(The Figgs at The Cave)
I was going to start this particular review by discussing how the Figgs should be playing much bigger venues, should be getting bigger crowds, etc. etc. But after seeing this astoundingly good band two nights in a row, I can tell you that The Figgs can take you or leave you. They’re doing fine. They are easily one of America’s best bands, having been together thirty-two years “since Thatcher was Prime Minister,” as bassist Pete Donnelly reminded us. They’ve released at least thirteen LP’s, with not a bad one in the bunch, and are getting ready to release a TRIPLE LP, Shady Grove. Check out the new single ‘Grab Your Pack’ on their Indie-a-go-go page:
This is fantastic! What I’m trying to tell you, dear reader, is YOU need to get on The Figgs train. The band is from Saratoga, NY (Home of the Adirondack Chair), and has gone through scrappy, Replacement-y phases to a cool sort of later period Rolling Stones sound now to a wonderful R&B tinged phase that reminds me a bit of the best of British Pub-Rock. Their songwriting is concise, not at all indulgent, and the lyrics and melodies are unstoppable. They tick ALL the qualification boxes on the ride-or-die band checklist.
Thursday night at The Cave in Chapel Hill was a blast. The room really IS low ceilinged, giving off a real Cavern Club vibe. Lady Zub and I were at the back, the sound was great but we only caught glimpses of the band. They played a good bit of new material from Shady Grove, as well as a number of songs from Sucking In Stereo and Palais. The opened with a song from one of guitarist Mike Gent’s solo records, ‘Servo Lock,’ and the Figgs were off and running. Highlights were the amazing new ‘Grab Your Pack,’ (see link above) where Gent and Donnelly trade vocals (and places), and a very rocking ‘Something’s Wrong’ from Sucking In Stereo. There was an interesting cover of Dylan’s ‘My Back Pages,’ and it quickly was time for the second set.
The boys, led by Pete Hayes’ tight as hell drumming, romped through a great second set, including Donnelly’s take on Tom Waits ‘Tango Till They're Sore.’ The ending group of songs ‘We’ll Be Doing Time,’ ‘Kill Me Now,’ and ‘Simon Simone’ got the crowd worked up, then Hayes took the mic to sing a shambolic ‘We'll Be Doing Time.’ This gave me some uncomfortable flashbacks to The Replacements on the Let It Be tour (listen to our podcast SGS 008 at www.tinyurl.com/zubwilldare for more insight on this story). Fortunately, The Figgs snapped out of this and played four more, ending with Donnelly’s beautiful ‘Phases Of The Moon.’
(The 1966 Fender Twin with the 1964 Gibson SG)
(The 1964 Gibson SG)
(Pete Donnelly and his 1965 Fender Jazz bass)
(The Figgs at Heyday Guitars)