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  • The Better Half -12.17

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    [ The Go-Luckys! ]
    [ Varnaline ]


    TT the Bear's Place - Cambridge, MA - Friday, August 10, 2001

    We got to the show late and missed The Headset. Walked in about halfway through Varnaline's set, I reckon. The drums were very slow, and there was clear, singing guitar feedback. Slow, feedback, sweet, picked guitar chords; these were the songs I liked the best. Their last song was this lame blues-jam sort of song with fiery slide guitar and a repetitive bluesy bass line that didn't seem to try too hard.

    The Go-Luckys! set up quick- two guitar amps, one bass amp, the ubiquitous four-piece drum kit. 3 band members, two young guys who looked exactly alike (Fabrizio Steinbach on guitar and bass, and twin brother and Flavio on drums) and one Barbara Manning (playing guitar and bass and singing). At first there were some guitar problems with pedals, which took the power out of the instrumental opener. The second song was a kind of old-school punk Ramones-y feeling thing, with power chords. It was kind of just okay. Things got quickly much better, when we moved towards the back of the room to be able to hear the vocals better, and the songs got smarter and more on the pop side. I don't know too much of Barbara Manning's stuff, but I did recognize some SF Seals songs: the one about crying, the one about poison, and the one about Doc Ellis. There were some annoying moments in the show. During the one about drinking poison, Fabrizio was doing some backup vocals, but nothing was coming out of the PA. I look back at the soundman, and he's just sitting there, kind of staring off into space. What an incompetant jerk. Also, the Go-Luckys! had a guy playing saxophone on some songs. He played mostly whole notes, which would've been nice if he wasn't so horribly out of tune. He also solo'd around a bit, and when he ran out of ideas, he'd just trill between two notes. Yeah, he pretty much sucked. He was drinking a hard lemonade, which probably didn't help his playing much, but likely made his playing sound better to himself. Some guys from the Boston band Abunai! (another band with an exclamation point in their name) came up and sang and played guitar on the song about Doc Ellis. The guitar guy was shredding! The vocal levels were really off; I blame the soundguy. The performance was nice, though. One of the Abunai! guys looks straight out of the 70's. Also, there was a song where the merch table girl played a Casio keyboard into a microphone. Barbara Manning was very friendly and bouncy, making silly corny jokes and getting very excited when she recognized friends in the audience. The whole band looked like they were having a good time. I really liked Ms. Manning's guitar playing; she played a beautiful shiny silver Gretsch guitar that sounded great. They ended at 1am on the dot, actually 1:55am since TT the Bear's clocks are set ahead. Their last song was this epic about an arsonist, which had a lot of changes. It was twisty and good. She has a wonderful voice. Overall, it was a great show!

    Written By: Ernie K.