Photo Credit Tony Nelson
89.3 The Current had a ten-year Birthday party at the Turf Club on January 19th, radio personality Mary Lucia hosted the special occasion. Lucia had the privilege to pick the talent and it reflected her musical taste. You might not want to rock with local bands, and you might dislike the idea of an 1980’s icon headlining the Current’s tenth Birthday bash. That is totally fine but it was a great show. A show that sold out in five minutes, and even at the last moment people were scheming to attend. A beautiful night that was warm outside and inside, palpable with the anticipation of seeing Billy Idol.
Lucia grinned as she got the house revved up to welcome local synth pop band Tropical Depression to the stage. They were in fine shape, no guitarist but plenty of back tracks, a bassist who resembled Eric Clapton, and plenty of upbeat songs to keep the crowd captivated. The songs were written diary-style on a yacht by vocalist Erik Appelwick (Vicious Vicious) and evoke the freedom of the sea. The band includes Martin Dosh, James Buckley, and Adam Krinsky-all veterans of the local music scene. Lisa McGuire (Spirit of Orlando) contributed incandescent vocals on ‘How it Feelz’ as she does on Tropical Depression’s self titled release.
More in line with the night’s headliner and longtime favorites of Lucia’s; Little Man played second. Performing songs off of their 2014 release ‘Original Face’ the band tore it up. Lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Perricelli in his trademark vintage regalia displayed his mad chops with his wailing guitar and supercharged vocals, bassist Brian Herb towered above him with his guitar swinging like a mad pendulum, while drummer Sean Gilchrist kept the beat. The audience was enthralled with their exhibit of fearless rock abandon, indeed Little Man is so intense that at times it seems as if they have forgotten anyone else exits. Musicians!
That brings us to the headliner, Billy Idol himself. Lucia was clearly beside herself as she announced his arrival, proclaiming that he had “probably been shagged ten times already.” Phenomenal acoustic guitarist Steve Stevens and Idol ascended center stage to crushing applause. The set took off with him crooning ‘White Wedding’ is his snarling Brit manner while the crowd sang along. His vocals did not falter and his banter was clever-at one point he comically said “this acoustic stuff is hard’ punctuated by a throaty chuckle. It was a fantastic though scant set, timing out at fifteen minutes. The dramatic conclusion was introduced with “two words’: ‘Rebel Yell’ roared from Idol, the crowd fist pumping in unity with the icon. Idol seemed happy to be back in St.Paul at the little Turf Club. It was heartwarming, all fifteen minutes of it.
A high-five goes to the staff at the Turf, they brought their “A” game. In particular, the sound guys. There was no time to sound check Billy Idol and he sounded amazing. It was a fun night to celebrate ten years of a radio station that employs live people and possesses a pretty diverse music catalog. if you have ever been on a cross-country road trip doing the dial search you can appreciate how fortunate we are to have the Current.