started a joke: Coby Dick of Papa Roach.
PHOTO: Joe Putrock
Away With Murder
Roach, It Dies Today
Lights, March 4
my li-fe in to piecesthhh, thiiiisthhh isthhhh my lassthhh
resort,” sings the man in the fake moustache as he stumbles
around the stage, sloshing his scotch while giving us his
slurred rendition of Papa Roach’s hit “Last Resort.” I am
smiling wide as the douche bag behind me turns red; his friends
laugh while trying to make him realize it is not worth defending
P. Roach’s honor by fighting a fake Robert Goulet.
guys down with P. Roach?” asks Fake Goulet.
the fuck is that? Someone should kick his ass!” declares the
douche bag at the bar. He wasn’t listening when the guy on
stage introduced himself as Robert Goulet, or perhaps he doesn’t
know who Robert Goulet is, or understand that the man on stage
is not actually Robert Goulet, but more likely, a member of
It Dies Today (a band whose otherwise decent opening set was
compromised by Papa Roach’s crew, who periodically removed
pieces of the drummer’s kit and otherwise marred their performance
in last-night-of-the-tour antics.)
But either way, this guy just won’t shut up about rushing
the stage. And here I am, having a blast, but I’m starting
to worry that maybe—just maybe—this guy will manage to ruin
it for me and the rest of the packed house here tonight.
The lights dim and P. Roach appear. Coby, the lead singer,
starts bouncing around the stage like he’s still on tour with
Fred Durst. And it sounds like someone has turned on the soundtrack
to the latest Vin Diesel movie.
Then the singing starts. “Listen up, turn it up and rock it
out, party on/I wanna hear you scream and shout/This is real,
as real as it gets/I came to get down to get some fucking
respect/Taking it back to hardcore level.” I am holding myself,
laughing. And then the chorus hits: “I’ll never give in, I
just wanna be, wanna be loved.” And I start feeling just a
bit guilty, like I’m the only one who gets the joke. And then
they launch into “Getting Away With Murder,” and I realize
perhaps the band have a good hold on how lucky they are to
still have a career. Perhaps, though, the joke is on me. I
notice everyone around me is smiling and having a good time.
Then I get sad; the joke is getting progressively less funny.
And I realize above all, I want the Goulet impersonator to
Openers It Dies Today, from Buffalo, fought a valiant battle
against Papa Roach’s road crew and their pranks. Despite the
annoyance, they managed to deliver a surprisingly catchy dish
of radio-friendly metal-core. The band spent their set displaying
the duality of their metal base and their flirtation with
Taj Mahal Trio
Savings Bank Music Hall, March 3
Taj Mahal took to the Troy Music Hall stage (in a house nearly
filled to capacity) to affirm what he’s been doing for more
than 40 years: glorying in the traditions of the blues. These
are American traditions, but they’re a synthesis that reached
us from other continents and still continue to develop.
Taj understood this back in the ’60s when he entered the scene
as a singer- guitarist playing music woven from the rich,
recorded tapestry of the past as well as his own peripatetic
childhood. It’s a familiar journey: folk revivalists were
doing the same, paying homage to an old sound. But Taj, ever
the purists’ scourge, has never been wedded to the old way
of doing things.
Blues,” a signature piece, is the carefree finale to Harry
Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, a hugely
influential six-record set of 1930-era 78s issued in 1952.
The much-performed and -recorded Taj Mahal version—far more
energetic than the original—still conveys the song’s undercurrent
longing for the simpler days of childhood.
Likewise, the traditional “Little Brown Dog,” featured on
a couple of Taj’s children’s albums, dates back well before
recordings. It’s a dream story that’s ever so sweet as Peter,
Paul and Mary’s “Autumn to May,” but in Taj’s hands the dream
has a hushed urgency and the added exoticism of a fast, syncopated
rhythm, driven by the skillful brushwork of drummer Kester
The art of the blues is to overcome, with lyric and texture
and melodic variety, a harmonically restricted form. The blues
fueled this concert, beginning with a throbbing instrumental
and coursing for 90 minutes to Blind Willie Johnson’s “You’re
Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond.”
Other blues artists were saluted: “Checkin’ Up on My Baby,”
by Sonny Boy Williamson, cost Taj a guitar string (unfazed,
he grabbed another instrument), while Little Walter’s “Blues
with a Feeling” showed us Taj’s keyboard artistry.
Some of the original songs have become blues standards. “Going
up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue” is from Taj’s second
album, released nearly 40 years ago, but the song has a timeless,
classic sense of yearning. “When I Feel the Sea Beneath My
Soul” is an instrumental with a catchy, routined pause, while
the “Uh-Huh Blues” begged for audience participation in the
chorus. And it featured some blistering work by Bill Rich
on the five-string bass.
By the time Taj got to “Queen Bee,” another original, he had
at least one audience member dancing in the aisle, which he
Despite an extensive discography, Taj Mahal has been a record-label
gypsy, eventually cut loose from the majors. As he explained
early in the show, he’s not about to change his repertory
to suit what the suits can sell. Concerts like this one are
a way to musical freedom, an “underground railroad,” as he
termed it. It was a triumphant journey for performers and