There is a reason why we all smile and clap our hands when we hear Joan Jett's famous anthem "I love Rock N Roll." These words mean something to anyone who can appreciate pure, no bullshit, and straight up, just-plug-it-in, AC/DC style rock & roll. Last night, The Datsuns put on a show that was more fun than riding the Cyclone all day at Coney Island. Arriving at the gig I had heard comparisons to AC/DC - but threw that bullshit out the window because no one is AC/DC and no one ever will be. But still, rock has resurged and I read about this band last December in the Fader and all I needed to do was see their photo. These dudes look like that 11th grade rock/metal head who we all looked up to when we were a mere 9th grader first entering high school. All about hair in this band: hair rules. Folks ñ hair!! What did Lennon say, "Grow you hair" or "Hair down ..to his knees.." These cats looked really, really cool in their photo.
First, I get to the gig and Drea De Matteo is there and coincidentally, I had just seen a screening of her new film coming out labor day called Prey for Rock N Roll, also starring Gina Gershon and Lori Petty. This film is a pure rock & roll lifestyle story featuring Gina on vocals for real and the other women really learned to play their instruments. I said, "I am Drew" and she answered, "I am Dre - that's almost the same." I added that she was real convincing on bass, to which she incredulously replied, "you think?" Look for this film at the Tribeca Film Festival for two midnight showings.
Let's get the technicalities out of the way - all the songs ruled, opening up with "Sittin' Pretty." They played the whole record: "What Would I Know" was nuts, "Lady" killed it, and "MF from Hell" caused a mosh behind me. "In Love" was simply delightful.
OK, let's get to it. This was simply an incredibly fun evening of rock & roll. These cats come out on fire. All of them practically the same height, weight and build. Bottom line: skinny with lots of hair. All of them have such incredible energy and bring it the entire show. There is nothing more wasteful then someone on stage who isn't moving or getting into it. These cats were like four simultaneous tidal waves. Sure, Dolf rules out front on bass and vocals, but Christian and Phil are just as nuts and I didn't know who to look at. It's almost as if they say before they get out there ñ let's have a contest who can go absolutely nuts the most and keep it up the entire show. It was a tsunami of hair!! These guys gave it 110% from the opening note. And there I am in the front row with my arm leaning on the monitors - just like the old days (circa '80s Ratt and Poison at the Garden). I was right in there. During each guitar solo, Christian would stick the Gibson right in my face. So as I have done so many times before, I started slapping the guitar; then he puts it closer to us so we all start strumming the guitar. He then walks to the mic and says, "you're not that good at playing the guitar, are you?" The crowd behind me was nuts - moshing, jumping and chanting things in New Zeal-ish (is that a lingo?.) I couldn't understand a word these dudes were saying. People were grabbing on to me to boost themselves up while they were jumping up and down, my hair was being pulled - we were all sweating and through it all I found myself smiling. At times actually laughing because I was having so much fun. Who knows what the band was thinking as they were rocking and I am sitting there front row simply laughing hysterically at the amount of fun I was having. God bless these guys - it was so magical. Then after touching the guitar for the 20th time I changed my focus to the picks on the mic stand. I jumped up and grabbed two, but they were stuck on with tape and they wouldn't come off. So I settled for reaching on to the stage floor and grabbing one. It gets better and better - the band starts doing an instrumental bridge and asking for crowd participation - and everyone starts singing ("na na na na na ñ na na na"). Dolf started laughing and gave everyone the finger - soon after we all did this again - dude puts his bass down and walks off stage then out into the crowd and stands there just like all of us chanting the same " na na na nah" cheer. This shit was comical. Dolf then climbed over our heads to get back on stage. As the show moved on the guys got nuttier and nuttier ñ they all must have lost weigh last night (and they were 90 pounds to begin with.)
Here is the best part - the ending. This was genius. The rhythm guitarist, Phil, throws his axe down, runs behind the kit, picks up extra drum sticks then proceeds to drum together with drummer Matt. Then, Dolf tosses his bass - Christian tosses the lead guitar - they both switch. Christian is now on bass as Dolf picks up the guitar. Then Matt gets off the drum kit and walks off stage and Phil, who was on rhythm guitar, is now completely playing drums alone. All of this folks without missing a single note. I was blown away how they all switched instruments. This was absolutely brilliant.
I was so happy by all of this. I immediately ran to the merch table to buy some vinyl and a T-shirt. These cats deliver and make the ticket worth every cent.
Don't miss these guys - I have never seen four guys give it their all as they did last night. A personal thank you to the band: thank you for making a Monday night now an unforgettable evening of pure fun great old time rock & roll.