Last night at The Bowery Electric in Manhattan rock and roll history was made when the New York City debut (and only the second show ever – there was a short set performed at the awesome Asbury Lanes on January 13th) of Manitoba thundered into the downstairs performance space to deliver pure, unadulterated rock and roll to a crowd that had to have been packed in the past legal capacity. Despite the fact that it was too jammed to breath, there was no stopping the handsomest man in rock and roll and his new band from giving 100%.
Former front man for The Dictators (possibly the most underrated NYC band of all time?) and occasional mouthpiece for the MC5, Handsome Dick Manitoba was joined by originals Dictators and former Manowar guitar player Ross The Boss and former Dictators drummer JP Patterson as well as newcomers Daniel Rey on guitar and Dean Rispler on bass. This mix of old and new proved to play like a well oiled machine and it’s to their credit that they sounded as good as they did that night. Ripping through a set made up of tracks from The Dictators catalogue, the Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom album (they opened quite rightly with The Party Starts Now after walking out onto the stage with Chariots of Fire playing behind them!) but they worked a cover of The Stooges’ Loose in there to for good measure.
In a world where image tends to matter more than music a lot of times, it’s great to see and hear these guys doing what they’re doing here. There was no nonsense, they just got up, tore into their set like the pros that they are, and just delivered a completely solid night’s entertainment. Handsome Dick was in fine form, never at a loss for words, while Ross’ guitar sounded fantastic. Patterson kept the beats on time and loud while the new guys pitched in as if they’d been playing with the three others for far longer than they probably have been. Here’s hoping this is just the beginning for Manitoba the band (and that next time they play a bigger space!).