Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Waldos at the Bowery Electric

Walter Lure
After playing in a cover band while in college, vocalist/guitarist Walter Lure first hit his hometown New York circuit with the glam-punk Demons in the 1970s. After leaving the Demons, Lure joined Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell and Jerry Nolan in the Heartbreakers in 1975. The Heartbreakers became the darlings of the burgeoning punk circuit, and a year later the band was opening the maligned Sex Pistols tour in England. The Heartbreakers split initially in 1977, but Lure continued playing with Thunders in many reunion shows until Thunders' death in 1991. Meanwhile,  Lure also played on three Ramones albums, recorded a single with the Blessed, and led several local bands, including the Hurricanes, the Heroes, and the Waldos. The Waldos released the Rent Party album in 1993. Since 1995, the Waldos has consisted of Lure and Tak Nakai on guitars, EZ on bass and Joe Rizzo on drums.

Three-fourths of the classic Heartbreakers line-up are dead (Thunders, Nolan and bassist Billy Rath), so seeing the Waldos is about as close as one can get to seeing the Heartbreakers. At the Bowery Electric tonight, what songs were not left over from the Heartbreakers days sounded very much like they should have been. Songs were played with a ragged rock and roll spirit that did not take itself too seriously. "Born to Lose", "Too Much Junkie Business" and "Chinese Rocks" may have been confessionals of the heroin-soaked New York scene of the mid 1970s, but were performed with a sense of humor rather than tragedy. The Waldos did not break new ground, although Lure pointed out that "Get Off the Phone" is more relevant today than back then. In concert, Walter Lure and the Waldos were pure rock and roll fun.

The Waldos will headline the annual Johnny Thunders Birthday Bash at the Bowery Electric on July 14.