Erik Corriveaux and Friends

Circle Bar

October 15, 2005

If you were looking for a feeling of camraderie, you probably got it if you attended the Erik Corriveaux and Friends concert at the Circle Bar Saturday night. Smiles and laughs abounded during the sloppy performance as old friends acted the fool. Corriveaux, singer and guitarist for The Bad Off, was joined by Bad Off lead guitarist Brian Berthiaume, Zoom bassist Scott Crochet, and a talented drummer whose name I obviously didn't get.

Considering The Bad Off has just gotten tighter and tighter over the last year, I expected a rehearsed performance from Corriveaux and his band. That wasn't the motus operandi of the night, though. On purpose or not, the show got raw after Berthiaume fried his amp after one song. During the first song, the band was as tight as they would be the whole night. They played eardrum-pounding, bombastic rock.

There was obvious tension between Corriveaux and Berthiaume from the get-go, so it didn't help that Berthiaume's new amp drowned out Corriveaux's singing. Add alcohol to the mix and Corriveaux and Berthiaume had a public feud going three or four songs into the set. Corriveaux left the band to finish a song after it backfired. He came back, but the vibe was damaged. It's no fun watching people argue over what songs they should play. Weirdness all around. At one point, Berthiaume sat down on his amp and played his guitar with head down like a defeated, scolded schoolchild. Since Berthiaume had repeatedly reached across Corriveaux to signal Crochet for changes, which lead to Crochet giving Berthiaume an annoyed "lay off" face, Crochet motioned like he was gonna poke Berthiaume with his guitar to get him off the amp.

Thank God somebody broke the tension and mediocrity by asking Supagroup drummer Michael Brueggen to sit in. The Led Zeppelin covers started, and even though Brueggen was stutter-stepping all over the material--well, let's just say that even a bad Zeppelin song is better than no Zeppelin song. The crowd fell in behind the music, and the people started to have fun. Every little slip up from this point on was funny. When the band had given up on a song when Brueggen couldn't finish it, Rock City Morgue drummer Keith Hajjar stepped in to play the kit like an oversized gorilla. Jeez, I don't if the kit was too high for him or what, but Hajjar put his head down and laid into the drums with the finesse of a caveman. It was great, though. He knew the Zeppelin songs, and after the band stretched out one to a fifteen minute jam, the music stopped.

That whole concert was a good trainwreck. It's all a matter of how seriously you wanna take things.

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