27 August 2007

Squirrel Nut Zippers @ Highline Ballroom - 24 August 2007

A brief version of my story goes a little something like this: I met Tom Maxwell while working on an independent horror film in Chapel Hill/Durham in 1994 and he told me about his band called Squirrel Nut Zippers. From that point on, I went and saw the band live a billion times (the high point being the New Year's show at Cat's Cradle on December 31st 1995) and listened to their records nonstop. Then they got all MTV huge with their hit song "Hell" and I realized how lucky us Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill folks were to have them around so often. Then the band broke up, time marched forward, and I hadn't seen Squirrel Nut Zippers live in about ten years.

Last Friday night, a lucky New York audience (including myself, and the requisite posse of accompanying friends) got to see Squirrel Nut Zippers play Highline Ballroom and it was almost as if they haven't missed a beat in those ten years since I last saw them. I say almost, merely because there were a few members missing whose presence I feel might have injected into the performance the extra small amount of 'je ne sais quoi' that seemed missing. Then again, what am I talking about? Memories of amazing shows from the past are very hard to live up to, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the SNZ show this past Friday.

Jimbo was on point and as equally charming/rocking as he ever was, and Katherine's voice (not to mention her legs, oh la la) was pure magic, as always. Highlights from the set, for me, were "La Grippe" (really, everything they played off of The Inevitable) and "Ghost of Stephen Foster".

Sometimes I miss those days of the mid-'90s when music like this stood out so boldly in stark contrast to Hootie and Collective Soul, most times it's better to have the right now and whatever the future holds. Either way, I'll always miss having a band like Squirrel Nut Zippers around as my local hometown favorites. The friendly members of the band, their music and the dancing and parties it always seems to inspire, remind me of home. Last Friday night at Highline Ballroom, home was here in New York City with 700 or so happy strangers and it was fantastic.

"La Grippe"
"I've Found A New Baby"

"Ghost of Stephen Foster"

See more pictures of Squirrel Nut Zippers (from this show) HERE.

Visit Squirrel Nut Zippers on MySpace.