‘Lonesome’ George Thorogood Does Not ‘Drink Alone’! Montreal Concert Review

It took all of three minutes for George Thorogood and his Destroyers to pull Montreal out of the winter doldrums …

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Just when you thought Rock n Roll was dead, along comes ‘Lonesome George’ to levitate dormant goosebumps into the stratosphere. Hair-raising kind of stuff which makes the omni-present argument that ‘music ain’t what it used to be ‘ seem righteous and justified.

The tune ‘Rock Party’ got the party going and there was no stopping the influx of beer at Metropolis. After all, isn’t that the demographic Thorogood attracts?

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George’s brand of hellfire Rock n Roll ain’t rocket science. Three chords do not make Beethoven calibre pieces. Yet to his fans, bikers and testosterone – filled males; George Thorogood is Beethoven. In the world of ‘chicken wire shielding the stage’ venues – there is no God bigger than Thorogood. There is no sound bigger than George’s guitar. There is no sound larger than The Destroyers.

Take hard work. Combine it with attitude. Add primal guitar sounds and voila! Lessons for McCartney’s kids on how to put on a ‘Rock Show at The Hollywood Bowl.’

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The alcohol was flowing at Metropolis on Saturday evening and the waiters and waitresses got richer by each strum of the guitar. ‘The Fixer’ allowed Thorogood to introduce his drawl. That distinctive voice owned solely by George. That niche of owning every vocal chord that ever downed fifty shots of Jack Daniels in one evening. One glance around proved, the punters were of that breed and the audience lapped it up faster than a thirsty kitten rescued from a sack at the bottom of a lake.

Following an ample cover of The Strangeloves ‘ Night Time’ – it was that time. The terrible trio. A threesome fit for all …

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Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) were ready. Their engines out of the garage and primed for a higher gear.

‘I Drink Alone’ – Lonesome George’s lyrically proven self character reference combined with his Chuck Berry-inspired guitar riffs, initiating the second wave of partying. Heat from the stage, heat from the temperature and heat from the capacity crowd. A recipe to be welcomed and a menu to be cooled off with …

‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer ….’ 

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John Lee Hooker’s classic tale of the everyman told brilliantly by The Destroyers. The ultimate everymen. That menacing backline sounding ‘like nobody else’ and nobody was forced ‘out the door’. Everyone was acting funny and George was funny too …

Rarely does a song written by an artist as respected as Hooker become a signature tune by someone else. Paul Anka with Sinatra and Hooker with Thorogood. The energy transpiring as the sing-a-long to every word transcended the evening to ‘ an evening”.

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The sixty-six year old Thorogood has a job. At his age is a haircut necessary? 

‘Get a Haircut’ completed the trilogy of Blues, Slide guitar and Rock. Once more, a three chord anthem with an autobiographical nature aimed at everyman. Grabbing the crowd by the scruff of the neck. Dragging lyrics around Metropolis like ‘a flea-bit peanut monkey’ and accumulating with Thorogood’s ( and the crowd’s)  ‘Get a Real Job’. One liners are George’s thing. Posing for the press and fans – his specialty. There is a trick to longevity in music. Thorogood – a master magician.

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‘Gear Jammer’ became ‘Move it On Over’. Thorogood’s other signature song and a cover. Hank Williams would be proud. The timeless record (when radio played good tunes) as poignant today as in 1978. If there is one thing about George, he did not pull a Zeppelin and steal tunes. Given the reaction all these years later, Thorogood made a pact and stuck with it.

Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Tail Dragger’ was proof. Bluesy, twangy and raw. Just like the Whiskeys swaying in the air.  Drunkenness awaiting proof that George is …

‘Bad to the Bone’ ! 

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The Sax seems to get lost in the wind …

‘Bad to the Bone’ – Thorogood’s original and most commercially successful song is important because of the Sax. Buddy Leach made sure that was the case. Saturday night. Reminiscent of the Sax in INXS’s ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, Leach’s spacing and timing impeccable to the feeling provided by ‘Bad to the Bone’.

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Following a loud and obnoxious ovation – Lonesome George returned for an encore. ‘Madison Blues’ was more of a filler to say goodbye and pose for some photos. A valiant and commendable gesture by a man filled with bows, salutes and waves. Then – as quick as it started, the music ended. An evening well spent for those whose hangovers will allow them to remember.

In other words, no one ….

Visit George Here !

Visit James St Laurent Photography Here !

     

Visit The Montreal International Jazz Festival Here 

 

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