the show. I was absolutely aghast at how awful the sound was for the first three songs. It really makes me wonder why you would bother with a sound check when it was this bad. Since the band didn't seem to complain about the monitors, I guess that is the answer. Still, the improvement was very slow in coming but I finally noticed it about the fourth song. I thought Ric Ocasek might have been at the Board and the PA under some invisible glass. By set's end I stopped trying to debate how bad the sound was early on or whether the band had lost a step. Since the songs were sounding pretty good for the most part ( only Cities on Flame seemed a bit lethargic), the blame goes to the sound. Buck Dharma is still a treat to watch as his fluid guitar style is unique and powerful. Richie Castellano has a modern style and it is fun to see them trading leads which did not happen in the old days with the rhythm players they had surrounding Dharma. Eric Bloom was amusing and sounds more thoughtful than most when chatting (he always seemed sharp) and drew a laugh from me and others when he said that the shoulder length gray haired Jon Rogers "was not Mick Box with a haircut". "Last Days of May" featured the excellent extended guitar work and "Buck's Boogie" still surprisingly delivers. If the end is coming, it is not due to these players as they still have plenty of life left. But thanks to the technical end, I wished I could have sensed that earlier in the set.

Set list: The Red and the Black/The Golden Age of Leather/ME 262/Burnin' for You/Harvest Moon/Cities on Flame/Black Blade/The Vigil/Buck's Boogie/Last Days of May/Godzilla/Buck solo/Don't Fear the Reaper  Encores: after an early Beatles cut (John Lennon would have been 70 today) they blasted out Hot Rails to Hell

Quote of the Night: Overheard at an unbelievably inane restaurant conversation.
"What country are you from?"
"South America."
"OK, but what country?"

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