Very, very greasy

· Music

David Lindley’s ’80s band El Rayo-X reunited recently for some shows and I saw them play last night at the Fillmore with Michael Z. and Suki. What a great show! So many highlight, I’m not sure where to start. Perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser was “She Took Off My Romeo” during which Lindley had the audience sing the chorus a few times, and then asked us to sing it all high (in falsetto), and then low (all basso profundo). It was really fun and he was obviously getting off on it, because he kept mentioning just how “sick” it had been, how “insane.” He also said that they were taping the show so we’re all going to be on the CD.
What else? He played my favorite El Rayo-X number, “Quarter of a Man,” along with so many others “Let the Girl Go Home,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” (“Mama, I’m depending on you/To tell I the truth”), “Bye-Bye Love” (first encore), “Werewolves of London” (second encore, with a long improvised riff twisting on the “Saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen/Doing the werewolves of London” lyric – in this case he saw George Bush walking with Margaret Thatcher, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger walking with George Schultz… naturally it turned out to be Arnold drinking a pina colada in Trader Vic’s – his hair was perfect, which led into a long disquisition on Mr. Dave’s hair, which is of course “very, very greasy”), “Twist and Shout,” “Brother John,” and so many others, most in Lindley’s famous whiteguy reggae stylee.
The audience was mostly of an age to know who Lindley was (probably from his backing work on records by Linda Rondstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon, and others), so I was among the youngest there, which is a rare experience for me at a rock shows these days. In addition to original Rayo drummer Walfredo Reyes (now with Santana), Lindley’s current musical partner, Wally Ingram, also sat in on drums and weird percussion objects (like his famous tin dustpan and what looked like a WWI combat helmet). The “Dos Wallies” played a few snappy drum duets that were sinuous and at times melodic, never lapsing into the terrible clichés of drum solos and duets established by arena rock bands in the ’70s.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some highlights, but that should give the flavor of the evening. Nice souvenir poster, too!