April 23, 2010
by Seth Albaum
Los Retros is a side project of Dave Mangione and Randy Hopkins of The Vic Morrows Band (link to FB page), a group that has been together since 1995 playing original retro-alternative hard rock with a strong surf influence. Friday night at Turbine, they were also joined by The Vic Morrows drummer Cliff Goodman, and eventually by a cohort with a mandelin.
While Los Retros plays more covers, their song choices were a smart and a refreshing departure from the usual blues-style cover bands that overpopulate the North Shore. It isn’t that I don’t like blues, it’s just that one can only stand to hear Mustang Sally so many times at so many bars.
And while their selections were smart, they weren’t inaccessible. The drummer kept his loudness reasonable and the band could play driving power-pop, such as Nick Lowe’s Cruel to be Kind, without driving the patrons out. It was a social and chatty audience, but by that point in the night people were clearly pulled in by the band. One woman was nearly beside herself over the memories that song was bringing back of 1979, when she was just ten. (Yes, she inadvertently spilled her age in excitement, but LH will protect her identity.)
Los Retros would weave seamlessly through decades of rock, the more obscure and the easily recognizable. When playing the Smithereens, I thought Dave Mangione did a fine Pat DiNizio. In fact, I was reminded of the Jersey band’s sound earlier in the night, and it wasn’t long after mentioning it to a friend that they went for it. They couldn’t have overheard me then, but when I recognized the bass line from Fisher Z’s So Long during a short song break, I ran straight up to them to find out if I was on the money, and somewhat obliged them to play it. And as far as more popular songs go, they did justice to the ‘Stone’s Paint it Black, too.
I have to give credit to Stephen Hanley of Turbine for creating a unique scene in Central Square Lynn with an eclectic menu, big selection of wines and carefully selected beers. I also thank him for bringing the edge back to Central Square’s music scene if live bands are to be an ongoing feature. Even the recorded music over the house system is great. It’ll perk up the ears of those so-inclined, but won’t turn away those with more limited taste. That’s a tough balance.
Turbine Wine Bar is located at 56 Central Square in Lynn, MA.
Take a look at some photos: