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THE BOSS MARTIANS w/ The Roy Owens Jr. and Bruce Joyner & the Reconstruction



  The EARL  

East Atlanta, GA

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I got a copy of The Boss Martians album The Set-Up, but I certainly wasn't expecting this! Totally bass assed flawlessly executed AC/DC guitar solos, steady, convulsing bass lines, hammering, vintage keys, and Keith Moon style drum bashing! But wait! They didn't play their soon to be hit song Oh, Angela. That's ok. I bet they're tired of it already. Rock on.

So, in general, this was a rocking show. I was pleasantly surprised with the opening band, an enigmatic figure that you should know: Bruce Joyner & the Reconstruction. This guy sits on a stage, giving so much heart and soul to his performance. Joyner presents an eerie resemblance to Eric Burden from The Animals, backed by a sort of dusty, blues based, surf tinged garage rock. It was very well played and subtle enough not to become too overbearing. I enjoyed the set, and I'd love to see them play again. Mr. Joyner is somewhat of a historical figure, and also should be noted as a member of the legendary 80's band, The Unknowns.

The second band was Atlanta's The Roy Owens Jr. That's their band name, but I don't think there is a member named Roy Owens Jr. in the band. [Brendan's Note: There isn't. It is some sort of joke, I think.] The set featured people walking out of the room, and the band telling bad jokes. Oh, and they played some music. I stuck around. It was a lazy Americana: nothing really groundbreaking or fascinating. Perhaps a livelier, more inebriated crowd would've enjoyed it more. Who knows? It was Monday night. I thought they played well, but just not too enthusiastically. I think they do need to recognize when a crowd has had enough, though. Maybe develop a plan B, or a shorter set for a Monday night (like 20 minutes?) Other than that, they were all right.

In all reality, I enjoyed the Boss Martians' set. They used The Ramones live set formula: few, if any, breaks between songs, limited crowd banter, and play it all loud and fast. I do have one complaint. The crowd participation thing. We all had to clap on time for one of their songs. I don't know where this really gets to the crowd, but apparently, it works. It's never seemed to work, ever, at any show I have ever been to before -- ever. I just don't get the appeal. It seems to be a little faux, a little forced. It might be that the band is bored, trying to muster up some spirits with an otherwise lifeless crowd. God knows, I've never been in a touring band, and I guess I don't understand. The bass player was so into the crowd participation, he walked off the stage, proceeded to walk on top of the bar and behind the counter, grabbed a bottle of what appeared to be some sort of Vodka, take a gulp, and returned to the stage. That's one way to get the crowd excited.

The set was basically focused on all of their standard songs. I honestly am not familiar with their back catalog, so it's hard for me to really know what those albums are all about. Based on this set, I can imagine that it's mostly this full force, hooky, blistering punk rock attack. If there's one thing in particular that sets the band apart, it is the keyboards. I think that it worked well in the live set, and probably does well on the albums.

I would like to point out one particular track I was really looking forward to hearing: Oh Angela, from the album The Set-Up. Perhaps the reason they did not play it is the inevitable Elvis Costello references, or maybe too many people ask them to play it, or maybe they know it's a total rip off. My question is: If Elvis Costello isn't going to do Elvis Costello anymore, then who's going to do Elvis Costello? Why not ride with it? I think the band could really explore these album tracks that resemble Mr. McManus's earlier punk tunes. I think it would be interesting, and it would add a dimension to the band that would make them stand out a little more.

Overall, this was a great little show for a Monday night. The turnout wasn't that great, but the people there were impressed, as was I.

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