Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Lookies provide needed refresher course in rock-n-roll!

As the year winds down, it's the right time to spout off about everything that is wrong or right with this world. Well, I was just kidding, but I do want to go on record as saying something profound like "the music business is just that" or maybe some wiseass quip about other hard lessons that I've learned. I really have had it up to here with epk's, one-sheets, that odious term "co-op dollars"(A label paying stores for prime end-cap positioning!) and buzzwords, all of which seem to just blow a lot of smoke. What seems to get lost is the music--as everything gets calculated, cleaned up and shoved in a box. Im glad noone tried to put the Lookies in a box as it would get messy. Their loud, rowdy shows defy easy description, unless you are just in the right mood for some hell-raising rock-n-roll.

It takes a band like the Lookies to cut thru all the crap out there. They will never win points for a clever name (from the kiddie "look-it-up" club for chrissakes!), their flashy style (t-shirts and sunglasses), or forging a new musical direction (they play rock and roll), but they manage, thru sometimes total abandon, to reinvigorate a scene filled with bands who so desperately wanna rock, but have no idea how to do it. The Lookies pre-Thanksgiving show at Harrisburg's best rock club, Smalls, ended with near chaos as the Lookies gave up their intstruments to the guys from Paper Tongue and traded vocal choruses of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" with audience members. Hardly earthshaking, but the ferocity of closing with 3 well worn punk standards(neat neat neat, god save the queen, and dog) and the ensuing melee seemed to be a refreshing reminder of the carthartic power of the electric guitar, and that no matter how much one spends on recording, promotion or management, true nirvana, or rock and roll heaven if you will, is not achieved by calculation, but spontaneous combustion. The ball of fire emanating from the Lookies might have had just a little low budget flash, but it was more of a spark fueled by the spirit of rock and roll.

The rock and roll creds of the Lookies are firmly established as their drummer, the esteemed L. Ron Rummager, aka Jay Spiegel, has toured the world with previous bands, Gumball, Ball, and the Velvet Monkeys, and has recorded with Dinosaur JR and Sonic Youth, as well as appearing on George Brigman's amazing comeback Rags In Skull! Those powerful drums anchor their sound which is sorta heavy 70s rock combined with a basic punk rock sound. With his cohorts Red on guitar and Josh on bass, Rum blasts out a grand stoner and punk rock fusion that cops from both Detroit and NYC and when Red hits the wah-wah, all bets are off! This whirlwind of sound has been captured on vinyl by Zodiac Records of Wyoming who have released a swell purple 45, 300 copies only, of the Lookies "Keep It Rollin" b/w Truckstop Love Child's "Thinking Aint Drinkin". Hats off to big Ron Zodiac for a stellar 45 that has heaps of radioactive sludge from two fine bands!

Kudos are in store too for the Lookies who somehow breathe life into a sound that is both fresh and old at the same time. Gone are the pretensions and the ersatz trappings, replaced by a stripped down pure essence of kicks, a rock n roll juggernaut peeling rubber, haulin ass and not caring who they run over. They are out of control and on fire-- rockin on down the highway that so many fear to tread!

The Lookies will be playing, along with a bunch of other bands at the grand opening of Smalls York Saturday January 26th at 9 pm! Come on out and welcome both Smalls and the Lookies to York!