Bad Mamma Jammas. In a modern day of electronic music, digitized noise, Indie, dub, and the like, The Dirty Names sure know how to stick to blues and rock roots and wail away on stage like they invented the genre. I’d say their reinventing it. They’re bringing back the raw rock mixed with some billy and funky honky tonky swing.
Each band member has their own sort of resemblance to an iconographic 60s or 70s legend, like the keyboardist, John Countryman, who looks like a tough Elton John, smashes the ivory like the notes are getting away. From the audience view, Bassist Sam Wetterau reminds me of a buff John Lennon. Matt Rose on drums is a vague reincarnation of a Monkee or Beach Boy and he isn’t afraid of getting a little naked on stage: a sure sign of a quality drummer.
Upfront, Kit Whitacre sports a Blues Brother ensemble matched with a Chuck Berry guitar. Then there’s Harrison Cofer, lead guitarist and vocalist, and Bob Dylan look alike who jumps around on stage like Jim or Jimi.
Regardless, they, as The Dirty Names put on a hell of a show. In June, they’ve been playing every Friday night at Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side bringing in crowds from 20s to 50s and 60s looking for their flashbacks of the day.
Their individual style molds beautifully together with their finely tuned musical backgrounds. Bassist Wetterau, who is trained as a classical pianists, explained after the show that all the members in the band could play any interment on stage every show. They are all well trained in music, but their current set-up seems to really bring out the rock in all of us. He said the band is influenced by many artists from Rolling Stones to Tupac, who shoots through in a couple of numbers with some unexpected rhymes.
Seeing them twice in a row, isn’t so bad . . . I’d probably have them as my entourage band if I could. Instead, I’ll just have to follow them, which is fine, because I can’t seem to find enough rock in a night unless these guys are on stage reminding us about the purity of music we’ve all been missing.
There’s a lot of thirsty rockers out there and not enough whiskey in the world to parch that thirst, but The Dirty Names are dumping igloo ice chests full of delicious freezing, lip smacking, willy-nilly twists and jives to satisfy the thirst all us rockers have been panting about. Ooooo baby come on and rock me.
Their albums “Names First Record” (2010) and “Rock and Roll Mid Control (2011) are both fine recordings. They are even better in person because while head banging in your car is fun and all, it just isn’t the same unless your in front of four foot high speakers and and get to witness their their stage moves; those moves that made parents of the 60s squirm as their kids learned what it was like being free. Plus, their intro, after that first song, really strikes the night up well:
“Hi. We’re The Dirty Names and we play Rock and Roll.”