So Etouffe and I recently saw a show at an “intimate” setting that featured 3 acts that should be selling out hockey arenas in the States, Canada and Finland. Shouldn’t more than 100 people see Matthew Sweet backed up by Velvet Crush with Tommy Keene opening? Are earworms not contagious. I saw that movie with Matt Damon and Kate Winslet where everyone was catching monkey pox and dying. Why not earworm. Note to self: call Hollywood.

Anyway, Matthew Sweet absolutely blew the house away with a set that redefined the meaning of power pop. His version of “Evangeline” was the loudest, poppiest, bestest version and testament to religious girls ever. He was generous with spreading out the joy from most of his records including a few from “Altered Beast.” Why this man isn’t in that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Flo and Eddie I’ll never know. Why he never comes out to mingle with the fans and pose for pictures to help move merch, well, I’m guessing he doesn’t need the money nor the fans. He’s big…in Japan.

FotoFlexer_TommyKeeneTommy Keene also laid out a beautiful acoustic set. This is a guy who once had a 4-star review in Rolling Stone when it mattered (mid 80s), and who has produced numerous critically acclaimed, some on this very website. He picked up an electric for a few songs, and was also accompanied by the great Paul Chastain on vocals and bass.

I spoke with Tommy before, during and after the show while Etouffe struggled to take a quality photo. Our interview, as I recall with a few Knob Creeks in me, went like this:

Me: Tommy, great show.
TK: Thanks.
Me: Why didn’t you play “Warren in the 60s?”
TK: Well, it’s a difficult tuning and I didn’t have a capo.
Me: You couldn’t tune your guitar?
TK: Well, I could but it’s just for one song.
Me: Yeah, but it’s a great song.
TK: I didn’t have a capo.
Me: And Sweet didn’t? The Velvet Crush didn’t? Come on, man.
TK: Is your friend going to take this photo or not?
Me: Etouffe! Use your camera.
TK: This feels like we’re getting engaged.

FotoFlexer_MissPAThank goodness Pennsylvania now allows men to marry. To prove it, here I am with my “date”, Miss Pennsylvania. She answered my casting call for “Miss Congeniality 3: Search for Spocks!”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how great Velvet Crush are. Ric Menck, whom we’ve featured in the past, plays drums like John “Stumpy” Pepys. Geeky look, great drummer. He does everything except spontaneously combust. And Paul Chastain plays bass and sings like a man who knows his McCartney. If you can’t run out and buy all of their records, at least start with “Teenage Symphonies to God.” Each track is certifiable gold. Here’s a performance video. Enjoy!