Old school rock’n'roll is alive and well in 2015, and Friday night at Doc Watson’s was proof of concept. Opening act Atley Moon & the Say Something Sound Machine is an old-fashioned soul revue turned up to 11, sounding something like Motown’s Funk Brothers playing through the Sex Pistols’ amps. With lyrics variously encouraging the listener to “play that record just a little bit louder” and “pour up another pitcher”, even their originals sound like party music from a bygone era. As they came to the close of their planned set, including an excellent Prince cover, management brought it to their attention that Midnight Mosaic was running late, appending a request that they keep on rocking. Putting their experience as a bar and wedding band to good use, they jammed the last planned song or two out and then piled on additional originals and covers from their extensive repertoire, getting even the most staid audience members toe-tapping at the very least. They’ll be kicking off a summer down the shore on May 2nd at Dog Tooth in Wildwood.
When they finally arrived from New Jersey, Midnight Mosaic were not to be outdone, kicking their somewhat abbreviated set off with a roaring cover of The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running” before launching into their own distinct blend of rock and soul. Unlike my previous time seeing them in their native state, I managed to keep track of all the musicians. A.J. provides a solid foundation on drums that is only enhanced by Jon Skylark’s bass, Harrisyn Hart’s keys, and Ant’s guitars, capped off with Dee’s female backing vocals. Frontman A.T. Hunte is an unstoppable whirlwind of energy, seemingly everywhere at once, finishing the show out on the floor with the crowd. Though their sound was slightly more modern than Atley Moon’s, their roots were firmly planted in the same classic material. You can hear it live on April 10th at Jax Garage or April 11th at Connie’s Ric Rac.
Headlining act Stolen Rhodes puts that classic material right in their name; they truly sound like they grabbed equipment out of the studios of the seventies’ greats. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Pillion and bassist/vocalist Dan Haase have the luscious locks to match their vintage sound, while guitarist/vocalist Kevin Cunningham and drummer Eric Skye satisfy themselves with the band’s uniformly working-class throwback outfits. That attention to detail is appreciated by their fanbase, which skews toward those that grew up on the sounds and looks they so effectively imitate, with quite a few in the audience having caught them recently on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man Cruise. They’ve successfully continued on the tradition, even debuting a new track called “Nowhere Fast” at the show. With Cunningham ripping solos behind his head and crystal-clear harmonies floating through the crowd, it’s clear that this is a band with the talent to back up their hero worship, and the hard work and dedication to pull it off. You can see for yourself on April 4th at Paul’s Tavern, April 10th at Dogfish Head, April 11th at Fran’s Pub, April 24th at Logan House, and April 25th at Tellus360.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC