New Heathens

Arlene’s with the Apple Bros & Tom Clark

Some of the best New Heathens gigs I can remember featured one great roots-rock band after another, then the New Heathens ending the night by making everybody dance.

Last night was like that at Arlene's Grocery.

I showed up at the beginning of a rockin' set by Tom Clark and his High Action Boys . Dude put on a telecaster clinic!

Then the Apple Brothers , one of my all-time favorite NYC bands hit the stage and kicked out the jams. I've still got lead singer Jamie's sandpaper yowl and the quicksilver licks from his white stratocaster zipping through my brain.

We were a four-piece last night because Dom couldn't make the gig due to a work emergency. Butch stepped it up and played great electric licks on his new black Gretch (guitarists are like jet engines: you can still fly if you lose one, but if you lose two you're dead). Eric laid down a steady, pounding groove, as usual. Brandy sang a lot of background vocals and my oh my she sounded fantastic! Plus her bass totally kicked ass. I thrashed away at my acoustic guitar on every song, something I do only in case of emergency (as a common courtesy to the nice folks who come listen to us). I hit most of the right chords and I thought we sounded like a tight, Americana quartet.

And who can argue with dancers? We had at people bopping around the floor until our very last note. Man that's satisfying. Especially in a city with draconian cabaret laws.

We had another nice-in-New-York-City moment when the curmudgeony door lady said she really liked us. This from a woman who must hear 150 bands a month. (She didn't PAY us, mind you, but she said she liked us, which is more than a band usually gets in a New York club).

Our friend Anne Scatto gave us Christmas presents before the show. I got a t-shirt that says, "As Seen On YouTube" and Eric got a shirt that says, "Your Favorite Band Sucks." Thanks Anne.

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