Friday, July 30, 2010

Tom's in town: Whoa! Dude! Freebird! Whoo!

Dude’s a monster, a triple threat — drummer, writer, producer. Yeah, on the left wearing the Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt. Old friend Tom  Hambridge, one of the original members of Parker Wheeler’s Blues Party back ... nah, forget it. It couldn’t possibly be almost two decades since he first started working the weekly sessions at the Grog, right? And why Skynyrd, you might ask? Old school nostalgia? Nah, because they’re pals … and soon-to-be shipmates. Hambridge, now living in Nashville, and his band, the Rattlesnakes, will be sailing and wailing with Skynyrd and a dozen other bands on a four-day cruise from Tampa to the Grand Cayman islands in January. And because he wrote five of the tunes on "Vicious Cycle," the Southern rockers’ latest album — surprisingly, a name without an inappropriate “y” in sight — and one on their platinum-selling "Thyrty,” a greatest hits collection that cannot make the same claym. 

TITO's 'Soprano' hits the high notes

Everything seems just hunky-dory, but, almost from the beginning of "The Bald Soprano," you know something is off, and if you say "off what" you are on track, in the zone, whatever that means, in this completely over-the-top absurd Ionesco classic being staged by Theater in the Open. We find the Smiths, a proper English family, which is to say circumspect and bloodless and deceptively matter-of-fact, in their living room, in an unnamed suburb of London, discussing the mundane details of their day-to-day, like the quality of the oil, both cooking and salad, which, the missus says, is delightfully not rancid, as is sometimes the case. They talk about superficially interesting, ultimately distracting facts gleaned through the course of a life well avoided, like the restorative qualities of good-quality yogurt. They talk about the interesting news of the day, like the death of family friend Bobby Watson, not to be confused with his wife, who has the same name, or his son and daughter, who also have the same name, and a chap who actually seems to have died several years before, the mister just failing to bring it up until now. And, speaking of death, they talk about those other irritating facts of life, like how the papers always seem to list the age of people who die, but never of those who are born.