Hearsay: Thursday, September 19, 2002
Rocket 88

Rocket 88

For a brief period of time, not too long ago, HearSay was truly happy. Leggy French maids fed HearSay tumescent éclairs by dawn’s early light, the paparazzi kept a respectful distance, and the sounds of Daryl Hall and John Oates regularly filled the mansion. Ahhhh, sweet Hall & Oates. Amazing what two men, a small city of studio musicians, $300,000,000, and one electric piano could do. Could world peace have been far behind?

Nevermore. A few years after Hall & Oates’ break-up, the staff had fled to more studly pastures, world peace seemed more unattainable than ever, and HearSay sprained its ear listening in vain for quality, piano-based rock.

Then something great happened: All those Gen-X’ers who Mumsy had kept out of contact sports and forced to take piano lessons must have realized, “Hey. This is no way to get laid. I’m starting a rock band,” and boom! An explosion of ebony-and-ivory glory: Ben Folds Five, Imogen Heap, Rufus Wainwright (who’s more Tin Pan Alley than Elton John, but still ...). And the silly thing is, HearSay loves each and every one of these acts. The logical conclusion: Must be the piano. Either that or the people who write on piano are just that much more talented than folks who write on, say, guitars, because HearSay has heard a lot of its fave pianistic tunes replayed on other instruments and has been just as enamored with the resulting sounds. So it’s not the sound of the piano per se, but what’s behind it.

All this is a roundabout way of saying HearSay’s found this new local band into whose arrangement an electric piano figures prominently. They’re called Camino (no relation to The Land of the El Caminos), and they’re made up of refugees from the Jim Squires Band and Circle Theory and are fronted by keyboardist-singer Scott Everett (no relation to Dr. Everett Scott — “Great Scott!”). Their show last week at The Aardvark was only their sixth gig ever, their third with guitarist Dave Randolph, but they played as if they’ve been together since Private Eyes or H20.

The songs approach pop-R&B, but they scream “modern rock.” The guys behind Everett, a heavy-handed pounder who can carry a song all by himself, are top-shelf: Randolph uses feedback like another string, and drummer Eric Dodson is a musical beat-maker who keeps the energy pumping. MVP goes to bassist Jeremy Hull, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday the night of the show and had arrived fresh from playing a gig with a country band (you can also catch him Tuesday nights at The Moon, jazzing out). His fleet lower-register work and backing vocals lend the tunes a lot of their musicality.

Who knows when Camino’s playing next; they don’t gig very often. All that matters is that they’re going into the studio soon and should have something out by the time piano-based rock and HearSay’s life make comeback No. 413.

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