The Dirty Pearls – Whether You Like It Or Not
Rock and roll is a constantly changing art. Styles and social interactions crash head first into self-expression and public infatuation. But a lot of what I see now is a completely watered down version of the heady offerings from great bands such as KISS, The Godfathers and other bygone kings such as Billy Idol and The Cars. The Dirty Pearls play rock and roll from the influential mold of these bands and more, moving close to the punk rock days of the New York City scene while dancing along the edge of ‘80s metal.
The Dirty Pearls are a New York mainstay that has had the extraordinary pleasure of playing to constantly sold out crowds. From their beginning at Arlene’s Grocery to their show at The Bowery, the NY scene is quite supportive. They’ve supported everyone from Scott Weiland to KISS along their route of touring adventures.
Unfortunately, New Jersey is a different beast. For whatever the reason, the band played an outstanding set to a very small crowd on the legendary Stone Pony stage. But without missing a beat, the group slammed into a dozen well-crafted tunes featured on Whether You Like It Or Not. The Dirty Pearls have learned the secret of less is more, and melody is king. The title-track of the disc features all the raw, Marshall charged power of anything The Kinks could dream up mixed with the physical energy of The Seeds and The Dead Boys.
The frenetic build on “Static” kicks like a mule to the head as the band vamps and riffs à la Alice In Chains. Dynamic rhythmic missiles lob across dirty, distortion-laced pans of guitar as vocalist Tommy London lays down his mid-range power play across the entire song. Other exceptional cuts are the radio-friendly sounds of “Love Sick Love,” a song that brings the best of the ‘80s into the present state of all things rock and roll. Great harmonies lead the way as guitars pump over understated bass and drums before shooting into a Slash inspired middle-eight lead.
The Dirty Pearls even venture into the precarious territory of the ballad with good results. “You Got Me Where You Want Me” has good momentum and a solid, dynamic build. The chorus falls a bit below the expectation line but is bolstered by the sum of its parts. London’s strong understanding of ever-evolving melodies keeps it deep in the world of pop radio land.
The band is visually electric and filled with the traditional rock passion of bands that changed the musical world, which is a good thing in a country filled with Americana cowboys. Whether You Like It Or Not is a punk and rock disc featuring a group that says more with three chords and a few string bends than just about any contemporary in the scene.
They’ll be opening for Dramarama at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club on Aug. 24. MTV’s Matt Pinfield will be overseeing the night. For more on The Dirty Pearls, head over to thedirtypearls.com
The 1st Annual Liberty Music Festival – JC Dobbs – Aug. 16 through Aug. 19
For years, music festivals have ranked number one in being the leading destination for seeing a great variety of entertainment. They range from grass roots to corporate behemoths and the basic theme of packing tons of fun into a weekend is the same on all levels. The tried and true combination of presenting music and education into the deal is something that’s aimed not only at the participating musicians, but the fans as well. The intricate schedule gives them opportunities to lean, network and rub elbows with the bands they find online. It’s also a key opportunity for musicians to push merchandise and build a fanbase from folks that are standing right in front of them with an open mind and a passion for musical growth.
The 1st Annual Liberty Music Festival is targeting that very concept. It’s modeled on other successful events such as The Dewey Beach Music Festival, a celebratory fair that’s been chugging along for 11 straight years. Dewey’s knowledge and marketing has made their event a household word in the music community. And as one of the Liberty members has also been associated with Dewey (Jim Thorpe handles the industry panels), it makes perfect sense that he should bring that same down home feeling to the City Of Brotherly Love.
In my opinion, being a musician and playing bars is never enough. It hasn’t been for years. You need to be at the top of your game when it comes to marketing and visibility. This festival basically hands you the means to take it up a notch and it won’t cost the performer a dime. With panels on subjects such as intellectual property rights and publishing and how they relate to the current musician and musical environment, by getting your music heard and out there and making a great record, there’s really no stone left unturned in the presenting of tools to bands in pursuit of a successful music career.
This first year features some big surprises in that area. The main draw will be keynote speaker and panelist Lou Plaia, founder of ReverbNation. Lou’s insights and marketing expertise had put him at the very top of successful entrepreneurs and his site is a must have for anyone looking to present themselves in a clear and concise manner. Another panel highlight is Jason Spiewak, who comes from a major label background. His high visibility on majors such as TVT Records and Artemus put him right in the driver’s seat when it comes to advice and knowledge of an ever-changing industry. Other interesting speakers are Vic Steffens, (EMI) Alan Douches, (West West Music) and Vince Volz, DVT Events (Dobbs/TLA). I will also be representing The Aquarian Weekly on a panel for strategies on getting your music listened to by the ever-important press.
Education aside, the lineup for this four-day festival runs the gamut of local heroes to national mainstays. With two different stages rotating a constant flow of bands, there’s something for every taste and every musically infatuated fan. Some of the featured players that I noticed are John and Brittany, an eclectic duo that can best be described as a perfect meeting of order and chaos. Their head-on collision of The Beatles meets the Ramones has put them at the top of the Tri-State heap. Plaia also joins in the fun with his musical presentation as does The Cold Roses, The Parachuting Apostles, Kid Felix and about three dozen other groups that I don’t have room for here.
Another interesting presentation comes in the form of an opening night screening of George Manney’s celebrated documentary, Meet Me On South St., at 7 p.m. on Thursday. This documentary is the interesting story of the original JC Dobbs and the evolution of Philly’s fertile music and arts subculture in the ‘70s. Dobbs has hosted some of the biggest names in show business and their roster has included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, George Thorogood and Bo Diddley just to name an eminent few.
With a four-night spread of some of the best bands in the business, panels galore and a location that has easy access to everything in the city, The 1st Annual Liberty Music Festival is a comfortable and fun-filled event that anyone who cares about music and the scene will want to attend.
As Liberty co-founder Jim Thorpe says, “This is about the artists and passionate music that they create.” For more information on LMF, the acts, time slots and panel schedules, head over to libertymusicfest.com