The Blasters

The last time I saw Phil Alvin was eight or nine years ago. He was sitting on the curb beside his grime-covered tour van in the alley behind the Fabulous Satellite Lounge. It was a chilly night, but Alvin sat slump-shouldered at the curb in his sweat-soaked shirt, staring off like a man who had just finished a marathon or been under artillery fire for weeks. Winded. The thousand-yard stare. On a double bill with the Beat Farmers, he'd just finished a two-hour set of paint-peeling rock and roll so tick-tock tight you couldn't wedge a hacksaw blade between the notes.

They don't tour constantly these days, but the Blasters are still a fearsome, high-octane outfit, who know not only how to lay down some blistering rockers but how to put on a show. Brother Dave may have moved on to more diverse musical pastures, but Phil Alvin and the Blasters continue to do that thing they do so well: deliver some of the staunchest, most righteous roots rock on the planet.

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William Michael Smith