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Concert Review: TAB The Band (w/Joe Perry) @ Hard Rock Café, Boston, MA 2/29/08

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Guitarist Tony Perry, lead singer/bassist Adrian Perry and drummer Ben Tileston make up the Duxbury, MA garage and blues rock trio better known as TAB The Band. Despite the silly name, an acronym for the members' first names, this is a fast-emerging rock band with some serious connections in the music business: rock icon and guitar god Joe Perry of Aerosmith happens to be the father of the Perry boys.

The elder Perry joined his sons' band for a full slate of hard rock and roll last Friday night. The 75-minute, 17-song set was both a Leap Year birthday bash for former Boston Bruin and current WAAF-FM (Boston) rock radio jock LB (Lyndon Byers) and a benefit show. Musicians On Call, a nonprofit organization that heals patients in healthcare facilities with music will receive proceeds from this and six other shows the band is doing at select Hard Rock Café locations as part of its concert series. [Joe Perry participated in the first two of these shows in Boston and New York, respectively]

The audience was made up of contest winners (courtesy of radio stations, including WAAF-FM) and there were significantly more 30-to-50-year-olds among them than anyone the band's age — Tony and Adrian are currently in college, according to their proud papa. With lots of reserved tables at the Hard Rock, sure it looked like a typical corporate event, but most people there were clearly longtime Aerosmith fans watching the next generation play with a hero of theirs for one special night.

When TAB The Band and Joe Perry finally left the dressing room area and hit the stage — they were nearly twenty minutes late, around 9:20pm ET — it didn't take long for the audience to realize they were in for a treat. This was not going to be merely Joe Perry joining Tab The Band to jam on their tunes; it was mostly the other way around, which I'm sure did not disappoint many in attendance.

First came the bouncy blues rock of "Roadrunner" (a Bo Diddley cover Aerosmith recorded for Honkin' On Bobo). Next was a rockin' but not exactly note-perfect rendition of "Walkin' The Dog" and a slew of other lesser known Aerosmith tunes and selections from Joe Perry's own solo catalogue.

Many of the songs performed this night were, according to Joe Perry either longtime requests from Aerosmith fans that he hardly ever gets a chance to play live, or jams that his kids always wanted him to play. "Combination," from the classic Rocks LP was a hit with the crowd. "Bright Light Fright," from 1977's Draw The Line album was ferocious, and as the Aerosmith axe man pointed out, was written during the Sex Pistols' heyday and influenced by them. Perry performed it on what he called the ugliest (black) guitar you'll ever see, the same exact one he used on the set of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" video with Run D.M.C. The on stage banter continued as Joe told the crowd that his wife, who was in that video, was also pregnant with Tony at the time.

His other son, Adrian Perry clearly shined on many tunes, especially "Secretary's Day" (from TAB's recent debut CD Pulling Out Just Enough To Win), where he wailed away on vocals. As one rabid fan put it, "That was f**kin' hot, man!" Another Pulling Out track, the warm and sunny "CYT" also killed. These tunes had the swagger and vigor of early Stones and, wait for it…Aerosmith.

As far as the elder Perry's vocals are concerned, it's not that he can't sing, because clearly he does an adequate job in the studio. But his passion for singing and vocal range, live or in studio are weak compared to his electrifying guitar skills. "Hold On Me," the heavy hard rocker from his 2005 self-titled solo CD kicked butt, but his vocals on this and some others were okay but uninspiring. Joe sounded best when his two sons sang with him on tracks like the title track of the Joe Perry Project's (1980) debut album "Let The Music Do The Talking," and the more recent slide-dominant blues number "Shakin' My Cage."

Aerosmith fans are well aware that Joe Perry can shred a guitar with his fingers or with a slide. It was doubly cool to see him and his son Tony engaging in dueling slide solos on tracks like "Talk Talking" and "Shakin' My Cage." The "Perry Ave." street sign replica on the back portion of the stage was a nice touch as well, though the closest to it, ironically was Tileston, the drummer (who actually lives near the Perrys).

Overall, much like Joe Perry's sparkling black shoes, TAB The Band shined and delighted the capacity crowd of about 350. This rare performance on a rare night pretty much lived up to my expectations, even if the band wasn't flawless. There were no tense moments or train wrecks, just a bunch of highly skilled musicians having a lot of fun. It was a loud, raw, rock and roll evening. Who could've asked for more?

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For more info on TAB The Band, visit their Myspace page.

To see photos from the show, go to the Joe Perry fan site Justinsphotos.com.

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About Charlie Doherty

Copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; print/web journalist/freelancer, formerly for Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; co-head sports editor & asst. music editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA); Featured in Guitar World May 2014. See me on twitter.com/chucko33, myspace.com/charlied, & Facebook.
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