A L L . O P I N I O N . N O . F A C T
Royal Crown Review: In Concert Last Spring

There was no downside to the Royal Crown Revue Show at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco on April 20th. Recently signed by Warner Brothers, Royal Crown Revue has officially crossed the threshold from Los Angeles local fetish swing act to a national phenomenon with both professionalism and polish. Those swing boys are *smooth*.

The band played a full set of its trademark blend of 40's upbeat swing, blues and jazz, performing before a full house of vintage-attired young and happy San Francisco hipsters and retro aficionados. The opening band, the Insiders, complete with two outstanding female vocalists and four sax players, set the stage for the high energy evening that did not sag once.

From their opening instrumental number, which showcased drummer Daniel Glass's signature lefty style and pizazz, through RCR's official hit, "Hey Pachuco!" - which was highlighted in Jim Carey's recent hit movie, "The Mask" (and appears on the movie's soundtrack) -- to their two encore songs, RCR kept the well dressed and swanky cocktail lounge crowd swinging, hopping and smiling (demurely, of course) all night. Vocalist Eddie Nichols bounced about on stage as if this were his first escape from a lifetime in prison, jumping and boxing and crooning in his unmistakably upbeat part-blues/part-jazz style. These men are more than romance; they are passion.

When the band lined up on stage -- Mando Drame and Bill Ungerman with on sax, Scott Steen on trumpet, James Achor on guitar and Nichols with his mic -- the zoot-suited young musicians together exuded more attitude and style than even the best attired sheath-dress donning female or gangster-hat sporting male in the dancing crowd. Combined with the red velvet plush of Bimbo's 365 Club, the martini-shaking bartenders, and the filtered cigarette smoking hepcat crowd, the show gave a new meaning to the term "eye candy." All this, on top of what was, for all intents and purposes, a flawless musical performance.

With all the garbage to be seen and heard these days, Royal Crown Revue provides a much needed breath of fresh air, and even, perhaps, reason for renewed optimism of a return to what making -- and consuming -- music is supposed to be about. They are real.

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Copyright 1996 Rebecca Eisenberg mars@bossanova.com. All rights reserved.