Great Lost New England Bands #2: Swinging Steaks
These guys used to do a Friday-nights-in-the-summertime residency at what used to be called Granny Killam's on Market Street in the Old Port. They were amazing.
It was 1992 and for about a month or so (I think it was August), at the end of the work week my wife and I would meet up with a couple of long time friends from Massachusetts and get down to that Cavern Club-esque venue and enjoy some of the the best rock and roll nights we've ever had (and, for the record, we've seen everybody we've ever wanted to see).
Nothing beats being up close and you practically couldn't help it at Granny's. Meanwhile, The Steaks (from Boston, Mass.) were sharp, kids: two guitarists who took turns on lead vocals and lead guitar, a keyboardist who could honky-tonk like Elton while the bass and drums held it together with Stones-like precision (the drummer had just come over from another notorious Beantown outfit, The Del Fuegos).
As is almost always the case with truly great live bands, Swinging Steaks had genuine talent and an over-the-top knack for making it look easy, especially when it came to doing four-part harmony vocals, like The Everly Brothers on steroids or something. And while their overall sound was very country based (at a time when it was maybe not so rock-cool to do so), the heartfelt honesty of their performances would win you over. They loved what they were doing and you just knew they meant it.
From Gram Parsons-like originals to the well-placed-in-the-set covers (their version of The Stones' "Respectable" had my jaw on the floor), Swinging Steaks were a truly great live band and Granny Killam's was the perfect venue for 'em. You had to be there...