Clockwork Elvis

The Circle Bar

December 25, 2004

They shut the city down. They advised people not to leave their homes.

Through ice, sleet, snow, and reindeer the brave went to The Circle Bar Christmas night to see the city's best Elvis cover band--Clockwork Elvis. Because of the club's cliquish atmosphere, waiting for a band to start can be awkward. Saturday night, though, people were relaxed and open. The audience created an atmosphere of rebellious unity after braving the snow and recognizing, that, hey--it's Christmas! There was something comforting about being in the deep South and seeing people bundled up and drinking liquor to warm up.

Lead singer DC Harbold wore a Santa chapeau that covered a Clockwork hairdo, and bassist Jay Thomas wore a Santa suit that covered up his green body paint. He looked like a very twisted, yet festive, goblin.

The band was excellent. The covers were carbon copies. The band was well-rehearsed, and they displayed passion through their back-up singing and playing. Elvis isn't of my time, but after hearing his songs played so well Saturday night, I got a new respect for him. Because even if he didn't write most of the songs, he made them come to life in a way that is still revered.

Specifically--by DC Harbold. Harbold had the charisma and suave rock star movements to sell the songs. Tellin' the band to "take it home," enthusiastically calling out an upcoming guitar solo, and putting his spirit into it. And then there were the Elvis moves. Harbold didn't overdo it and become a caricature of Elvis(people have said that's exactly what Elvis became in his later years). He kneeled during a particularly romantic moment(one girl did a funny fake fainting act) or raised a stiff arm to accentuate the lyrics.

The band threw in some Elvis Christmas songs in the middle of their first set, which was littered with obscure numbers. Mostly, though, it was stuff you'd probably recognize--"Little Sister," "A Big Hunk O' Love," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," "It's Now or Never," and "Suspicious Minds." I liked "Little Sister" and "Suspicious Minds" the best. They rocked, in a forceful and emotional way.

Former Elvis guitarist Hank Garland, who played on "Little Sister" and "A Big Hunk O' Love," died this week.

The band had a couple of hip girls out front who were dancing up a storm. Everyone else wasn't dancing, but they were whooping it up for the band in between songs.

A fun time. The band warmed everybody up.

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