What a pleasure to return to the George and Dragon for another round of the St. Georges Day Bash! Amazing that this event has been going on for 15 years now, and kudos as always to Keith Jackson from the Glass Heroes. Once again this punk rock veteran assembled a killer line-up to make this evening a roaring success, and the addition of the Father Figures to the roster was huge. Judging by the crowd’s reaction (even the stupid females up front), there are many that agree with me!
The Father Figures have only been a unit for about 11 months. I have had an opportunity to see them on three, maybe four occasions now, and there are a number of factors that really jumped out at me during this show.
First, this trio becomes more of a unified unit every time I see them play. Tom Reardon (bass, lead and backing vocals), Michael Cornelius (guitar, backing and lead vocals) and Bobby Lerma (drums, backing vocals) are all superb musicians that have played in some stellar bands here in town over the years. I was at their first show at the Ruby Room July 2009, and to say that they have progressed mightily is a severe understatement. This band possesses some serious power now, exponentially more than when they began playing together. More important, it is obvious all three members are taking this endeavor seriously and practice hard together, because all three members are in sync with one another. Older tracks such as Typical Bible Beating Hypocrite, No Guarantees, Theme and Save it for Later have aged extremely well.
Second, the band has created quite a bit of new material lately, and it was this writer’s first opportunity to hear it. As I told Michael and Bobby after the set, “Holy ____!” The level of aggression in the new material is elevated in comparison to the first batch of songs the Father Figures wrote. A three song stretch of new material on this evening included Get Up, Butterfly and Avon Lady, three songs that featured this high level of aggression and showcased the direction the band is currently traveling. As good as those tunes were, the closer of the set Fee Fie Foe was utterly insane, a brutally intense track that very well may become this writer’s favorite Father Figures track. Tom played a thundering bass on this song, Michael played his guitar with a controlled fury and Bobby nearly destroyed his drum kit. I figured the song before, Caviar, was going to end the proceedings, but when the band unveiled this gem all I could do was stare open-mouthed the entire time. Phenomenal.
Third, and most impressive on this night. Michael has come a LONG way on the guitar. Remember folks, this is the guy that played one of the slickest basses in town for J.F.A and Housequake, but today Michael is an outstanding guitar player. I always felt he was good, but at times he seemed to hang back and simply flow with the song rather than really let loose. This show he unleashed a power and volume that I had not heard before, and this made every song that much better. I have heard the older songs enough times by now to notice a considerable difference in the effect Michael’s more pronounced play makes. Plain and simple, this guy has elevated his guitar play to the level of someone who shreds. Wow!
Hands down, their best performance I have seen. What a set, what a way to go out before taking a small break from playing out live. I will be looking forward for the summer break to end.
I’m still in awe …