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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

NRBQ better than ever in year-end Brooklyn set


 NRBQ at Murmrr Theatre (Photo: John Hamilton)

“Not bad. Not bad,” muttered Terry Adams after NRBQ’s drummer John Perin showed a new facet of his talent at Brooklyn’s Murmrr Theatre during the venerable quartet’s Dec. 30 gig.

The Q’s co-founder/keyboardist/vocalist/visionary had called an audible—standard procedure at NRBQ shows--and Perrin had dutifully donned a guitar and replaced guitarist Scott Ligon before rocking out on “Rock Around the Clock” while Ligon credibly took over on drums.

“John gets a little better every night,” Adams had said, prior to Perrin proving him right, but the same could have been said about the band as a whole. In fact, many loyal Q fans in the house, some going back as far as the late 1960s’ origins of the band, were indeed marveling that the current edition, which Adams fashioned in 2012 with Ligon and bassist Casey McDonough (Perrin joined full-time three years later), is quite remarkably the best one yet.

As ever, it was nonstop action in the two-hour set of 38 songs, notably including “Ridin’ in My Car,” “Things to You,” “Cecilia” and “Help Me Somebody,” from the recently reissued 1977 NRBQ album All Hopped Up. Other fan faves included “Girl Scout Cookies,” “I Want You Bad,” “That’s Neat, That’s Nice,” “Rats in My Room” and “Captain Lou”—with a Beatles’ “She Loves You” instrumental coda.

Among other choice covers were the Jive Bombers’ “Bad Boy,” the Everly Brothers’ “Walk Right Back,” Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” theme from Welcome Back,Kotter and The Byrds’ version of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which closed the set. Adams also threw in an impromptu “Monk’s Mood” piano interlude, which he included in his 2015 Thelonious Monk tribute album Talk Thelonious.

“It was fun while it lasted,” Adams said when the show ended, and while it had lasted long, no one in the audience wanted to leave.



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