|The Lord Bendover and Count Bassie|
Since forming in 1994 in Boston, Massachusetts, the musicians known collectively as the Upper Crust have adopted the personae of 18th century European aristocrats while playing hard-edged "rocque" and roll. The look includes white powdered faces and wigs and period costumes, and the attitude is that of snobbish noblemen performing before a rabble of plebeians. Since 1996, the quartet has consisted of the Lord Bendover (Nat Freedberg) and the Duc d’Istortion (Dave Fredette) on guitars, Count Bassie (Chris Cote) on bass and Jackie Kickassis (Jim Janota) on drums. The Upper Crust's fourth and most recent studio album is 2009's Revenge for Imagined Slights.
Headlining at the Bowery Electric tonight, the Upper Crust sounded like a band from the 1970s but looked like a band from the 1770s. There was no chamber music here, however. Equal parts rock and mock, the witty lyrics presented the supposed perspective of the Ancien Regime, but seriously headbanged along the lines of rock royalty like early AC/DC and Kiss. Keeping in character, the foppish dandies in big-buckled shoes, velvet knee breeches and ruffled shirts lightened with levity as they raised their pinkies and spoke down to the hoi polloi in fake British accents between songs. All this would have been an overplayed joke if the music had not been solid, but this privileged chaste of musicians rocqued well and proved to be most entertaining.
Visit the Upper Crust at www.theuppercrust.org.