LIVE: The Spampinato Brothers @ Valentine’s, 5/17/13
Review by Fred Rudofsky
Notice that “Kick me!” sign that you found taped to your back the other day? Don’t blame your bratty kid, infantile co-worker or college classmate, or that ornery neighbor who cannot stand you for no particular reason. Blame yourself. You dropped the ball. You missed rock and roll at its best, played in genuine rock and roll club. Face it: you deserve a swift kick for posterity’s sake.
The Spampinato Brothers played to a small group of roots rock aficionados on a Saturday night and yes, everybody asked for you, as the Meters would put it.
The quartet played two sets for a total of thirty songs. Start lacing up your Doc Martens, because your regret should hurt.
Johnny Spampinato (guitar) and his brother Joey (bass) have a musical bond at deep as that of Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks, the Everly Brothers or the Nevilles. With powerhouse backing by Aaron Spade (guitar) and Marshall Grossman (drums), they put on a show that spanned the greats of American music: Bo Diddley’s “Crackin’ Up,” Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody” and NRBQ’s “Wild Weekend”; the British Invasion (the Beatles’ “You’re Going to Lose that Girl”); and a slew of rocking originals like “I Want You to Be Around” and “Let Him Think on That.” This is a band that must have an Ipod’s worth of songs hard-wired into their collective consciousness. Beat that, homebody.
Grossman’s drumming was a primer on economy and power, calling to mind the styles of Earl Palmer and Charlie Watts. Joey’s bass was never less than melodic and tasteful, offering a perfect foundation for the vocalists.
Frequently, the harmonies by the two brothers and Spade brought to mind the Bobby Fuller Four. Johnny’s guitar work was astonishing, as was Aaron Spade’s on every song – both played lead with gusto and rhythm with finesse. Fittingly, this band that loves to play chose to close out the show around midnight with a rousing take of Lonnie Mack’s instrumental classic “Wham!”
Bob Marley put it so well: one good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain. The Spampinato Brothers deserve honorary doctorates for the rock and roll medicine they dole out. In the meantime, kick yourself until these Cape Cod-based magi return to the area, ready to electrify a crowd.