Peter Holsapple Combo Live At The Station (Christmas Residency) , Carrboro NC
In the past year and a half, I have traveled to Durham many times for Zub Records business. At Christmas break Adrienne and I work on podcasts, but we always make time to see local bands. We’ve had the luck and good timing to catch the always amazing Peter Holsapple Combo, and we have sort of watched this band grow from it’s get go. We wrote about their April residency at the Station (tinyurl.com/zubphc), and this was the third and last show of their Christmas residency. Boy, was it a doozy!
Peter Holsapple, one of North Carolina’s rock treasures, is well known for his stellar songwriting with the dB’s (see our podcast at tinyurl.com/zubamplifier). He has made a ‘comeback’ of sorts with his fine solo LP, Game Day, and shortly after formed his combo with dB’s/Steve Earle and the Dukes’ drummer Will Rigby and bassist Glenn Jones. Since then the Combo has produced a fine live EP, Amplifier, and a Record Store Day single ‘Christmas Must Be Tonight,’ (The Band cover).
This night’s show started off with a fiery first set heavy on Game Day songs, with an early appearance of the great new song ‘That Kind Of Guy,’ Peter’s paen to record collectors, with lyrics like “I have the entire ‘Down On The Street’ reliquary,” and “I’ve got Pattie Boyd’s copy of Stone Alone.” It’s a wonderful song. Peter sang wonderfully, his guitar work was superb, Glenn Jones is always solid on the bass and the high vocals, and Will Rigby is a fantastic drummer, and great singer. They did ‘White Train’ from the dB’s Like This with Will singing, and it was stellar. The ended up the set with an ominous, heavy version of ‘The Death Of Rock,’ and it was time for the second set and special guests.
Florence Dore was up first, wonderfully singing a cover of The Pretenders’ ‘2000 Miles.” She should be fronting her own band, hopefully we’ll see that in the future. She is also author of the fine Novel Sounds which traces the impact of early Rock and Roll of southern fiction. Next up were Glenn Jones’ other band, The Goodloves, whose vocals powered the band through Nick Lowe’s ‘Cruel To Be Kind’ and some Christmas classics. They also did a cool version of the Bee Gees ‘Life On Broadway’ (!). It was all great fun.
The Combo did ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ with Will on vocals, then both sides of their new Record Store Day single, a cover of The Band’s ‘Christmas Must Be Tonight’ and ‘It Felt Like Summer (But It Looked Like Christmas).’ Then it was time for Chris Stamey, who came on and did ‘Home For The Holidays’ and ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Christmastime.’ I must say it was magical to hear Chris and Peter singing together again. The best and strangest part was the version of ‘Amplifier,’ which turned into a bit of a jazz odyssey - cum - guitarslinger duel. Stamey would not be denied on the lead guitar action, and he and Peter were ALL Over their fretboards. It was an amazing workout. Before I could bring my jaw off the floor, everyone was on stage doing a great version of ‘Feliz Navidad.’
This show was so much fun, Peter and his Combo are an accomplished, amazing, and entertaining band. The guests were all wonderful, the vibe was friendly and happy. Everything you could want in a holiday rock show!