The original Bowery Boys were a mid-19th century nativist anti-Catholic and anti-Irish gang in New York. One hundred years later, the Bowery Boys were a comedic team of actors that made dozens of films in the 1940s and 1950s. The present day Bowery Boys is a band led by vocalist/guitarist Joff Wilson (often stylized as jOff wilsOn). Wilson started playing guitar left-handed as a youth in Rochester, New York. Upon relocating to New York City and settling into the East Village in 2005, he began teaching guitar lessons by day while at night he played behind the late Jim Carroll, David Peel, Puma Perl and other downtown luminaries. His primary musical vehicle now is his Bowery Boys, which presently consists of Wilson, bassist Dav McGauley and drummer Jeanne Carno-Rosenberg.
The Bowery Boys performed an unannounced set tonight in Frank Wood's Wind-Down Sundays concert series at Otto's Shrunken Head, and the small audience responded by abandoning chairs for the dance floor. The songs were fashioned after 1960s guitar-based garage-rock, with Wilson singing bubble gum melodies and playing Chuck-Berry-styled leads while the band powered the songs like the Ramones. Yes, it was a bit retro and a bit classic, but it was all about bringing the fun back into rock and roll.