Looking at his nerdy 50s look, the large sunglasses and the clean haircut, you may say, this has already been done,… by Elvis Costello years ago, you know, the Buddy Holly look! But Nick Waterhouse probably does not care, he does not care to be compared to people who died a long time ago, because he is living his dream: he said he wanted to record great records, and he just made one, his debut 'Time’s All Gone’, and the late-50s-early-60s have never been so alive.
He and eight band members were celebrating at Amoeba on Sunday night, in front of a young and less young crowd, and I am pretty sure these older women were totally fooled by what they heard. With Nick Waterhouse’s music, you are bound for a complete time travel, even before the 60s had actually happened, in a time when female singers still sang these shooo-wop backup harmonies, when saxophones were a large part of the game, when it was all about ensemble. I said he could have fooled the older folks but actually all the musicians and singers were right on, and these retro songs seemed to even pre-date the dangerous hip moves of Elvis Presley
The saxos had all the good parts, bluesing and squawking at each moment, the keyboard was wobbling, there were a lot of guitar solos, but the music was letting the voices being the stars as the two girls in their thrift-shop clothes were providing lots of harmonies or even taking the lead part on some songs. Nick was singing with a clear and distinct voice, shining all the time with confidence, not even hesitating to push some wild screams a few times.
Among this R&B revival, there was a little of bit of doo-wop, a touch of twist, a little bit of jazz, especially in the drumming which made the whole thing sound like the soundtrack of an old black and white cartoon or a Woody Allen movie, and all the songs sounded like great classics of the past,… except there was something that was really 2012, and I am not talking about the tattoos on the arms of the girls! No, It was very hard to describe, but despite the fact they were seemingly playing some lost tracks of an era long gone, it never sounded outdated or passé, there was something so alive and real in their performance.
On Thursday, Nick Waterhouse and his band have a record party, for their album released on Innovative Leisure, not surprisingly the same label which launched Hanni El Khatib and The Allah-Las. The show is at Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, a place where I have seen many punk bands! You will probably not witness too much stage diving this time, but instead a cool journey in time, way before punk was born.