R. Scully’s Rough 7- Saturn Bar, New Orleans, LA 5/3/14 (Show Review)

Every year there are just so many choices for late night shows during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival naturally things are missed, but if you weren’t involved with the magic emanating from Saturn Bar on late Saturday/early Sunday you sure missed one hell of a burner.

Opening the show was drum/guitar duo The Boy Sprouts who played an uptempo collection of garage/pop originals in a throwback 50’s style. Frontman Justin Peters and drummer Dan MacCready have a clear knack for a hook and engaging beat.

Norco Lapalco came on next playing an off kilter mix of punkish rock in the vein of The Minutemen. The five piece played angular aggressive tunes that sometimes went the way of deep bass lines from Michael James Joseph or veered into shredding guitar fills by Laurie Shefsky. The whole thing was conducted by frontman Lou Thevenot, whose weird wordplay and singing style could be jarring. His vocal foil was Alba Houston as both kept things lyrically deranged in front of Michelle Lacayo’s snare slapping.

The main act entered the small performance space around 2am as Ryan Scully fronted the Rough 7 through a set that exploded as it progressed. Unfortunately the group was shrunken to a five piece without the backing vocals from Meschiya Lake and Erika Lewis, but in the tight confines this may have been a blessing. Lead axeman Rob Cambre set the tone with some sweet slide work as “Golden Parachute” screamed about frauds and financial woes.

The group was locked and grooving with bassist Stoo Odom and drummer Mike Andrepont expertly working “Everything But A Broken Heart” from their most recent release Codebreaker. Joined by a crowd sourced trombonist for the spiritual “God’s Got It” the band spread out into the ether behind Scully’s vocal prophetic assurances and Ratty Scurvics angelic/demonic keyboard work. The close proximity to audience caused some odd interactions and the occasional sound issues but the band-crowd mutual appreciation was palpable.

The trio of the wah-wah laden Ween cover of “Birthday Boy”, the blisteringly Crazy Horse-like “Meltdown” off of Give Up Your Dreams and the bombastic version of Etta James “I Would Rather Go Blind” all one upped each other as cinematic highpoints, that is until the band decided to play an encore.

The take on the Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” was jaw dropping as the band fed off the still exhilarated crowd, keeping things soaring close to 10 minutes. Both the solo and circular playing were riveting as the group simultaneously exploded the night while proclaiming the beauty all around.

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