Sunday, December 30, 2018

Handsome Dick Manitoba & the Wanderers at the Bowery Electric

Handsome Dick Manitoba
Is a comeback possible for a rocker whose history has gone so wrong so many times? Bronx-born Richard Blum, better known as Handsome Dick Manitoba, started a music career in 1973 as a roadie for the Dictators, a seminal punk rock band inspired by the Detroit rock style of the MC5 and the Stooges. He became the band's lead singer in 1975, but in 1981, after three albums, the main songwriters left. In 1986, Manitoba along with some former Dictators formed Wild Kingdom, released a 1990 album as Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, and then reformed as the Dictators in 1991. From 2004 to 2018, Manitoba hosted The Handsome Dick Manitoba Radio Program, and sporadically from 2005 to 2012, Manitoba fronted the reformed MC5. In 2012, he led a new band, Manitoba, which in 2013 became the Dictators NYC. In 2017, the band name reverted to Manitoba due to legal threats by ex-Dictators. In 2018, Manitoba was imprisoned on domestic violence charges, he was fired from his radio post for insensitive and politically incorrect rants, a rift developed between him and his most recent Dictators line-up, and his stake in Manitoba's, the East Village bar he co-owns, has an uncertain future. Handsome Dick Manitoba‘s first solo album, Born in the Bronx, is pending release and he is hoping to launch a podcast series. Is there a road to success when so many bridges have been burned?

If anything, Handsome Dick Manitoba has proven to be a survivor. At the Bowery Electric tonight, Manitoba performed with a solid band of pickup musicians whose names he did not remember: guitarists Matt Langone (the Hipps Pipps, Gotham Rockets) and Mike Dudolevitch (the Nuclears), bassist Mike Dee (the Carvels NYC, the Thrill Sergeants), and drummer Joe Vincent (Gotham Rockets). Together, they played songs from throughout Manitoba's catalog plus songs from his projected release. Known for his larger than life personality and lengthy off-the-cuff rambling between songs, the new band held back the reigns by starting a song if Manitoba spoke too long. Between songs, Manitoba perhaps over-shared some of his recent personal struggles, but interestingly framed them in an amusing or victorious light, and he sang with bursting energy while the band rocked. It may take a while for many of the locals to forgive Manitoba for some of his massive errors of late, but he has solid new songs and is a thoroughly enthralling entertainer, so in time a comeback very well may be possible.

Setlist:
  1. (I Live for) Cars and Girls (The Dictators song)
  2. The Perfect High (Manitoba's Wild Kingdom song)
  3. The Party Starts Now (Manitoba's Wild Kingdom song)
  4. Supply and Demand (The Dictators NYC song)
  5. Baby Let's Twist (The Dictators song)
  6. Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire cover)
  7. Callie May
  8. Teenage Head (Flamin' Groovies cover)
  9. The Soul Punk King of New York City
  10. New York, New York (Manitoba's Wild Kingdom song)
  11. Stay with Me (The Dictators song)
  12. Faster and Louder (The Dictators song)
  13. Who Will Save Rock and Roll (The Dictators song)
  14. California Sun (Joe Jones cover)
  15. Kick Out the Jams (MC5 cover)