I headed over to Midway Cafe a couple weekends back to catch yet another Hassle show.
First on stage were locals GONDOLIERS, a name I will never forget because behind them their name is lit up on a giant sign as they play. Also their bassist made DELICIOUS frosted cookies! Gimmicks aside these guys are a great rock band. They must practice a lot, because the vocalist and the bassist kept doing this back to back rock and roll superstar type of stage stance. Great energy , really driving.
After Gondoliers finished, a lone man with an accordion came on stage. At first he struggled against incessant bar talk, but by the end of his first song New York’s CORN MO had won over the attention of the whole place. With a drum stick somehow attached to his shoe, he kept the time with his stomping foot. With each song he sowed a vivid quilt of attitude in my mind, as each beautifully arranged piece was accompanied by a prelude about a humorous, often bizarre situation (try high school kids peeing on each other, or aunts whispering into a sleeping roommate’s ear at the nursing home). The performance picked up ten-fold when he took a seat at the piano.
The longrunning local group MAJOR STARS were up next. This formidable 6-piece took a powered start into their full on rock set. Powerful lines by 3 guitarist (one of which was doing some WILD stage moves) complemented the female vocalist beautifully. Unfortunately their bassist did not make cookies – they need to hang out with the Gondoliers more.
X___X was the talk of the crowd that night. Comprised of prominent members of the 70’s Cleveland punk scene, these guys defiantly brought the old school, no bullshit style. They’ve been around for a while but they still harness an incredible amount of hardcore energy (if you couldn’t tell by the power saw they brought onstage with them). And they had a good sense of humor too – they had me act the part of photographer during a part in which they all struck dramatic stage poses (with additional help from Kenne Highland of The Gizmos). My favorite part: the lead singer rocking a theremin.
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