Nightcrawler: Tongue Twisters and Waggers

There’s an old school of thought in music industry circles that says it doesn’t matter what anyone says about you as long as they spell your name right.

“Forget about spelling,” laughs Ryan Quinn of the former Los Hijos Unicos. “It got to the point where it was clear other musicians and promoters were even afraid of introducing our band for fear of mispronouncing.”

Despite garnering a buzz and following as Unicos over the past three years, Quinn says he and his bandmates have finally decided to ditch the cumbersome moniker in favor of the far more user-friendly Salvation Alley String Band. The newly named outfit will debut at The Silk City Taproom in Florence this Thursday, Sept. 2, armed with a new disc they call The Pioneer Valley Rose and Other Favorites.

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As promised, the Crawler caught up with the subjects of his Aug. 5 installment, Illinois-based indie faves The Academy Is (TAI), during their recent Mohegan Sun gig in support of rock juggernaut KISS.

“I don’t think we will ever know how we landed this tour,” says TAI bassist Adam Siska. “I was sitting at home in my underwear when I got the call, and it took a solid 15 minutes of convincing that it wasn’t a joke.”

Fully panted and refreshed by a rare four-day hiatus in the tour (particularly since they have been filling in their opening gigs with headlining appearances of their own), TAI took the Mohegan stage to offer staples like “Neighbors” and “LAX To O’Hare” that quickly caught the ear of the KISS Army. Then the arena-ready “We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” and a faithful cover of The Sweet’s “Fox On The Run” won them over.

Shortly after 9 p.m., the “Gods of Thunder” themselves surfaced—quite literally—through a billow of smoke and settled into a blistering 18-song set that included hits old and new and no fewer than six encores.

Although evening opener “Modern Day Delilah” tested the limits of singer Paul Stanley‘s rock rasp, he quickly hit his vocal stride and tapped into the seemingly ceaseless supply of performance energy that has allowed him to masterfully preside over countless “rock n’ roll parties” over the past 35 years. True, other offerings from the band’s current Sonic Boom (namely, “I’m An Animal” and “Say Yeah”) elicited veritable cattle drives to the rest rooms, but time-tested chestnuts like “Cold Gin” and “Calling Dr. Love” had people scurrying back to their seats just as quickly.

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A few nights later, the Crawler unearthed a second ghost of rock ‘n’ roll past in the form of seminal ’90s band Living Colour at their Infinity Hall (infnityhall.com) engagement in Norfolk, Conn. The Aug. 19 show actually marked the second time the Crawler had seen the genre-jumping foursome at said venue in a year’s time. While last year’s show included a top-to-bottom run-through of the band’s then recently released fifth studio outing, Chair In The Doorway, the decision to run with a conventional set this go-round afforded the melodic metal-meisters the opportunity to dig deep into their rich catalog. And oh, what treasures they did find.

From “Ignorance Is Bliss” to “I Will Never Be Satisfied,” it was sonic nirvana for the hardcore fans in attendance. And if that wasn’t enough, there was some certified Nirvana, too, as the band closed the show with a spot-on rendering of Nevermind‘s “In Bloom.”

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Last up… your last chance to support your favorite Valley-based musician. Voting for the Advocate’s annual Grand Band Slam wraps up Thursday, Sept. 2. To cast your vote, kindly point your browser to valleyadvocate.com.

Note: There is only one vote allowed per IP address.

Catch the Nightcrawler every Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. on the Steve Cantara Radio Show, WRNX 100.9 FM. Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, PO Box 427, Somers, CT 0071; fax to (860) 698-9373 or email garycarra@aol.com.

Author: Gary Carra

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