This was the fourth week of the Peter Holsapple Combo ‘residency’ at The Station; meaning that they were playing every Tuesday night in April, and featuring a special guest every week. I’ve seen the Combo about four times in the last six months, and I was surprised at how much energy they provided on this night. The usually laid-back Peter Holsapple was full of pepper, as they say, in fine voice and playing guitar with exceptional intensity. Bass man Glenn Jones was nailing it down on his Fender Jazz, and provided some excellent backing vocals. All was held together by the incredible Will Rigby on drums and vocals, Will always being a solid, inventive and intuitive timekeeper.
The first set provided some great tunes from Peter’s solo Game Day LP on Omnivore Records, including ‘Tuff Day.’ a slash-and-burn ‘In Too Deep,’Game Day,’ and a very heavy take on ‘Don’t Mention The War.’ These were interspersed with dB’s nuggets such as ‘Big Black Truck,’ and ‘We Were Happy There,’ although the older Holsapple’s range isn’t as lithe as his younger voice, his voice is lived-in, expressive and still perfect for these tunes. Highlight of the set by far was the new ‘I’m That Kind Of Guy’ in which Peter recites all the cool music he collects, including ‘Repeat When Necessary,’ and a new line about.”I’ve got Brian Jones’ shoe from the bottom of the pool.” This needs to be a single right away!
Set two started with a rollicking ‘pH Factor,’ then guest Django Haskins (from The Old Ceremony) came onstage. Their first song was a cover of the Zombies ‘This Will Be Our Year,’ beautifully sung by Haskins. They then played a Haskins song, ‘Tender Age,’ with a real ‘Eight Miles High’ vibe to it, and they ended his set with a fantastic cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Lucifer Sam’ (see link below). I’d love to see this band and this singer work together some more. Django was a real treat. Set two continued with more of the introspective songs from Game Day, including ‘Continental Drifters’ and ‘Inventory,’ Peter and the boys picked it up at the end with a powerhouse version of the dB’s ‘Amplifier, and an amped-up cover of Buddy Miles’ ‘Them Changes.’ I’ve heard them play these before, but tonight they were delivered with undiluted ferocity.
The Station is to be lauded for supporting such a great band. The sound at the club was stellar. The band amazing, the guest a pleasant surprise. Holsapple is not resting on his laurels: he was and is one of North Carolina’s greatest songwriters, singers, and guitarists. Please don’t overlook him and the combo wherever they are in the future. As Peter proclaimed from the stage, “this is the GOOD rock.”