“Son of B****,” I (Layton) say to myself as my elder brother Art comes back to the table with a round of shots for our quartet. I hate Vegas bombs. They’re too big to be taken as a shot and I always promise myself not to get too messed up amongst the abundance of fans dancing the dance of midnight fornication to Styx “Come Sail Away.” Meanwhile, my most whimsical musician friend, who for some reason always stands with his ear right up against the PA speaker to hear something no one else can: next-day tinnitus, returns to the table to further my introduction into the 27 club as the clock strikes midnight; it’s my 27th birthday celebration.
How fitting it would be to hear Superjam playing the Doors and Jim Morrison screaming, “Break on through to the other side!” Instead, me and my half-drunk constituents set sail for the dance floor to soak in the next parody of Boston. I always loved the opening cascade of notes the organ plays in the introduction to “Foreplay/Longtime.” One of the reasons everyone should go see Superjam is to witness the versatility their instrumentalists give to the band: the singer can blow on the saxophone, giving us his best Clarence impression, and sing the range of Brad Delp’s voice; the bass player hangs his hair and his instrument close to the floor while gyrating to the pules of the music; the drummer locks down the tempo without doing anything too flashy, no sticks flying, or flashy, meaningless fills mucking up the rearranged parodies, just a monastic devotion to keeping time. I think to myself, “Why can’t all drummers play this way?” Of course, where would this critique be without the approbation every guitarist seems to both need and get from the fans at the end of each show… I’ll give it to him. From what I’ve heard out of the Marshall stacks tonight, the best cover band in St. Louis would be lucky to have him.
One final reason you should go see Superjam is this: you see, I’d already seen the group a dozen times at the “Bottle Neck Blues Bar” and various other nightclubs in the St. Louis area. Therefore, I know their set lists and, well, they’re the only band I’ve ever heard play what is now one of my favorite Who songs entitled “Eminent Front.” Not only did the lead singer take my request to play it again, he played it last in their rotation of rock n’ roll hullabaloo and gave me a shout out saying, “Happy Birthday Joe. Welcome to the 27 club.” For some, a 27th birthday party with a small group of friends at Brewskeez Sports Bar in O’Fallon, Missouri, may seem unsatisfactory. For me, a night of male camaraderie, foolish dancing, and rock n’roll easily satisfies my appetite for jubilation. Time to call it a night. Like this first blog entry, I hope the weekend anecdotes of music-fueled Tom Foolery only get better hereafter.