It’s always a moment to rejoice when twenty-something hipsters in Albany wean themselves away from the virtual world of a cell phone and jump out onto a dance floor to enjoy a real rock and roll band.
Thank God for Rocky Velvet, who reunited on Friday for a night of mayhem at the refurbished, very cool-looking Pauly’s Hotel in Albany.
Opening with the rambunctious Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm classic “You’ve Got to Lose,” Rocky Velvet made it clear that this reunion was not about nostalgia, it was about realigning some spines. The tunes flowed quicker than beer taps on pay day. “When the sun goes down, down, down/ You’ve got to move around!,” exhorted Ian Carlton to a group of revelers crowding the bandstand. Guitarist extraordinaire Graham Tichy peeled out and sang a fine vocal on Chuck Berry’s “30 Days.”
Inspired by the combo of Jeff Michael on drums and guest bassist Toddy Bradley (of the Hi- Risers), Carlton delivered “Could She Kiss” and “I Ain’t Asking Much of You” with gusto. “King Kong,” one of the standout tracks from their sole album “It Came From Cropseyville!, drove the crowd bananas, but it was only a warmup to “Rock Baby Rock,” which featured wild solos by Tichy that would’ve left Jeff Beck and Sonny Burgess slack-jawed. “If You’re Looking for Trouble,” “Just Because” and “King Creole” had Carlton channeling some Presley swagger while the band locked into the riffs like a lion into a wildebeest.
“Cheers to all my friends!” announced Carlton in Mickey Rourke-in-“Barfly” fashion, before the band launched into an irresistible “I’m in Love With My Baby,” complete with dance instructions and rabid call-and-response turnarounds. “16 Chicks” warmed all corners of the venue, and Tichy’s fine take on “Run Rudolph Run” gave notice to the spirited folks in the crowd that they should put some vintage rock and roll in someone’s stocking later this month.
And that was just the first set…
Review by Fred Rudofsky