Low Cut Connie Bring The Boogie To Portland (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

There are things most of us immediately associate with the city of Philadelphia: cheesesteaks, It’s Always Sunny and the Rocky movies, the Nitrous Mafia. But in my mind there is perhaps nothing more synonymous with the City of Brotherly Love than Low Cut Connie. On Friday night the Philly rock and rollers blazed through Portland for a headlining gig at Dante’s. Making only their second ever appearance in Portland, the gig felt significant for two reasons; the first being that only recently one of Low Cut Connie’s core members, Dan Finnemore, left the band, and the second being that the Connie boys have recently been in Memphis cutting loads of tunes for a follow-up to their acclaimed 2015 album Hi Honey. These factors added a sense of anticipation for the fans that came out and were actually hip to the band before walking in the doors of Dante’s.

Before Low Cut Connie there was an impressive set from local band Charts. The quartet honed in on jangly psych rock, and their sound felt like the lovechild of the Black Angels and the Beach Boys with hints of early rock and roll sprinkled in for good measure. Even with a new drummer, Charts demonstrated a natural musical chemistry and one couldn’t help but be excited to see this band keep building on their big sound in the future.

When the members of Low Cut Connie took the stage, most of the audience got out of their chairs and crowded right up front. Eccentric frontman Adam Weiner greeted them as his “babies” before launching into a handful of old favorites and new songs. Screaming and boogieing as if possessed by the voodoo spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis, Weiner led the band through favorites like “Shake It Little Tina”, “Boozophilia”, “Back In School”, and “Pity Party” (the latter of which featured some damn fine slide guitar from James Everhart). Each song upped the ante and ignited the crowd’s dance instincts even more.

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Since the departure of Dan Finnemore, who had alternated between drums and guitar and often sang nearly half the songs in a set, Low Cut Connie has welcomed bassist Lucas Rinz into the fold while previous bassist Larry “Smooth Head” Scotton now handles drumming duties. Even with this personnel change, the band sounded as fiery as ever. Without his partner in crime, Adam Weiner took on full frontman duties, with guitarists James Everhart and Will Donnelly flanking his side with riffs. Weiner ranted and raved, giving the crowd tastes of new songs that came across as straightforward and grooving while staying true to Connie’s sophisticated sleaze rock. “Dirty River” was a definite standout, carrying a swaggering Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman” sound. One of the biggest reactions came from the lively piano rocker “Rio” (not a new song), which was dedicated to Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte for obvious reasons.

Not surprisingly, some of the biggest highlights of the night came from covers, one being a rendition of Alex Chilton’s “Hey! Little Child” that was especially anthemic and gave the original a serious run for its money. The other was a rousing, piano-driven taken on Prince’s “Controversy” that added a new dimension to the Purple One’s classic and sent the crowd into a frenzy as Adam Weiner jumped off stage and ran around the venue.  If there was one major takeaway from Friday’s show at Dante’s, it was this: Low Cut Connie does not play concerts, they stage performances. And those performances are rowdy and joyous affairs that reach a level of energy few rock and roll bands can pull off these days.

Photos by Brandon Simnacher. 

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