The Nectar Lounge, Seminole Coconut Creek, Coconut Creek
Friday, September 2, 2011
Better Than: Another night downtown drinking PBR and watching people stumble.
New Jersey's gift to college radio and the mid-'80s sovereign curators of mod-influenced rock, the Smithereens played a free show at the Seminole Coconut Creek's Nectar Lounge on Friday. The nostalgia was palpable as an unexpectedly large drove of mostly middle-aged fans put the modest Nectar Lounge over capacity, where they patiently awaited the first down beat, which was in keeping with South Florida's strict code of tardiness, coming in around 40 minutes late.
DiNizio and company certainly made up for all scheduling transgressions with an extended set of songs pulled mostly from the band's pre-1991 catalog, kicking off the show with now classic "Behind the Wall of Sleep" from their debut LP, Especially for You. Uniformly dressed in their standard beatnik black, the stealthiest band in power-pop may now look their age; however, their sound is as strong as ever. When you take into consideration that they have in fact been to the "Top Top, Top of the Pops" ...and then back down over the course of a 31-year career, the Smithereens' sonic wares appear immune to the aging process, most notably Pat DiNizio's trademark velveteen croon, which sounded absolutely perfect the entire night, though Jim Babjack's equally rocking and melodic guitar work must receive an honorable mention.
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Following a small tuning malfunction early on in the evening, the set began to gain momentum, and by the fourth song, 1988's "Only a Memory" off of Green Thoughts, many couples in the crowd had graduated from their excited singing along to outright dancing, and many appeared to be drawn back to a different time. Maybe it was before kids, maybe during college, and maybe when some of these couples were just getting to know each other, these people were reliving formative years via the soundtrack to those days.
The band played several songs from its most recent studio effort, 2011, which is a play on the title of one of their most successful albums, 11, and an appropriate one at that, as the new numbers sound like refined versions of the classics from that 1989 release.
This is a group that has seen it all. It's hard to stress the level of success the Smithereens really had earned at one point time, and it would be easy to expect them to be a bit disgruntled about playing smaller rooms with no admission charge, but their outlook is one of aging gracefully, and believe it or not, gratitude that they have people at their shows enjoying themselves. When I spoke with drummer Dennis Diken about longevity, he smiled and simply said, "We like what we do... We love what we do." He's not the only one, by the looks of things last night.
From the stage: "So I'm on Facebook, and I guess it's national blowjob day?" -- Pat DiNizio
Random detail: Upon running into a former classmate from middle/high school, he exclaims "My parents are over there! They're fucking wasted!"
Personal bias: I'm a Babjack fanboy.
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Top of the Pops
Miles From Nowhere
Only a Memory
Keep on Running
Drown in My Own Tears
Room Without a View
Time and Time Again
Since You Went Away
House We Used to Live In
Sparks (The Who)
Especially for You
Blood and Roses
A Girl Like You
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)
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