Photo © 1998 Tom Asp
All rights reserved
I have been a fan of Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers for a few years now and have a few of their CDs. I heard from a good friend at work just how good they are live and I got the same idea from the various reviews I've read in the Blues Magazines.
Manny's Car Wash is closing in July. I hadn't been there in quite a while and when I saw that Rod Piazza was to be there I could hardly contain myself. Finally I'd get to see them in person. It's one thing to see them at a festival I'm told but in the intimate atmosphere of Manny's is quite another. The place in very small. The stage is postage stamp size and naturally the place was packed. Standing Room Only. Anybody who's been there knows just what I mean.
The show started at 10 PM. It started with an instrumental which was killer from the start. Each member took a turn then Rod went into some songs from the new CD "Here & Now." This guy can play the harp. The sound was incredible. He took a small break after a few new songs and left Honey alone with the drummer Steve Mugalian to do the "Hang Ten Boogie." Honey is just amazing on the keyboard. I heard that she even plays with her toes! I tried to follow her finger work on the keyboard. It looked as if she was just skimming the keys. Naturally, she wasn't.
Towards the end, she was really pounding them. She had the place screaming!
The band then went into overdrive and never let up. I thought of Casey Jones at the throttle of #99, full steam ahead. As Chuck Berry once said, "Listening to the rhythm that the drivers made." The guitarist Rick Holmstrom was stunning. He did a song about it being his lucky day and launched into a blistering solo that brought the house down. His lucky day? Maybe, but definitely ours too.
Each member got a chance to stretch out and that's when I really noticed just how tight this band is. Outside of Wyman & Watts, this is the tightest rhythm section I've ever seen. Although Honey was partially blocking my view, I noticed how effortlessly the drummer was laying down the beat. Rock steady, you couldn't even see his hands moving except to occasionally take a swing at the cymbal. Another thing I marveled at was each member was in a suit jacket and Honey was in a leather jacket and it appeared that they weren't breaking a sweat. Let me tell you, this band
kicked some serious ass last night. I don't know how they sustain this level of performing every night but bless their souls for doing it.
They finished off the set with Rod blowing his brains out on Little Bitty Pretty One/Rocking Robin that had us on our knees.
To those out there who have never seen them, the next time they come to your area, by all means, GO! The next time they come to the Apple I will go again and again. I hope they do well at this Year's W.C Handy Awards. They certainly deserve any and all accolades. By the way, Honey didn't play with her toes last night, she really didn't have too, she brought the place down with her 10 little fingers!
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ted Pappacena, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.