Caught live — Ricky Wilcox & the Moonsnakes
with Steve Connelly
Amid the unsettling news reports from Charlottesville, Va., local music fans enjoyed healthy sonic distraction Saturday night, courtesy of some local music heavyweights at the Hideaway Cafe.
Steve Connelly — a living legend who has gigged locally for the past four decades, survived some major setbacks and got well-deserved star treatment at the Palladium’s July When I’m 64 concert/birthday celebration — played a low-key, folk rock acoustic set to a Hideaway packed house. The guitar savant and producer was a little self-effacing talking about the solo acoustic gig, but take our word for it, it was a treat. He kept us and the rest of the crowd rapt with his heartfelt performance and sweet strums.
Celebrating her birthday at the show, local writer Lisa Spencer got a shot out from Wilcox, who led the crowd in singing a birthday tune for her.
Ricky Wilcox & the Moonsnakes followed, wrapped the intimate-but-packed room in a shimmery throw of power-pop stylings. Frontman Wilcox, who used to play with rhythmic, new wave rockers Deloris Telescope — an ’80s band that often shared the same bill as Connelly’s Headlights — amused the crowd with sassy but personable stage banter, once likening a love song to “yet another tale of dysfunction and codependence.” He and his Moonsnakes were both tight and effervescent.
The Moonsnakes lineup included Connelly, who added just the right complement with his soaring melodies. plus Jim brown on bass, Alex Wolfe Parnes on drums, and Jeff Graves on guitar. In unison, they conjured a wide range of time periods and pop styles, from Wilco to the Beach Boys to Tom Petty to early R.E.M., Big Star and Elvis Costello. (Drummer Rick Boucher was among the original lineup; read here for his podcast.)
Their latest release, Last Day on Planet Earth, on Sunshine Drenchy, offers hooks and musicianship aplenty, as did the show Saturday night.
Throughout the years, Wilcox and Connelly have played alongside or on the same bill as some big names. Wilcox has played with various bands that have opened for the Police, Rick Springfield, the Gin Blossoms, the Butthole Surfers, A Flock of Seagulls and X. Connelly’s Headlights gigged live with Byrds lead singer and (Indian Rocks Beach resident) Roger McGuinn, as seen here on The Tonight Show in 1991.
Text by Julie Garisto; photos by Daniel Veintimilla