CD Review of Long Weekend by TAB the Band
Recommended if you like
Hold Steady, Black Crowes,
Uriah Heep
Label
North Street Records
TAB the Band: Long Weekend

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD

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S
ometimes, the men (and women) of Bullz-Eye need to stand up and take one for the team. That, specifically, means that on occasion we must stand up and take a pile of unassigned discs for review ("orphans" in our little critic-clique pidgin), literally whether we like it or not. That is how TAB the Band landed on the iPod, a diamond among some serious sewage assimilated into the monster library playlist: an orphan that my peers all passed up.

Oh, and did that little diamond shine. Unapologetically 1970s rock, but in a good way. The force of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple in the opener, "Backseat Love." The country-blues-rock twang of Little Feat. The salacious swagger of trashy Some Girls Stones ("Where She Was on Monday," "Sally Maw Wilcox," and of course the Jagger-fastball-down-the-middle "Sticky Wickets"). Something rings true about this group, something beautiful and distortion-laden, as if the players had been marooned on a desert island with only a case of classic rock eight-tracks dug out of a rusted-out 1972 Camaro abandoned by the last batch of castaways. Something else, too: The power pop of Nick Lowe lurking under the surface of the power trio that names itself TAB in capital letters.

These guys...something about them made me Google-stalk them through MySpace and beyond. And the weird thing is that they’re like the Black Crowes, except at once rawer and more sophisticated -- on just their second album. There's some kind of mojo going on this here record, it was obvious from the first play. After reading up a little more on TAB the Band, it all made sense. They don't play it up in their P.R. material, but it turns out that there's a couple ringers in the band, specifically T and A. They're Tony Perry and Adrian Perry, sons of one Joe Perry of Aerosmith. They play guitar and bass on these excellent original tunes with pal Ben Tileston on the drums. Clearly Dad cracked the whip about practicing hard between guitar lessons, because these guys play like they've been together a decade, even though they formed just last year.

If your musical tastes slide toward the classic-rock side of the dial and even Foo Fighters don't do it for you -- as in, you find yourself pining for, if not exactly Molly Hatchet and Thin Lizzy, groups that could pull out the damn stops and rock like they did -- this is the CD for you. Really, all the songs on Long Weekend rock out pretty well, but one, "My Baby Is Fine," is a southern rocker that is the best post-Lynyrd track to represent the milieu in 30 years, even though TAB the Band hails from -- you guessed it -- Boston. From the above description, this group probably seems hopelessly dated, but don't forget: Million-selling rock records need to have some sort of appeal, some sort of musical spark to distinguish them from the other dreck of the day and live for decades on radio playlists. Something to make them no longer orphans. Like, deep down, you know "The Boys Are Back in Town" is a phenomenal song, no matter how many times you've heard it. These kids turn back the clock, but in a good way. Joe's gotta be proud as hell.

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