Mike Gent pays tribute to Lou Reed with the Velvet Underground’s “Cool It Down”…
Review and video by Joel Patterson
The minute Mike Gent took the stage last Friday (November 1) at Valentine’s Music Hall, we the assembled dozens were in Figgsland – a hallowed subdivision right in the heart of Nippertown. The Figgs were and are and shall forever be the epitome of a local band that caught the spirit of their age and rocked it. The Figgs’ songs and Mike’s songs, and the whole oeuvre is about a personal, poeticized, refreshingly honest approach to life – which is not a simple thing, but the basics are, indeed, pretty simple. That’s how songs that end with a repeated, apparently inane phrase can take on a significance way beyond the surface value.
Another Figgs trait is full-bore enthusiasm, the spectacle of what a voice, a guitar and supreme dedication can conjure. Thirty seconds into his first song, Mike’s amp blew. Unfazed if irritated, he plugged into a spare that was sitting onstage, and continued. (The faulty amp was soon repaired by an innocent bystander, in time for his fourth song.) You can see in what he’s doing now the brash teenager, wowing his friends so many yesteryears ago, whipping up a frenzy – the thinking man’s maniac. These guys are the closest thing this culture has to witch doctors or shamen – awakening us to our inner core – the spiritual ambulance crews of our time.
NOTE: Mike Gent returns to Nippertown next month for a couple of holiday homecoming gigs with the Figgs. They’ll play at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany at 8pm on Friday, December 20 with Kitty Little, followed by a stop at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs with the Charlie Watts Riots at 9pm on Saturday, December 21 ($10).