Spotlights: Cass McCombs, The Fab Faux, Daddy Tapes Benefit, and Shifty & The Gears

Cass McCoombs Circles Around NYC

I’ve been unable to stop listening to Cass McCombs’ new LP, Tip of the Sphere. Infectious, psychedelic, and raw, McCoombs songs are rock ‘n’ roll gold, and Tip of the Sphere is an endless treasure chest. It’s jammy guitars and drifting harmonies bring you in and take hold of you; were it a film, you couldn’t take your eye off it, I’d wager. Listen to cuts like “Sidewalk Bop After Suicide” and “I Followed the River South to What” to feel the full effect of this intense and emotive album. Cass is playing Bowery Ballroom on March 8 and—should you find yourself on the other side of the East River—he’ll be in Brooklyn the night before, March 7, at the Murmrr Theatre. Quick note about the Murmrr: I was there in November for Jeff Tweedy’s book tour. It’s a charming theater with a lot of character—plus the team they have working there are really very nice. So, it’s got that going for it…. Now, go see Cass McCombs! 

Better Than the Beatles

The music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo has been imprinted on our brains like a tattoo. It’s in our DNA. It’s music that demands to still be performed on a stage with a horn section (so that iconic “Penny Lane” piccolo-trumpet solo can still be savored live) and a string section (so “Eleanor Rigby” can be properly digested for the melodic miracle that it is). No one, and that includes the Beatles themselves, has ever played this material on stage with the attention-to-detail and exactitude that the Fab Faux does. They will be doing so March 9 at the State Theatre in Easton, Pennsylvania and March 16 at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair. When a symphony orchestra performs Mozart, do you call it a tribute? When The Fab Faux performs Beatle material, that material comes alive to transcend the room. It gives me goosebumps. No one does it better. 

 Shifty & The Gears: Not Your Parent’s Rockabilly!

 Shore regulars Shifty & The Gears are playing the Brighton Bar on March 7. In case you’re not familiar with the group, their “mix of hard driving beats with tasteful precision, reminiscent of the original rockabilly style,” is the perfect complement to “Shifty” Matt Scherf’s slap bass and punk rock stylings. Be sure to catch this gig!


The Daddy Tapes Benefit at the Parkside Lounge

The 33rd annual birthday tribute to the late George L. Popp (aka Daddy Tapes) will be happening on March 10 at the Parkside Lounge in NYC. Daddy Tapes was the backbone of his son’s band, The Tapes. Instead of retiring and moving to Florida, as he had dreamed, Daddy Tapes remained in New York, working as a night watchman until the day he died from a heart attack, on Nov 1, 1986, at the age of 73. He had remained in New York so his son, Bill Popp, could live inexpensively at home and rehearse his band, The Tapes, for free in their basement. This year’s benefit includes performances from Bill Popp and the Tapes, Cosmonaut Radio, Anne Husick (Ronnie Spector, Joey Ramone), and many more. The annual benefit provides support for the American Heart Association.