Crooked Beat: A Tribute to Joe Strummer/The Clash with OK Lucky, AlUN Piggins, Adrian Miller, Armed and Hammered and more, at the Horseshoe Tavern, February 7. Tickets: $6. Attendance: 360. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The Horseshoe was bloody well packed to the gills for the Joe Strummer/Clash tribute Friday night, full of people on terribly pressing missions. Out of my way! Must get to back bar to stop destruction of Earth! Move it!
Among the way-cool regular rock- 'n'-roll-show crowd were pockets of folks who obviously don't get out much who'd come out to relive the glory days of the Clash and their own lost punk rock days and to say goodbye to a legend in a wave of nostalgia.
Running into a friend I'd never before seen in a bar, it took me a minute to figure out what was different about her. Haircut? New dress? Then I got it. She wasn't towing a four-year-old and a bag of toy trucks.
"This is such a nostalgia trip for me!" she said before launching into reminiscences of her blue mohawk.
That's what this show was about. Regression went a step further when an enthusiastic fan kept jumping onstage and demanding that everyone raise a glass and drink their beer in one chug. This made the whole thing feel a bit like a high school kegger.
Thankfully, organizers had instituted a no-repeats rule, so we weren't subjected to seven versions of Spanish Bombs. Each outfit got up, played two songs, got off and was followed promptly by the next.
Much of the Clash repertoire was covered. OK Lucky did Daddy Was A Bank Robber, Alun Piggins performed Stay Free, Adrian Miller checked in with Pressure Drop, G-Men played Tommy Gun and Police On My Back.
There was some reggae, but turning Clash tunes into reggae isn't exactly far-fetched. And Armed and Hammered did a scary biker version of London Calling with stand-up bass that was nice. The rest, though, was very straight-ahead, with little if any reinvention. It would have been fun to see some really different interpretations, like, say, an electroclash version of Rock The Casbah or a Rudie Can't Fail rap, but that wasn't the point.