Long Island City rocked on Saturday night to the sound of LIC Bar’s big “Thank You” to British rock band The Who for their donation of new equipment after hurricane Sandy flooded the bar’s basement. Tribute band “Who’s Next” treated a capacity crowd to a string of songs from nearly 50 years of music history; with hits from albums like “Tommy”and “Quadrophenia” as well as classic rock songs, including Who favourite, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.
“Who’s Next” bear uncanny resemblance to the band they have been mimicking for the past 15 years. They performed with all the trademark gestures of The Who in their late 60’s and ‘70s heyday, before the death of their drummer Keith Moon and well before the more recent passing of bass player John Entwistle. So this was a trip back to a time when a fair number of the audience would have stood in line, bought the albums and absorbed the words of songs; singing along last night as the band rocked the house down with hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Sing Together (with the band)”.
(For me I have to admit to a sense of excitement, seeing the band members walking around before the show, a kind of suspended reality that this could actually have been The Who as I remember them in the early days, playing my local church hall in Harrow and calling themselves the “High Numbers”.)
A real treat as a support act was singer guitarist Godfrey Townsend; once again a superb interpreter of classic tracks; with songs by artists like Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Jack Bruce (in whose band he played) and Dave Mason. This was a solo performance with Townsend (no relation and different spelling) displaying his mastery of a repertoire that is rooted in the blues, with expert guitar picking and an easy, confident style. Townsend played with John Entwistle in his band and in homage to the night’s theme played a few Who songs, giving them an individual spin that contrasted well with the intensity and theater of the band to come.
The evening was MC’d by legendary WLIR DJ and long time stalwart of The Who, Denis McNamara. He took the stage for the raffle draw, along with LIC Bar music impresario Gus Rodriguez, and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch, who first contacted The Who after their Sandy concert at the Barclays Center. The occasion was also graced by an appearance from local council member and music fan, Jimmy van Bramer. One lucky patron walked away with no less than 3 raffle prizes, including the headline Gibson SG guitar, signed by Pete Townshend.
Teen Cancer America, The Who’s official charity, will benefit from $7000 from the night!
Thanks are due to all the sponsors who provided support, equipment and raffle prizes:
The Who (www.thewho.com)
Universal Music ( www.universalmusic.com)
Parnell’s Restaurant (www.parnellsny.com)
El Ay Si restaurant (elaysi.com)
Manducatis Rustica Restuarant (www.manducatisrustica.com)
Bobby Vans Steakhouse ( www.bobbyvans.com)
Pranavah Yoga (www.pranavahyoga.com)
Domaine Wine Bar (www.domainewinebar.com)
Molly Pitchers Alehouse (www.mollypitchersnyc.com)
Radeberger Pilsner, Heineken, Guinness and Brooklyn Brewery
And those others who gave their gifts anonymously.