Rosy's Jazz Hall
August 12, 2004
I felt pride for New Orleans as Tin Men dropped city references in songs like "Location, Location" and "Uptown Girl." On "Uptown Girl," vocalist/guitarist Alex McMurray spelled out subtle differences between those below Claiborne and those above it. Differences only a local can fully appreciate. This talent is probably one of the reasons everyone I've talked to about Tin Men have expressed nothing but love.
Sousaphone guy Matt Perrine and washboardist Chaz Leary rounded out the band at a full Rosy's Jazz Hall for Scat Magazine's monthly magazine release party Thursday night.
The band was in top form. They have an eclectic sound, but it's always something you can dance to, as many people proved Thursday night. They did R&B, jazz, blues, and rock n'roll love songs, but everything was anchored by Perrine's brass band bop, which made me tap my foot or swing it during every song.
McMurray is the best singer-songwriter in New Orleans, so he was a sure thing. It was fun to listen to his tales of woe, especially with the way he told them. He had a jaded smart-ass look on his face, like he knew more than the rest of us but didn't need to tell us that. McMurray came across as sincere, but it was funny how he was detached one moment and then was all smiles the next, like during the set's highlight, "You Know It's Cabral." The Latin-tinged song was a happy affair that celebrated and lambasted Iguanas bassist Joe Cabral.
Chaz sang some originals that were a bit more upbeat than McMurray's. Chaz was and is always great on the washboard, hitting his bell or steel to accentuate or provide hooks.
It was fun to see Tin Men act up onstage together. Their malleable personalities made their performance that much better. Perrine was funny as he walked to the front of the stage and tackled a song by himself. Perrine's wife approached the stage at one point and got a few dollars out of Perrine. Her next line was so funny, I thought maybe the whole exchange had been planned. "I don't have to pay a fee. He's better than an ATM."
The show was great, and the band made me feel like a part of New Orleans. Which was nice.*
*"So I got that goin' for me...which is nice."--Bill Murray in Caddyshack