SHOW REVIEW: The Fleshtones
If You Haven't Seen The Fleshtones, You Ain't Seen Everything Yet! (The Fleshtones)
By: Nick Mlatchkov
The Fleshtones ask in the title of their new album, Do You Swing?
Well, they definately do!
The openers, old Toronto darlings from the early 80's, the Raving Mojos, set the standard way too high. Being away from rock 'n' roll for almost eighteen years had not damaged their craft in performing well synchronized gimmicks on stage.
Singer and guitarist Blair Martin and lead guitarist Kurt Schefter (who was in Allanah Myles' band) kept the attention of old and new fans on their hands.
Sporting leather jackets, they, along with original drummer Myles Dutton (one night only), submitted high on testosterone wires and well rehearsed vocal harmonies. Myles and Blair also wore dark glasses.
A couple of country rock tunes could even make Wilco envy.
At one point, Blair introduced old bassist Ken Fox, now a member of the Fleshtones, who delivered the goods with perfect stage moves and sang right on the spot choruses. With their album, The Last Rock 'n' Roll Show Ever out now, they hope for brighter days.
As an old fan commented, "that's the way garage rock should be performed! The Headstones be aware!"
It was a tough act to follow, but not for the Fleshtones!
Originally from Queens, now based in Brooklyn, NY, they didn't spent even a minute checking the audience's mood and went right into action.
Singer Peter Zaremba, also on Farfisa organ and harp, sported a bright Hawaiian shirt that kept the girls' attention on him. Guitarist and singer Keith Streng was as flexible as a ballerina on stage. He and Ken were making so coordinated moves one would think they were synchronized swimmers! Drummer and vocalist Bill Milhizer looked a bit confused in the beginning but recovered quickly and got the rhythm.
First Keith decided the podium wasn't big enough and brought his mic to the floor, followed soon after by Peter, who went on top of the right speaker to sing a few verses.
At one point Zaremba (blowing a referee whistle?!) got Streng's spot on the floor to announce the Governor General's gonna award him in Ottawa the next day!
A few songs later Keith went among the fans and got on a table for a number of riffs. Ken joined him a bit afterwards. At this time Peter had joined Bill for a series of gimmicks on stage. A few girls in the front rows were dancing in trance.
Meanwhile, the band did a quite unusual version of J. L. Hooker's "Boom, Boom, Boom".
An unsuccessful attempt to step over the left speaker left Zaremba in awe.
Towards the end, Keith got on a monitor to squeeze a few wires. Then they suddenly went offstage and headed for the front bar where they awaited the enthusiastic claps for an encore conducted by the co-owner of the Horseshoe, Jeff Cohen.
It appeared the Fleshtones had chosen their cover of Zeppelin's most metal classic, "Communication Breakdown", for a comeback and the audience went in a frenzy of joy.
Peter, Keith, and Ken got on the wooden bar separating the seated area to roar out for awhile before pulling the plug. Then the band bowed to the fans.
It was one of the wildest shows I had ever witnessed. I could easily place them right after the Rolling Stones for a most entertaining rock spectacle.