Hustler, Deacon Sean, Cousin Brothers, The Messarounds
NUVO’s Second Annual Elvis Birthday Bash
Saturday, Jan. 6
With pursed lips, shaggy-haired vocalist Dustyn Rothenberger opened NUVO’s Second Annual Elvis Birthday Bash at Locals Only with the King’s “Hound Dog” — bandmate Bill Adams’ stringent guitar solo intact. Bassist Colby Holmes soon joined Rothenberger and Pearl drummer Dustin Koester in an a cappella rendition of “Love Me Tender” (rugged boys choir style), while couples took to dancing. Catching steam with a tight, rocked-out cover of “Suspicious Minds,” the boys proved youth is not a defining factor in musical skill. Tracing smoky lines of Jonny Lang and Jack White, Hustler’s fierce licks helped bring a packed crowd to the dive bar. Guitar vibrato, slides and solos by Adams thrilled Elvis’ rock rather than gospel side.
Playing between bands, Deacon Sean and Uncle Skip sweated out old honky-tonk and a few Elvis covers on acoustic guitars the way whiskey-drinkin’ poker champs like it. The Deacon, in a white cowboy hat and tank top, sang train ramblin’ Midwest odes about “changing his ways” — kind of like Mike Ness of Social Distortion with less punk and more country influence.
Up next, the Cousin Brothers unleashed high-speed powergrass, highlighting mandolinist John Bowyer’s electric solos. It was bluegrass rock … “with wings!” Although repeating covers of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Suspicious Minds,” the Cousin Brothers ripped a hole through the bar with their well-rehearsed, comedic tunes, and by mid-set, half the crowd gathered around the stage and jigged. Upright bassist Kevin Vickery brought a Vince Vaughn/Las Vegas attitude to the stage, wearing fat Elvis shades. Meanwhile, a drunken fan did the “safety dance” in the crowd, cuing a wicked stunt mandolin slide solo by Bowyer. Banjoist Ben Long sang “Heartbreak Hotel” and played acoustic guitar, while the band soon rounded out its set.
Headlining, The Messarounds (featuring Danny Thompson of Bigger Than Elvis and Sloppy Seconds) wailed chops on “A Little Less Conversation” and other Elvis songs.