If I’d only enjoyed my first visit to Blues City Deli, with my friend and former radio co-host Amanda Doyle, that alone would’ve been a cool way to spend part of an afternoon. (That’s without the complicated-to-explain addition of some bargain t-shirt shopping at a clearance warehouse; next time.) And, earlier in the day, there was shared membership pitching on Silver Tray, with Valis (of KDHX’s day-breaking Trip Inside this House); that was pretty boss, as well. Then, to have a chance to go back into the studio, post-lunch, to enjoy three hours with Art Dwyer on “Blues in the Night,” well… that was simply one of the most enjoyable blocks of time I’ve ever had on the station. Just fantastic fun.
But the night’s activities turned a great day into something even more sublime, as The Painkillers played a wonderful set at Off Broadway, a venue that was suitably full for the occasion. There were so many rich, overlapping moments in the evening. Sean Garcia, who played music with me in our teeth-cutting, new wave days, before he went onto a successful run with Three Merry Widows, was on guitar and vocals. And he perfectly captured the feeling of late Painkillers guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Jeff Barbush, while melding into the trio of Jack Petracek, Carl Pandolfi and Mike Martin. Now, Martin and Garcia had their own nice run together in the band Tinhorn, so that bit of chemistry was expected; but together, the three, along with vocalist Tim McAvin, who joined the band for a trio of late tracks, was superb. There may’ve been a bit of nerves early, but those drifted away relatively quickly, as the group blended originals with some of the covers they were known for during the 1980s. If there’s a next time, here’s hoping that the group hones in even more deeply on their own catalog; the covers, though cool, are no more enjoyable than the originals.
As noted here before, the band’s CD is out now, in a new, remastered, expanded form. On Euclid Records’ house label, the 21-song disc is available at the shop, or via mail order.
Two things have circulated through my head since Friday night, now two days into the history bank.
1. In the liner notes, I used a word (in two forms) a total of three times in the first paragraph. I’m not sure how that happened, as I read and re-read that piece at least a dozen times before it was finally set in stone. But if the band can live with work they put out in their early-20s — material that they might feel self-conscious about to some degree — then I should be able to handle something as simple as using “portrayed/portrayal” three times in a forever-out-there set of liner notes. Right? Right? (Ugh.)
2. The whole getting into the ’80s state of mind has been freeing. Makes me wanna do something with that DIY energy I’ve just tapped. So there’ll be something coming live on May 1. Or not. Related to all this. Or not. Visit back on May 1.