Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hockey Rock Lives

I forget how I first heard The Zambonis. Quite possibly, my father brought home a CD for me that he had picked up from lead singer Dave Zamboni. Or maybe I saw them on public access television (WFAC-TV, Channel 34) in southern Connecticut -- on The Lone Shark perhaps, where Dave Zamboni once was the referee in a boxing match for which I was one of the managers (see here).

But I've seen them probably a dozen times over the years: once on the ice at a hockey rink; once in Jasper McLevy Square in Bridgeport; and once at the Tarquin Records Holiday Party at the now-defunct Brownies. During that last concert, Dave said, "Hey, Matt, do you need a hat?" and threw me a navy-blue stocking cap from stage of the type that my mother had been trying to get me to wear for years; a woman sitting next to me turned to me and said, "If you're anything like my son [who was sitting next to her], you're going to put that hat on your head and not take it off for the next three years"; well, it didn't quite go down that way, but I definitely gave that hat a privileged position in my winter wardrobe.

So it was very nice of Dave to throw me a new hat during Friday night's show at Freddy's Backroom. He didn't really remember who I was (e.g. when I said, "Go Steelers!" after he said that the band would be traveling on to Pittsburgh later in the night, he said, "Who are you, buddy?") -- although after the show, we cleared that up.

The show was classic -- short-shifts on different instruments, multiple vocalists, an appearance by the Hockey Monkey (who may or may not live in Co-Op City with Dick Manitoba) and every single song about hockey. At the end of the night David -- my friend David, not Dave Zamboni -- said, "Well, that was better than I expected." (Those who know David will recognize that as a rather ringing endorsement.)

The setlist looked like this:

"Referee's Daughter"
"Hockey Monkey"
"Beware of the Trap" - space-aged
"Goalie" - 'What do you do when your fifteen hundred pounds? / You play goalie!'
"Russian Pop Song"
"Helmets On"
A song about the Rangers dedicated to the late Lux Interior
"Lost My Teeth"
"Time to Shine"
A hardcore tune of unknown title
"Fight on the Ice"
"Slapshot Man"
"Davey Hat-trick"

Davey Hat-trick begins with a long and low-pitched "Oooooooooo." When they announced they would be playing the song, I began the "Oooooooo" from the audience in anticipation. Dave said, "Hey, that guy's our potential pitch." (At first, I thought he had said something else, and I wasn't really up for the task, but when I realized what he had said, I was a bit more enthused.)

The new hat is bright orange, by the way -- you'll see me coming from the other side of the ice.

No comments: