“I was expecting a float. I feel like I want a float,” joked singer Charlene McPherson of Spanking Charlene during the New York City garage-soul band’s show at Hot Shots in Glens Falls recently.
The South Street sports-dive bar (where well drinks are $4.50; ain’t complaining) provided a homecoming of sorts for Spanking Charlene bass player Margaret LaBombard, a native of Queensbury, whose friends and family populated the bar.
The hometown crowd got a full three-set treatment, with Spanking Charlene playing into the early hours of the morning, wisely hitting originals early and saving the well-chosen covers for the end (including Sly Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” and Scandal’s “Goodbye to You”).
By then, the bar had filled with patrons dancing between sets to VJs filling the bar’s multitude of video screens with “Sexy and I Know It” party jams.
But during their first set, in particular, Spanking Charlene demonstrated why they won an arduous, year-long “Best Unsigned Band in America” contest hosted by E Street guitarist and garage-rock guru Little Steven Van Zandt.
McPherson, also a native of upstate New York, was all hard-edged vocal power and prickly punk rock attitude, while the band — LaBombard, drummer Eric Seftel and guitarists Mo Goldner and Eric “Roscoe” Ambel — were one solid, tight-fisted rock and roll unit.
During the band’s first set, they hit tunes from an upcoming album, “Where Are the Freaks?” and from their first record, “Dismissed with a Kiss,” including the bratty-catty “I Hate Girls” and the Goldner-sung, strung-out “Fidgety.”
“Go Roscoe,” egged on McPherson as Ambel — the record producer and Lakeside Lounge bar owner — soloed during punk rave-up “Sugar Love,” while a woman in a black cat suit and heels alone on the dance floor shimmied a weird kind of Glens Falls limbo.
Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
SPANKING CHARLENE SET LIST (FIRST SET)
When I’m Skinny
I Just Want to Have Something to Do (Ramones)
Rev It Up
I Hate Girls
Tie Me Up
Dismissed with a Kiss
Fortunate Son (Credence Clearwater Revival)
Booze and Pills
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road (Beatles)