NRBQ – New Album, More Gigs, Lotsa Fun

Terry Adams celebrated his birthday in August, and fans of his work leapt at the chance to show their thanks for the half-century of joyous sounds that NRBQ has brought their way. The revered ensemble has long operated under its bandleader’s omnipop esthetic – a know-as-much-you-can, rule-nothing-out, reveal-the-connections perspective that’s made Team Adams seem distinctly sage since the band’s mid-’60s start. Long story short, the Q’s ongoing curiosity has helped them create some of the most far-reaching rock ‘n’ roll around. Far-reaching yet focused, I should say. Few outfits are as adept at the stylistic nuances and musical inflections needed to turn mere fluency into imposing eloquence, and if god is in the details (and she is), there’s plenty of divinity spilling from the stage when the foursome roll through one of their ingenious sets. Which is often; the Q play all the time. When they descend upon a region, the fruits of  such frequency are obvious. Some writers reference it as simple rapport, citing camaraderie as the reason the band is super tight. But it’s more than just unity of purpose driving the action; it’s attitude that nourishes the creativity. On any given night, cheer, jollity and esprit de corps fuel the band’s shared duties. The frolic that’s central to their presentation is paramount, and it masks the rigor of the work it takes to make each show so freely entertaining. Each of the current members – guitarist Scott Ligon, bassist Casey McDonough, and drummer John Perrin join Adams – have a talent for improvisation (the definitive Q guideline), winding their way through a songbook that bounces from Dickens’ “Don’t Talk About My Music” to Pérez Prado’s “The Peanut Vendor” to Sun Ra’s “Love In Outer Space” to their own “Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard” to South Pacific‘s “Happy Talk.” Those are but a few of the tunes that have shown up at recent Q shows. Adams’ forte is using a shrewd brand of whimsy to determine which of the eight trillion songs he’s absorbed through the years might be chosen to suit the needs of the moment. They’ve just dropped Turn On, Tune In (Omnivore), a live collection/DVD from a SiriusXM date and WFMU Monty Hall gig that moves from an early Beatles obscurity to their own, crazed “That’s Neat, That’s Nice.” (Omnivore is the label that reissued the band’s must-have All Hopped Up last fall.) When the group takes the stage, the cheer, esprit and ingenuity mentioned above will be front and center. “A day we play is a holy day,” Adams recently told the Washington Post. One thing’s certain. The swing that’s long powered rock ‘n’ roll will be at the music’s heart, and that heart will be beating strong.

Murmrr Theater

Omnivore Records


Upcoming Shows

Sept. 25  BOSTON, MA City Winery
Sept. 26  BROOKLYN, NY  Murmurr
Sept. 27 MARLBORO, NY  The Falcon
Sept. 29  PIERMONT, NY  Turning Point

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