It has regretably been quite a while since my last post. A giant moving van barreled down my street two weeks ago ripping down my phone line as it passed. Not surprisingly, it took Verizon five days to get out to my house to restore my phone and internet service. Couple that disaster with a really excellent Maine vacation consisting of a blur of microbrew and lobster rolls and you can understand my low profile over the last few weeks.
Nonetheless, last night I was most grateful to be back in the D.C. Metro area where I ventured south to Falls Church, VA to the State Theatre to see the legendary Yardbirds in concert. Normally, these reunion things can be dreary affairs, but not so with this most blueswailing reincarnation of the group. Original members Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) and Jim McCarty (drums, backing vocals) were joined by a hot band consisting of Detroit-reared frontman/bassist John (looks like Beck, sings like Relf!) Idan on bass and lead vocals, onetime Nine Below Zero member Alan Glen on harp, and fiery guitarist Ben King on lead.
From their opening number, Train Kept a Rollin' to the encore Smokestack Lightning, the band literally tore threw the Yardbirds back catalog with a vengeance. Brilliant versions of Shapes of Things, Lost Woman, and Heart Full of Soul were coupled with set surprises such as Dazed and Confused, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, and Turn into Earth. Sprinkle in a few songs from the band's 2003 comeback LP Birdland, and you had yourself a most compelling evening of music. Newcomer Ben King is a cracking guitarist, recalling Jeff Beck's muscular yet always tuneful playing style. Alan Glen's harp work improves on Keith Relf's energetic blowing and John Idan proved to be a fine frontman and skilled bassist. Really, founding members Dreja and McCarty turned in the most understated musical contributions of the evening, and I was surprised to see that Dreja did not take a solo the entire evening despite the fact that he was grinning like a fool throughout the entire set.
All in all, a great show and a worthy contribution to the Yardbirds legacy. The band is working their way across the U.S. as we speak (Steve, they will be in N.Y.C. on 8/28 at B.B. King's Blues Club!). Check 'em out if you get the chance!