The Radio Kings at Sally O'Brien's in Somerville,MA
October 27, 2009
There are two things you can be assured of when The Radio Kings hit the bandstand. They’ll surprise you with the breadth of their catalogue and they will play music that begs you to get up and dance.
Last Tuesday’s gig at Sally O’Brien’s was a case in point. Brian Templeton and Company - Mike Dinallo/guitar, Andy Plaisted/drums, Dean Cassel/bass and Templeton wielding guitar and mouth harp, got into a first set groove that veered from swing to blues and ballads.
I’ve known The Radio Kings as a killer blues band that covers Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Slim Harpo and adds their own originals. Tonight they went country, with grit and finesse. When they play a song by Luke the Drifter, a pen name Hank Williams used early in his career, you know they're inquisitive, adventurous, and willing to stray from the well trodden path.
Perhaps incongruous to country-averse listeners or listeners of highly commercial playlists on country radio stations, this genre is a rich source of dance music. The handful of dancers tonight polished their moves in country swing, west coast swing, two step, and slow hold-her-tight ballads.
Templeton can croon and growl then pick up his harmonica and stake out the boundaries of the song. Dinallo, innovative and playful, takes up where Templeton leaves off. Veterans Plaisted and Cassel keep the train on the tracks with steady drum and bass beats.
The Radio Kings are right at home in Sally O’Brien’s in Somerville and Toad in Cambridge, two of the best funky neighborhood bars in the area. The regulars respect the music, and the great beer and ale on tap in both places is as rich and varied as the music performed there.
First set partial list:
“Hello Trouble” - Hank Williams
“Lovesick Blues” - Hank Williams
“Six More Miles” - Luke the Drifter, (early Hank Williams pen name)
“The Shelf “(Hard To Love Somebody When You Can’t Love Yourself} - Brian Templeton
“Run With The Blues” - Dave Clarke
“Can’t Go On Without You”- Fats Domino
“Nervous Breakdown” - Eddie Cochran