Ed Smith & The Ego at The Whiskey Bar

Plus a rockin’ birthday party for bassist Paul Guzzo. Heavy rock with a playful, cocksure attitude made for a great set of music. Not to mention … talkbox!

Plus a rockin’ birthday party for bassist Paul Guzzo

May 12, 2010: I was at the Whiskey Bar (125 Washington St, Hoboken) for a few reasons. It was photographer and bassist for Crewman Number Six Paul Guzzo’s birthday. This annual shindig marks an all-too rare night of great original music at what is one of the best live rooms in NJ. Crewman Number Six doesn’t perform as much as they used to. None of us do really. And all that pent up energy really exploded tonight. After this, I bet (hope) they play out more.

I also wanted to support Infernophonic who were, at the very last minute, unable to perform at the recent Global Fund for Women Benefit Show. Their nonstop fun, balls-to-the-wall wailing of funk and the addition of new back up singers has made them even more of a live set that should not be missed.

But a big reason I came (no offense guys) was to see what Ed Smith & The Ego were up to. The first time I had seen the project from Ed Smith (former bassist of The Fave, now on guitar/vocals) was in October 2009 at Gibbypalooza. Back then I was blown away by the originality and the power of the music. Tonight, too.

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Heavy rock with a playful-yet-cocksure stage presence made for a great set of music. And those who think use of the talkbox is reserved solely for bad Bon Jovi coverbands need to get schooled on Peter Frampton, Joe Perry and now Ed Smith. When done right (as it was tonight), this silly gadget can add an unforeseen dimension of awesome to already damned solid songs.

The band, which also included Paul Guzzo on bass, Chris “Gibby” Gibson on guitar and Greg Merkel on drums, ended their set with a fiery version of “Tie Your Mother Down” by Queen. I may hate the idea that this place is usually filled with cover-loving college kids, but I have nothing against the occasional tribute. Especially one done as well and with as much respect and admiration as this.

Make sure you seek out Ed Smith & The Ego. You’ll be glad you did.

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