Ian Hunter and the Rant Band at The Hamilton, (Washington, DC – Nov. 2, 2014)
Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric opened, trading off songs such as “Dancing with Joey Ramone” and “Whole Wide World” (now dedicated to his wife, Amy) and engaging the audience with tales about their respective hometowns.
Ian Hunters’s band is tight, talented, and the material is well-arranged. The man can still rock at age 75, with a strong voice (as well as acoustic guitar and electric piano), and the show proceeded at a brisk pace with no small talk between songs.
The band assembled, one by one on the opener “(I’m the) Teacher”. There were some old favorites mixed in with a more current catalog, including “Just Another Night”, “All the Way to Memphis”, “All the Young Dudes”, and a cover of “Sweet Jane” that brought to mind the Dick Wagner/Steve Hunter dual guitar interplay from “Rock and Roll Animal”. Perhaps this was a tribute to the recently departed Wagner or the on- year aniversary of Lou Reed’s death?
The Rant Band featured Mark Bosch and James Mastro on guitars (and mandolin), Andy Burton on keyboards, Paul Page on bass, and Steve Holley on drums. Bosch was particularly inventive on guitar with some great Stones sounding licks. Newer songs included “Black Tears”, “Just the Way You Look Tonight” and, for a town like Washington, the somewhat appropriate “Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse)”. Hunter had a nice mix of up-tempo rockers with slower, sentimental tunes such as “Flowers” and his tribute to the late Mick Ronson, “Michael Picasso”.
I should also note that The Hamilton, a beautiful room, is getting much better on the sound/soundman front. The room used to really suffer (harsh sound) with loud rock and roll and lackluster soundmen. This bodes well for the upcoming Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express show. Also on tap at the venue is Hot Rize (with Bryan Sutton filling Charles Sawtelle’s guitar chair)!