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Prisoners Of Second Avenue, Hiro Ballroom, NYC: I know where I’m gonna go January 20, 2012

Posted by Anton A in American music, Prisoners Of Second Avenue.
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Are Prisoners Of Second Avenue the best 1960s cover band on the planet? They’re certainly contenders in my book. Their repertoire is wide: Hendrix, Blind Faith, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, The Band, Mountain, Moody Blues – you name the band, chances are they’ve got a song or two up their sleeves. On Friday they played for hours to a packed Hiro Ballroom, on the lower level of the stylish Maritime Hotel.

The band are:

guitarist Jimmy Vivino, currently with the Max Weinberg Seven and, in the rest of his spare time, the top-notch Beatles cover band Fab Faux;



John Conte, bassist with Southside Johnny And the Asbury Jukes, also with Early Elton, an eclectic band that pays tribute to Elton John’s “power trio” days;



and Rich Pagano, drummer for Ian Hunter, Patti Smith and many others as well as Fab Faux and Early Elton.



The Prisoners got a boost last night from Catherine Russell, who added fiery vocals to Wang Dang Doodle, among others. Highlights from the core trio included an inspired version of Theme From An Imaginary Western; the Who’s Love Ain’t For Keeping segueing into Won’t Get Fooled Again, with Jimmy cleverly mimicing the synth part with adroit use of his wah pedal; and a rollicking rendition of Cripple Creek.

Prisoners Of Second Avenue don’t simply replicate the songs we know and love; they put their own spin on many of the tunes, shifting the tempo so that you aren’t quite sure if those often-familiar chords are actually going to lead where you think. They deliver a passionate, rousing tribute to the music that was in the air when I came of age. It’s nostalgia the way it oughta be. I hope that they play New York again soon.