Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spanking Charlene at the Bowery Electric

Charlene McPherson
Vocalist Charlene McPherson knows she has a big fanny. The name of her band, Spanking Charlene, pokes fun at that attribute. The rock band was formed in 2007 in Brooklyn, New York, and almost immediately released a debut album. Little Steven Van Zandt featured the music on his Underground Garage radio program and then named Spanking Charlene as the "Best Unsigned Band in America" after he had the three finalists perform in a contest at Pianos. The grand prize was having Van Zandt produce two songs for the winning band. These two songs, “Dismissed with a Kiss” and “Canarsie," appeared on the band's second album, 2012's Where Are the Freaks? Spanking Charlene is comprised of McPherson, guitarists Mo Goldner and Eric Ambel, bassist David Leatherwood, and drummer Eric Seftel.

At the Bowery Electric tonight, Spanking Charlene played straight-up, no frills pop rock music. Much like mid-1960s radio music, everything boiled down to a tight ensemble of musicians supporting songs that revolved around catchy hooks and gripping vocals. McPherson's sweetly soulful and sultry vocals were kept up front, soaring above the rocking guitar-based rhythms on uptempo songs about life and love in New York City. The jagged-edge guitar sounds kept the songs from becoming overly slick. While not really a punk band, Spanking Charlene's set included a cover of X-Ray Specs' anthem from 1977, "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" Spanking Charlene made old-styled music sound fresh again.

Visit Spanking Charlene at