Low Cut Connie might be a new name to you; they are a fairly new name to me too. It was just last year they popped up on my rock ‘n’ roll radar after I was recommended their 2017 album ‘Dirty Pictures (Part 1)’.
If I mention the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John and Billy Joel for starters, then you might get where this Philadelphia based rock ‘n’ roll outfit is coming from. Led by the piano-bashing Adam Weiner, Low Cut Connie has 5 albums under their collective belts and tour the world extensively. Check out the YouTube footage, it doesn’t lie. This is the sort of band that excels in hot and sweaty clubs, pubs and juke joints. This is the sort of band that I would travel far and wide to see, I can just tell they are going to be worth the admission price and more.
The Fulford Arms is pretty busy tonight and the temperature is rising as the band take to the stage and ready themselves. Singer Adam Weiner is last to take his place by his road-weathered piano, as he is busy hugging and shaking hands with as many people as he can, as he makes his way through the audience to the stage. Dressed in black, with a rather fetching gold and black short jacket, he looks like a cross between Steve Carell, Liberace and a matador.
He immediately beckons to the sound guy, in an effort to turn the lights up on the crowd so he can see every one of his (soon to be) adoring fans. Before they have even played a note, the atmosphere is electric and I can already feel that this could be one of the best gigs of the year.
No messing about, he sits at his piano, which is positioned side on to the crowd for maximum interaction, and the band are straight into ‘All These Kids Are Way Too High’ the opening track of ‘Dirty Pictures (Part 2)’. Low Cut Connie 2019 has a few new faces, and while key members Adam and guitarist Will remain, the new band are a tight unit that seems like they have been jamming the clubs together for years. But its Adam’s show from the off. When he’s not tinkling the ivories, he stands on his stool, he clambers on top of the piano, using it like a climbing frame, an extension of his art.
I couldn’t tell you the name of the players other than backing singer and chief tambourine girl Abi (we met her after the show). The pink haired singer appears to be having the time of her life, smiling her ass off and dancing to the, quite frankly, very danceable tunes.
It’s not long before Adam is stripped down to a white vest and braces, his black hair stuck to his head, drenched in sweat. How his guitar player manages a whole set in a leather jacket is beyond me…must be an American thing!
The countrified ‘Big Thighs. NJ’ sees the singer perched atop his piano, legs crossed, as his guitar player rips out tasty slide guitar over a catchy, hickey melody. A highlight of the night for sure. The following ‘Angela’ sees him balancing on his stool like some crazy ass crane.
Song after song flows as the heat rises. This is high energy, pure and unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll. Adam knows how to work a crowd in a way only years of paying your dues in clubs can teach you. Sure, I get the obvious Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis comparisons, but for me, I imagine this is what it would have been like to experience Bruce Springsteen working the clubs back in the ’70s. There is something authentic and wholesome about a Low Cut Connie live show. It’s not just the songs, the singer has a way of drawing you in like he is doing a personal performance just for you. There is no going through the motions, he means it. This is blood, sweat, and tears, a full-on performance from a band who play 150 plus shows a year. They work hard, they play hard and it shows.
It helps that they have the songs to match the performance too. ‘Dirty Water’ incites crowd chorus shout-a-longs, and the following ‘Revolution Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is the over-cool radio hit that should have been.
Their cover of Alex Chilton’s ‘Hey! Little Child’ is perfect for this atmosphere. Extended and jammed out, this lost ’70s pop ditty is taken up a level, with its high energy marching beat. The band makes it their own. The upbeat ‘Oh Suzanne’ follows it’s a great tune, fair play. The whole band are loving it and smiling as they play their hearts out for us.
Adam Weiner and his band didn’t just visit The Fulford Arms to play some songs tonight, they came to put on a rock ‘n’ roll show and entertain us. I don’t think anyone here went home disappointed, we sure got out money’s worth and I think this band made some new friends.
Wowing crowds across continents, Low Cut Connie could well be the best American bar band since Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. Miss them and you miss out.
Author: Ben Hughes