Like Rodney Dangerfield, Low Cut Connie doesn't get the appropriate respect.
That's not to say that, critically, the Philadelphia-to-Birmingham, England, act led by singer/pianist Adam "Ladyfingers" Weiner and drummer/guitarist Dan Finnemore hasn't reaped plenty of top-tier accolades. Dean of rock journalism Robert Christgau, NPR's Ken Tucker, and Geator with the Heater Jerry Blavat have given the primal rock-and-roll ensemble mad props - best-new-raw-band-in-the-world props. President Obama included LCC's naughty "Boozophilia" on his fave song list at Spotify. But this hasn't won Weiner's wiggy lot billion-dollar contracts or massive fame for its handful of stark, soulful albums.
Yet talent will out, as will a predilection for primeval boogie-woogie touched by the spirit of doo-wop and ancient, echo-laced R&B. So Low Cut Connie members work their rumps off to create fans, one at a time, as they did at District N9NE Saturday night. Starting with the raucous "Rio" and "Back in School," curly-haired Weiner commenced with his athletic Jerry Lee Lewis bit - standing on his piano, shaking his butt, stretching out from the stool doing leg lifts - while pushing the rest of Connie into a gospel-testifying frenzy.
Punching his 88s, Weiner was all controlled delirium, particularly subtle on the neo-country-western swoon of "Me N Annie."
He stared down his audience - "75 percent of you look good" - and used his deepest voice to sweetly intone "You're talking about money, you're talking about success, I'm talking about happiness."
Strapping on a guitar, Finnemore, too, cut a handsome figure as a vocalist on the tap dancing "Right Here." He was a hoot, a cooler head to Weiner's heated entertainer. Yes, entertainer - a hip-gyrating Tom Jones type showing off his chest hair through gold chains during "Boozophilia" and a rollicking "Pity Party," the latter alive with Wizard of Oz winkie chants and a deeply grooving bass line (courtesy of Larry Scotton) that wouldn't quit. Particularly musky, yet deeply atmospheric in a Shadow Morton fashion was "Shake It Little Tina," with its warm echo FX and snaky guitar lines.
Low Cut Connie is one of America's best, rawest rock-and-roll bands, old school or any school, and should be savored in small settings such as District N9NE.
For the record, the same could have been said for Shawn Kilroy's Weird Hot, who opened for LCC. Kilroy is a veteran Philly music prankster who, in terms of art pop, has long drawn from the twin wells of Davids Bowie and Byrne. On Saturday, however, Kilroy & Co. did its own brand of primal-scream therapy with a Beatles-blues finale that was as powerful as it was gorgeous.