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Are You Ready To RUMBLE??!?!?!?
We caught the Saturday Link Wray show at the Star Bar. If you don't know who Wray is just check any local press - everyone had a full report on why you should've been there, rattling off his string of hits and influence as if he was some old dinosaur. Yeah, those hits were great way back when and yeah, there might not be Iggy Pop, The Cramps, Man or Astroman?, Dragline, punk, power-pop, or anything loud after the 50's thanks to Wray's magic fingers. But that's the past, many thought, avoiding the show that was bound to disappoint, Wray being 70 these days.
"You are never too old to rock n' roll
Or too young to die."
Wray started off with the famous Rumble and didn't stop rumbling for an hour and a half. Deafening, even with ear plugs, and dirty as the Star Bar floor, the guitar rock river poured out into the crowd and everyone thrashed around in its waters trying not to drown. Many were forced to swim, some surfed, a few sank but that's the course of nature - the strong survive and play guitar harder, louder, and faster while the rest perish. Wray worked through instrumental scorcher after scorcher, occasionally belting out a song with his one lung but generally letting his fingers to the talking.
The guitarist from the opening act Dieselhed, Grapeful Phish-heads of mediocre worth, got up on stage near the end of the first set and jammed with Link but the contrast only helped highlight the skills of a self-described "rebel from North Carolina." Then one of the Hoods, another local act, joined in and things degenerated into senseless guitar doodling and a lot of people just couldn't take it.
I managed to stomach it, however, and wait as the crowd banged on the stage and walls, demanding an encore with yells and screams almost as loud as the show. Eventually Link returned and did a couple he'd played already, a little faster and dirtier, then off into a few he hadn't covered yet before finally calling it quits and running off to Denmark to rejoin his family.
Several of the papers said this might be your last chance to see the living legend Link. But it wouldn't surpass me if I end up taking my grandchildren to see him on his next swing through the U.S. And I don't even have kids yet.
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