John McCrix

Some Fleetwood Mac songs are easy to cover. Nothing against the Smashing Pumpkins or the Dixie Chicks, but “Landslide” is not rocket science. “The Chain” is not easy, and the way the Pat McGee Band owned it Halloween night at Z104’s Bosom Ball proves why their latest lineup (Mark V by my count) is their best yet.

The night started off with disappointment. Linda picked me up aorund 5:30, we picked up her friend Colleen around 6, and we got to the 9:30 club with 15 minutes to spare before doors opened. It was then we discovered that Howie Day was sick (and as it turned out in the hospital with a 104 degree fever). Nevertheless, we’d have an opportunity to enjoy one of his songs before the night was through. The club was nicely decorated, with Christmas lights hung from the rafters, and bras attached to them at the end (the night was a benefit for GWH’s ‘Mammovan’). Since I wasn’t driving, I took advantage of the 9:30’s fine beer selection during the night (a couple of Dogfish Head ales, an Anchor holiday ale and a hefeweizen).

Michael Tolcher was up first, and he and his band were in costume (wizard, convict, and Spider-Man). I’d seen him open for the Pat McGee Band before, and he’s pretty good, got a nice soulful sound. Bowling For Soup was up next, and they had a nice pop punk sound (like MxPx or early Blink-182). I hadn’t heard any of their songs before (they’ve got a song, “1985”, that’s apparently in heavy rotation on Z104), but I liked ’em.

Finally the Pat McGee Band took the stage (Annandale, represent). I hadn’t seen them since June, and in that time the original bass player had left, only to be replaced by Crix from the Getaway Car. That made two, as Todd Wright, also of the Getaway Car, had joined back in February. I’ve been a fan of the Pat McGee Band since 1999, but Todd’s my man – seen him since 1994, and many times. Both Todd and Crix have great voices, and mixed in with Pat’s it was just awesome. At one point Todd was talking about his costume – he was the Pat McGee Band, with Brian’s glasses, Crix’s hat, Chris’s biceps, and Chardy’s “shaving of the nether regions”. Pat made him complete the costume by singing lead on the first verse of “Haven’t Seen For A While”. It brought back memories of the original lineup with Al Walsh and Jonathan Williams and the harmonies they’d get on that song, but last night it was better than ever. Then they brought the house down by delivering a perfect version of “The Chain”. If I’d only been listening, I would have sworn it was John McVie on bass, and the harmonies were dead on. They ran through most of the new CD, but also managed to bust out some older tunes like “Passion” and “Girl From Athens”. A great set ended with “Beautiful Ways” because Z104 has been playing the heck out of it.

The night wasn’t over, as the crowd promptly summoned them back for an encore. A little something different, as Linda saw a roadie putting hairspray in Pat’s hair. A little mussing up of the ‘do, and he was a dead ringer for Howie Day. Then they went right into his current single, “Collide”, adding a hilarious verse about Howie’s groupie troubles. They followed that with a nice sloppy version of the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight”, and finished off with “Rebecca”. A long night as we got out of there just before 1AM, and I didn’t make it home until 2. I was dragging yesterday, but it was worth it.

Photos here (and a partial shot of me) and here.