The subdudes

Lafayette Square

June 09, 2004

The subdudes played soulful, gospel-tinged roots-rock at Lafayette Square Wednesday afternoon. Their beautifully crafted songs about love and loss created some sing-alongs, onstage as well. The harmonies between pianist John Magnie and guitarist/lead singer Tommy Malone were the cleansing waters that melded with the instrumental dirt. It was down-home, earthy mud music. Yum.

The highlight of their hour-long first set was their opening number "The Rain," a song off their latest album, Miracle Mule. The band channeled the spirit of '50's vocal R&B to great emotional effect with little or no instrumentation. Next, the full band came in and rocked out by not rocking out like only they know how.

Since most of their songs don't utilize a snare drum, a greater tension was created within the rhythm of the songs, making me get more emotionally involved as I created my own beat and stomped my foot. Behind the tension was percussionist/drummer Steve Amedee, who used a kick drum and brushes against a tambourine and a cymbal.

Malone was an able rhythm guitarist, but his solos were very well-structured and melodic. They built up and up and up until there was nowhere to go. Magnie added a Calypso feel with his high-toned tingling of the ivories, and he also gave the songs Zydeco flavor when he strapped on his accordion.

The band was tight, and the square was packed on a sunny, breezy day. I heard a few requests, but the biggest fan was a man wearing a subdudes t-shirt against the barricade hooting and hollering like it was the second coming.

And I guess it kinda was. The subdudes are back.

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