Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Fleshtones at the Bowery Electric

Peter Zaremba
The Fleshtones began in 1976 in the basement of a house in Queens, New York, where a previous tenant had left behind some musical instruments. Several neighborhood would-be musicians joined the new residents there and formed a band. The Fleshtones debuted at CBGB's on May 19, 1976, and quickly began headlining the local club circuit. The band's lineup changed many times but has remained stable since 1990, with original members Keith Streng (guitar) and Peter Zaremba (harmonica, keyboards, vocals), along with Bill Milhizer (drums & vocals), and Ken Fox (bass, vocals). The Fleshtones' 16th album, Wheel of Talent, was released on February 11, 2014.

Returning tonight for what seems to be an annual performance at the Bowery Electric, the Fleshtones polished traditional garage-rock with some slick antics and put on a pleasing performance. Often during the show, Zaremba announced "Let the wheel of talent spin," as he and the musicians twirled in place until Zaremba named the next song, pointing to the musician who would lead it. The band members remained playful throughout the set, with Zaremba leaning hard on his rhythm & blues call and response and the band members charging frequently into the audience. Opening with "Hitsburg, USA" and ending with "Remember the Ramones" and "My Kinda Lovin'," the Fleshtones' three-chord garage-rock, rallied with pop melodies and harmonies and a lot of sweat, made for a rocking party.