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Neon Reverb report: Crazy Chief’s live debut

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Jason Harris

Newly formed local supergroup Crazy Chief played to an attentive and rather full crowd on the outdoor stage behind Beauty Bar Wednesday night. Though the smell of trash was wafting through the air (it’s no longer edgy; it’s just kind of gross), Neon Reverb's organizers had to be pleased with the near 100 people in attendance on a school night.

This was the inaugural show for Crazy Chief, which features members of groups including Doors cover band Mojo Rising (lead singer Drew Johnson, who once in a while slipped into his Morrison voice), Pigasus (husband/wife guitarist and bassist Jesse and Roxie Amoroso), Dirty Somethings (Nick Thompson and Drew Johnson) and Goldboot (drummer Dan Conway). Their 40-minute set featured songs tinged with Deep Purple-style guitar riffs—a "Smoke on the Water" cover would have fit in at any time—and an overall butt rock feel of the late '80s and early '90s.

Chief was tight, much more ready for its first show than other stage virgins. However the knocks on them are twofold:

1. Their music is often repetitive. "Skeleton Man," "She's So Easy" and "Restful Eyes" are all catchy songs, but none jumped out beyond the others. Each song seemed to have the same formula: scorching vocals by Johnson followed by elongated, though able, axe solos from Jesse Amoroso.

2. The band needs a dose of stage presence, stat. The musicians had barely any interaction with the crowd, a surprise given that the lead singer’s other gig is fronting a cover act.

Those issues can be fixed over time with new jams and more shows, both of which should come rather easily since Crazy Chief certainly has the potential to be a mainstay on the local hard rock scene.

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