Scissormen, Ten Foot Polecats and Molly Gene

at The Elevens (Northampton, MA)

By Bobby Roast Beef
June 2012

I am hesitant to call this entry a “review”, since I am the promoter of the show. However, the amount of talent on the stage that night was something I have been wishing I could bring into Northampton for a few years now, and I feel it deserves a solid reviewing. If it serves as nothing more than a record of an amazing night of music for my own memoirs, then that is just fine with me.

This whole event was a little fund-raising booster party of sorts for the upcoming annual Blues for the Cure event. Blues for the Cure is an annual benefit established in 2010 by local musician David La Valley to help raise awareness and funds to support The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias.

We started the night off with a return from Handsome Wife. The trio, fronted by the soulful styling of Gracie Curran – played a short but very sweet set to get the deep blues ball rolling. This set the tone for the night as it was clearly going to be a raucous evening and we were in for something very special. With that in mind it was obvious much whiskey would be consumed by the crowd.

Molly Gene, “The One Whoaman Band”, took the stage next. Here’s the thing with Molly – her energy and intensity is not really comparable to any other group – at all. She plays with such an honest grittiness that you can sense in your gut as she strums, picks, slides and bashes away on her foot drums. The visual of this girl on stage holding a guitar surrounded by a few amps, a harmonica hanging from her neck and her feet abusing this wooden contraption on the floor, is only half of the spectacle. The rest of it is clearly her voice. I was floored by her performance and I am sure that I was not alone in feeling that.

Up next was Ten Foot Polecats. This was the second time the Polecats have been to Northampton in a little over a year and I have been looking forward to having them back since that last show. I make no bones about these guys being on my short list of favorite bands ever! I have seen them a number of times and they always put on an amazing show. I owe my discovery of muddy roots and deep blues music solely to the Polecats.

They did play a good amount of new material, which I am looking forward to hearing in their upcoming release. I have already made the song “Moonshine and Mud” my own personal anthem for the summer. There was a point during their set when I noticed a young woman wearing some type of a wacky crown – I realized that there was a bachelorette party in the room. I bring this up for a reason – I went over to greet them and they told me that they were having drinks at the bar next door. Apparently they had heard the Polecats tearing it up on stage and were drawn to come over to the Elevens because “the music was so much better.” How much better of an endorsement can you get than that? Jay, Jim and Chad wished the blushing Bride the best with a gem from the back catalog – she was clearly touched by the sentiment of it all.

The cap of the set and most certainly a nice tease of things to come, was when the boys brought Molly Gene back up for a couple tunes. The last one was called “Turkey Snappin’ Mama” (they had Matt Snow of Scissormen jump behind the kit on this). It had the whole room worked up in a pretty good frenzy – and drove the point home that Molly obviously comes from a line of pretty badass women!

Scissormen took the stage next and to put it in a nutshell – they delivered and delivered big! This duo knocks audiences over in their seats everywhere they travel. They have your attention the entire time they are on stage. Masters of sonic dynamics is putting it lightly here. When they want to drive you from one extreme to the other – it happens flawlessly. Even reaching the audience in a literal sense by walking through the room and involving their surroundings as part of the show. frontman Ted Drozdowski is an incredibly respected guitar player, writer, showman, blues historian etc. – one thing I hadn’t realized about him was his ability to guide the crowd telling stories about songs and people he’s met and blues pioneers. One I especially enjoyed was about him writing a song inspired by Mississippi Fred McDowell called “Mattie Sweet Mattie.” I also had the good fortune to have a phone conversation with Ted back in February. We had talked about a number of things and during the discussion Ted referred to blues music being “all about honesty.” I agreed completely with him but it didn’t hit me exactly how much he meant it until after I picked up the newest CD at the show. Scissormen’s latest release is called Big Shoes: Walking and Talking The Blues – the title track strikes a huge chord with me after having that chat with Ted. Let me tell you – he is the real deal folks. The live show is the proof!

What came up next in the set was short but amazing. Ted Drozdowski and Matt Snow were wrapping up their set. For the last song they brought up Jim Chilson, Jay Scheffler, Chad Rousseau, Molly Gene and Gracie Curran for one final song. I will not go into the details of this magic moment – words cannot actually do it justice. You really have got to hear it for yourself – but you can! I recorded it and will be posting it to soundcloud ASAP! My only obstacle is my busted PC! I will edit this with a link and will post another blog mentioning it as soon as it gets uploaded.

The show was a huge night of great underground blues/roots music! Dynamite Johnny played us out for the night with their unique take on some rocked up blues tunes.

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