The Smithereens at B.B. King Blues Club (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)
The Smithereens unleashed their debut album, “Especially for You,” on the world 30 years ago, and the band played it — and much more at B.B. King Blues Club in Manhattan on Saturday night.
The Times Square feels like an odd place to see the band, which formed in Carteret, New Jersey, in 1980. The band seems far more at home in the grungy basement music room of New Brunswick’s Court Tavern. But B.B. King was the place the band booked — it’s become the band’s Manhattan go-to for a number of January shows — so there I went.
The show was superb, despite the questionable venue: great performances, great sound.
Yes, singer Pat DiNizio has been through some tough times and isn’t in the best physical shape. He’s unable to play guitar because of recent Tommy John surgery as well as other procedures to correct carpal tunnel problems.
But the man can still sing. His voice, while a little less flexible than it was 30 years ago, still has that distinctive quality that instantly identifies a Smithereens song, and remains superbly expressive.
Without DiNizio’s guitar, the band brought in keyboard player Andy Burton of John Mayer’s band to fill out the sound — keys are a surprisingly nice addition, actually. And guitarist Jim Babjak worked harder than ever to make up for the lack of a second guitar, with a rock-solid beat established by Dennis Diken, the world’s hardest-working drummer and bassist Severo “The Thrilla” Jornacion.
See more photos and info on upcoming shows after the jump.
Tammy Faye Starlite channels Marianne Faithfull at Joe’s Pub on May 13, 2014. (Photo © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)
Who is Tammy Faye Starlite, really?
I’m sure I don’t know — aside from the fact that she’s also known as Tammy Lang.
While I’ve seen her out and about and out of character in public, I’ve never really interacted her when she’s not playing a role.
She’s a talented singer — and a very good judge of musical talent, based on the people she gets to play in her various bands, especially drummers, who’ve included Pete Thomas, Ron Metz, and Dennis Diken — who seems to have chosen a very challenging career path. Continue reading
Posted in Music, Pop and Rock, Recordings, Review
Tagged Broken English, Craig Hoek, David Dunton, Dennis Diken, Jared Michael Nickerson, Joe's Pub, Keith Hartel, Kevin Salem, Kevin Yatarola, Marianne Faithfull, Pete Thomas, Ron Metz, Tammy Faye Starlite, Tammy Lang
Jim Babjak, Severo "The Thrilla" Jornacion and Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens rock B.B. King's. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)
Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been preoccupied with paying the bills and going to shows in the first weeks of this year. As a result, we’re way behind in posting.
Sid Bernstein introduces The Smithereens at B.B. King's.
The Smithereens played their annual B.B. King’s show last month. It was a powerful set, the first half of which was a beautiful rendition of the hard-rocking band’s third official album, 1989’s 11. They opened the show with some early footage of the band performing and an introduction by Sid Bernstein, who brought the Beatles to Shea Stadium and who’s been a huge supporter of the Smithereens.
The band also played some of its superb cover of The Who’s Tommy, in anticipation of its participation in the March 2 Carnegie Hall tribute to The Who, in which The Smithereens have been invited to participate.
Dennis Diken keeps the beat.
Yes, this really is Pat DiNizio in the early days of The Smithereens.
The Smithereens have a great time.