ASBURY PARK, NJ—The Summer That Wasn’t was fading, people were grasping at that one last weekend, and the good news was the Stone Pony had a bunch of great acts to close out the season. The Pony would be packed to the gills inside and out 24 hours later for the Black Crowes, but for me the show to see that weekend was The Rev. Horton Heat and Nashville Pussy.
The Reverend is a given; still looking as sharp as the suits he wears and the guitars he plays, and can he play, what a joy to see one of your guitar heroes ripping it up effortlessly and having a good time onstage. The trio banged out a set of greatest hits that had the crowd screaming for more.
The real surprise was opening act Nashville Pussy. They’ve been around forever but I never caught them live, and two minutes after they hit the stage, I was cursing myself for all the times I coulda went and didn’t.
I love real rock and roll. Real rock and roll is dirty, clichéd, drunk, sloppy, it’s… rock. So seeing singer/guitarist Blaine Cartwright sporting a Judas Priest “Screaming For Vengeance” tour shirt, well, you know this guy isn’t a poser or wannabe. Neither were bassist Karen Cuda and lead guitarist Ruyter Suys. Ruyter was sporting a Gibson SG that had the knobs taken off long ago—scored two points in my book. She played better and with more cock rock attitude than 90 percent of the guys who take that stage. She lives for the song, the riff, the lead. On her knees, over her head, doing every guitar pose in the book, and it works, because it isn’t pretend, or forced; it’s reacting to the intensity of the music and crowd. Ditto with Karen. Wonderful.
“Hate And Whiskey,” “High As Hell,” and every other song they played were the standouts. So great to see a real rock band that’s still chugging it out, not caring about how they fit into the current scene. Really loud music with ladies rocking out onstage will never go out of style.