Tommy Flake at The Flat Iron, March 10, 2012

Mar 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Entertainment, Sounds
Randy Seals aka Tommy Flake

Tommy Flake. Photo by MartiniVision.

One of the things that seems to have gone missing from the current machine-generated crap referred to these days as “pop music” is edginess. Edginess has been a part of rock and roll since the earliest days of the genre. Elvis Presley was edgy back in the day – taking chances with things considered totally inappropriate for the time with his veiled sexual overtones, Johnny Cash sang about prison and drug addiction – absolutely unmentionable subjects of the day; and most pertinent – punk rock took edginess to a whole new level by revolting against nearly everything done previously.

That fearless drive to hang on to the edge of the envelope and see how far it can be pushed is a basic drive of the adventurer. Tommy Flake, nom de plume for Randy Seals, is bringing it back and it’s a breath of fresh air. Power pop is making a comeback, especially in the indie music scene but it quite often lacks an edge, an unfortunate side effect of the modern technological era. Tommy performed with a very new ensemble, probably light on rehearsal time that in itself makes everyone hang on the edge. Having been there and done that over the years, it is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. It keeps the band and the audience on its toes, never bored. Tommy took those chances well and made them work. He pushed himself, his guitar and his band up to but never quite over the edge. The end product, admittedly in its early stages, was quite good.

The bottom line here is that edginess keeps everyone’s attention, band and audience alike. It pushes forward. It gives new life to the music, often adding very unique elements to the sound. I especially enjoyed Driveway’s harmonica – the tone seemed much like a raspy saxophone. Flake’s guitar ranged from interesting chordal movements to buzz saw-like driving rhythm. Matty Sheets covered the bass very well, probably driving the band along more than he realized (in the interest of full disclosure, Matty is a writer for Avant Greensboro). Drummer David Pike was solid and Little Mikey Roohan added some soaring sonics to the mix, I expect to see some great things coming from this group as they coalesce as a band.

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