Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
“We remember the Ramones. We were there,” said frontman Peter Zaremba midway through the Fleshtones’ matinee gig at Bat Shea’s in Troy on Sunday, as the band launched into a buzz-saw homage to their CBGB-via-Queens compatriots: a Sex Pistols-baiting tune called “Remember the Ramones.”
Released as a b-side on a limited edition 7” single last year by Yep Roc Records to commemorate the Fleshtones’ latest album, “Brooklyn Sound Solution,” the song pays tribute to the American punk rock progenitors who formed in 1974 – only two years before the long-running Fleshtones.
“They’re the last great rock and roll band in the world,” said Bat Shea’s owner Art Fredette as he introduced the Fleshtones following classic-rock cover band Fire at Will – a precocious trio of very young men – and Big Frank & the Bargain Bingers, who cultivated a set of up-tempo, fuzzy garage rock gems for the occasion.
Fredette has brought the Fleshtones to play on a number of occasions in Troy, the hometown of drummer Bill Milhizer.
Fresh from a recent tour of Europe, the band started out wild and then never let up, doing their best to maneuver in the jam-packed space while pin-balling around the stage in a whirl of loosely choreographed spins, handclaps and assorted cool rock moves.
“We’re going to draw you all into the wheel of talent and spin it, baby,” Zaremba announced a few times, waving his arms in the air. More often than not, the wheel of talent landed this evening on guitarist Keith Streng, who seemed especially possessed on this night, unceremoniously yanking patrons off their chairs so he could leap onto their table and play from there.
It’s hard to believe a band could have so much energy 36 years after they started. The secret perhaps lies in the band’s rigorous push-up regimen – one adhered to as they finished their main set with Fleshtones classic “Push Up Man.” Lacking space on the floor with fans closing in, Zaremba, Streng and bassist Ken Fox took turns whipping out push-ups on a pair of chairs and on a table strewn with beer bottles and stray liquid.
THE FLESHTONES SET LIST
Whatever It Takes
Feels Good to Feel
One Less Step
You Give Me Nothing to Go On
Comin’ Home, Baby
Day Tripper (the Beatles)
Remember the Ramones
God Damn It
It’s My Pride (the Guess Who)
Push Up Man
Rats in My Kitchen
I’m Not a Sissy
Way Down South
BIG FRANK & THE BARGAIN BINGERS SET LIST
A Certain Girl
I’m Coming Home
Boys on Notice
Just My Imagination
Rocket in My Pocket
Ball & Chain
Click here to see more of Kirsten’s photos from this show.