Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blue Oyster Cult still rocks

Blue Oyster Cult rocked the Emerald Queen Casino on Friday night.  The only remaining original member are rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roessner.  The amazing Dharma is the second from the right.
 Pat and I are always talking about concerts we'd like to see.  Pat is my 32-year old son who knows far more music than I've ever dreamed of and I think of myself as pretty knowledgeable. Rock, rap, blues, electronica, he knows it and plays it.  I'm jealous. When we get together we talk about music, politics and baseball, not necessarily in that order.  We do keep an eye on who is coming in town.  I've always commented that I'd like to see the 70's proto-metal band Blue Oyster Cult.  BOC's been around since the early 70's.  The band usually passes through Tacoma every year, so last summer we agreed when they were here next we'd see them, so we did.

The band played the Emerald Queen Casino.  More about the venue later.  They played a lengthy set.  I would like to say I'm not thoroughly conversant with the entire BOC catalog, but I'm not.  When I had a huge vinyl collection, I had three BOC albums, but they're mostly gone. Let me just say, there were six songs I really wanted to hear, and they played all of them astonishingly well.  Just listening to their stuff on Spotify, it's amazing how well it still holds together, how interesting it is, and how utterly listenable it is.  Blue Oyster Cult is a band worth playing again.
My very bad picture of Bloom on vocals.  Most of the songs are sung by Buck Dharma.
The band is still fronted by Eric Bloom.  Bloom plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, and also does some lead vocals.  He's the glue that holds the band together.  Most of the band are talented parts that replaced original band members years ago.   The real centerpiece of the band, however, is Donald "Buck Dharma" Roesner. Buck Dharma does most of the writing, is the lead guitarist, and the lead vocalist on about three quarters of the songs.

I love great guitarists.  Saying that, I'm looking for someone who can do more than just play really fast.  I really enjoy guitarists that are melodic and are capable of weaving together a narrative with their instruments more than those who are just ripping out lots of notes.  Buck Dharma is capable of doing both. If you like guitar solos, BOC provides plenty of them.  The band actually has two leads, with Bloom filling in on rhythm guitar.  But it's Buck's guitar work that's amazing.  I liken it to his being able to tell a story with his solos, as well as providing the opportunity for the occasional face-melting shred fest by him or number two lead, Richie Castellano.  Somehow Dharma manages very competent vocals while playing an incredible lead.
The venue was about three quarters full with many very knowledgeable, worshipful fans.
This was a very good, very affordable show.  The audience was composed of very enthusiastic fans that knew the music much better than I, and that was kind of fun and amazing too.  If you hope to attend a show at the Emerald Queen Casino, I encourage you to buy your tickets in advance on-site.  You avoid the nasty secondary fees Ticketmaster and other re-sellers collect.  We sat in the cheapest seats, $20, and they were absolutely fine.

Just a couple words about attending the EQC.  It's comfortable, but only a step or two above seeing a show in a high school gym. With booze.  They sell alcohol outside the seating area, but inside the venue.  Sounds handy, right?  Lots of the crowd were out of the seats.   Many were stupendously hammered and distracting.  I'm sure 10% of the crowd had no idea why they were there or what they were listening to.  This works okay at the Gorge in front of a crowd of 20,000 in the wide open spaces.  Not so much in front of 1,200 people (and I'm being very generous) in a pretty small space.


Kurt Weihs said...

Good to hear Kevin. These guys were among my favorites growing up in Tacoma, but never really followed them until much later.. I've only seen them once but if they still have it I will make a point of seeing them next time they are in town. Would really love to hear Astronomy again.

I actually met Roessner in the mid 80's. My car had broken down on south tacoma way and a guy came along and gave me and my tire a lift to the gas station. He mentioned that he played for BOC (I had on a rock shirt with their vet. of the psychic wars album cover). I politely nodded and thought the guy was making up crap. Looked up his pic later and sure enough, it was Roessner. Now that I know more about the band I really kick myself for not talking more to the guy.

Kevin said...

Kurt, I totally agree. I would happily see them again, though I'd prefer a different venue.

What a great story. That's amazing.