The Radiators, Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale, FL- 11/12
First and foremost, a quick shout out to my dear friends Suzie and Fran from New Orleans, who I lost touch with post-Katrina, but found shaking their stuff at Revolution over the weekend. It was so nice to see both of you, really, and yes Fran, it was the cookies!
Throughout my life, I've been told there are only 2 sure things in life – death and taxes. And as a child and teenager, I actually believed that was true. Until maybe the 10th or 11th time I saw the Radiators, which was back in the mid-eighties. Each show I caught was better than the one before, each and every jam tighter, stronger, and louder the previous jam. And now it's a little more than 20 years since my first Rads show. And they haven't looked back, only forward. And over the past weekend at Club Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale, the Radiators, consisting of lead vocalist/keyboard player Ed Volker, Camile Baudoin and Dave Malone on guitars, Frank Bua on drums, and Reggie Scanlan on bass, proved that there may be 3 sure things in life, the 3rd being that the Rads will never, ever let you down when you catch them live. You can take it to the bank and deposit it folks.- FDIC insured 100% Guaranteed Full-On To The Max Over The Top Creole Funkified Jamming. Ya hear what I'm sayin'?
Friday night the band was as tight as I've ever seen them, period. I say that with such nonchalance, but I was there, as were my friends, guys and gals who I've caught too many Rads shows with to mention here, and we all agreed – the band was on fire – mad! But this review will cover Saturday night, the night Bonerama and all their glistening metal joined forces with The Rads in what turned out to be best jamming I've witnessed all year, which includes stops in Bonnaroo and Vegoose, and yes, even better than Friday night's show. Seriously, I still can't believe what went down.
Revolution has 2 stages, one inside and one outside. The inside stage is more intimate, with better lighting . The outside stage is, well, outside, offering fresh air, cool breezes, and beautiful glimpses of a clear sky. We thought they would be playing inside both nights, but much to our delight, we were wrong. Under the stars it would have to be -oh well. The Talking Heads 'Burning Down The House' started it off, a number I've heard on many occasions. Solid, but nothing to write home about, until I noticed Mark Mullins from Bonerama blowing his trombone like he was trying out for the schoool band – the song took off, and the tone for the entire night had been set. A subdued 'Long Journey Home' followed, and all of sudden, I felt like the set might be going another direction, which after the previous night, would not have surprised me…Again, and I say this with much humility, I was wrong.
'DeNang' and 'Last Getaway' followed back to back, as memories of Jazzfest '93 filled the air. That Tip's 4/30/93 'DeNang' I remember above all others, but on this night, Volker and Baudoin carved out new territory, and as my good friend Jack had said earlier in the evening, and I quote, "Camile is primed to step up to the plate tonight", and he was right…..boy, was he right. His solo in 'Last Getaway' was surreal, and yet Volker left nothing on the table ticklin' the ivories during 'DeNang'. As for Ed Volker, combine his musicianship with his showmanship, and add in killer vocals, and the package is complete – airtight, no holes.
As each song ended, another immediately began, one segueing right into the other – the last notes of 'Getaway' rolled right into 'Junko Partner', and that's when the energy in the audience, and on the stage, seemed to go up a good 2 notches. I don't think anyone was ready for what came next. 'Can't Take It With You (When You're Gone)' followed, with Dave Malone providing outstanding leads and rhythms, Reggie laying down fatty bass tones, and Frankie adding crazy drumbeats to an already overdosed rhythm section. The band was tight, what can I say? The improvisation was getting serious, and you could feel they were setting us up for the 2nd set. 'Lovely You' had the band, including a raging Mr. Mullins, challenging each other through every round, Camile holding his right hand high in the air, directing traffic onstage till it was his turn, then electrifying the crowd with solos only heard on special nights like this one, solos so powerful there are no words I can muster to describe them. First set. Nice.
The crowd was milling about during intermission like crowds will do, and we were just all shaking our heads, wondering aloud if they could take it up another leveland then a few minutes later the entire horn section from Bonerama, along with The Radiators, of course, took the stage, and all bets were off. No less than 5 shiny gold horns, including the T-T-T-Tuba, front and center, coming right at us. 'Make Fire' started it off, and let me say that song never sounded like it did that night, and as we would soon find out, the same held true for every song performed thereafter. 'Go Back' with a full horn section should be outlawed in the Continental U.S. – I know Jack would agree, as he was calling for that tune earlier in the night. Then we got a little funky, and the jamming got louder, tighter, with crescendos echoing loudly throughout the venue, peaking numerous times during 'Soul of The World' and 'Where Was You At.' Then came 'Wild and Free" and like sipping a banana daiquiri on a catamaran off the beach in St. Thomas, cool breezes blowing the sail from one side of the ship to the other, we felt at peace, we knew were home -old friends dancing with new ones, sharing a chorus, hugging, embracing, that's what's it's about, that's why we go see live music. For me, well, I hold these moments very close to my heart. Yeah…..it felt good, felt right. And then they got back to business, that's 'monkey' business, ya feel me?
I realize in the year 2005 the Radiators don't appear to have much significance to the average music buff -they're a blip on the screen. But I'm finding the 'average music buff ' really doesn't know music, I'm sorry to say. They know what's fed to them through various media outlets, and takes much of what they see and hear at face value. But I'm not one of those people, and take nothing at face value. The Radiators are currently at the top of their game, with no end in sight. And on this night, joined by Bonerama's horns, it was one for the history books.