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Review: Neon Love Life at Radio Radio

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Neon Love Life, Eight Inch Betsy, Hero Jr.
Sept. 2, Radio Radio
4 stars

Okay, so I’ve written about Neon Love Life a couple of times now, but there’s something I've neglected to mention: this is one uncannily dynamic live band. No stage tricks, no frills what-so-bloody-ever, just four-on-the-floor rockers, their instruments and the amps turned up to 23. It’s drinking music, rocking music, party music, and most importantly, it's a whole hell of a lot of fun.

All this was on display Friday at Radio Radio, as they unveiled their debut album, Tuesday Night, to a sellout crowd. Opening up were two bands that demonstrated different elements of what makes Neon Love Life themselves so nifty: Eight Inch Betsy, with their melodic yet blistering flavor of stripped-down hard rock, and Hero Jr., with a brand of bluesy hard rock bordering on metal that I didn’t think really existed anymore.

Neon Love Life started out with “Whiskey,” which in addition to being one of their best songs in general, is just a catchy anthem to the bar life itself, with ferocious guitar licks from all sides, some truly exotic rhythms from guitarist Ashley Plummer, thundering drums from Tasha Blackman. Sometimes I worry singer/guitarist Lindsay Manfredi is going to blow out a couple of veins from the intensity.

After that was “Love Control,” a recklessly optimistic piece about throwing aside all limitations. The song sums up the show’s overall package with its general feeling that these four really are enjoying the holy living crap out of this and want to share it with everyone. By the time we close out on Blackman’s vocals on their cover of “Teenage Werewolf,” it’s pretty clear this entire undertaking is fun, a little pointless and enough to let you know Neon Love Life is always in on the joke. Bar music at its best.

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