'Glad' to be here

The Gladstones perform rock ‘n’ roll at Charlottesville’s Dürty Nelly’s

The Gladstones performed at Charlottesville’s Dürty Nelly’s last weekend in front of an audience ranging from graduate students to an elderly demographic.

The local Charlottesville band began when Bob Girard, lead soloist, decided to resurrect guitar playing as therapy for his shattered arm.

With Girard and Charlie Pastorfield on the guitar, Steve Riggs, a veteran Charlottesville bassist and Jim Ralston on the drums, the group performs its old school rock ‘n’ roll at local clubs, parties and weddings.

Girard began the night saying, “Welcome to Dürty Nelly’s portajohn.” For those who had never been to Dürty Nelly’s, myself included, this was not a welcoming introduction. But my initial fears quickly disappeared as the group began its setlist.

The Gladstones resemble a typical boy band, heavy on guitarists and multiple background singers. However, their appearance was not entirely stereotypical: all of the performers were sporting the graphic-tee-with-jeans look, but they were all old, white-haired or bald men — any one of them could have been my grandfather. Girard even resembled Thomas Jefferson with his white, ear-length hair cut similar to the style of a powdered wig.

Their cover of Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo” best demonstrated each member’s mellow side — even Ralston’s, whose performance consisted of head banging and the tapping of drumsticks the rest of the night.

In their rendition of Gene Vincent’s “Pretty Pretty Baby,” Ralston’s intensity shown as he began squinting his eyes and scrunching up his nose. The audience was entranced by the catchy, repetitive chorus, “pretty, pretty, baby” and began dancing in front of the platform where the band was performing. Even the bartenders were shaking and bopping along.

Pastorfield was by far the most notable of the guitarists, performing extremely impressive solos throughout the night. Although he did not head bang like Ralston, he would move his guitar up and down like a typical rock star, and when he sang, his mouth looked like the opening to an abyss — I was reminded of the mouth of Beaker from the Muppets. This was definitely a sight to see.

Overall, the live rock ‘n’ roll music coupled with Girard’s jokes made for an entertaining evening — even if it seemed to only attract a more aged crowd.

Published February 25, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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