Sunday, November 8, 2009

Satan and Adam

I gotta pick up the pieces of my life,
I gotta start all over again...

While reading a book called "The Show I'll Never Forget", where 50 authors described their most memorable concert-going experience, I couldn't help thinking about what concert I would write about. Even though I attended many of the shows that The Phoenix listed as "The 40 Greatest Concerts in Boston History", the one that I'd ultimately write about is not on that list. In my case, this concert story was over a decade in the making.

In the early 1990's, my interest in music was re-ignited by Nirvana's "Nevermind" and I read magazines and newsgroups looking for the next big thing. I remember reading on the grunge-l newsgroup about a duo called "Satan and Adam". The author wrote that while they weren't punk rock, you should go see them if you ever got the chance.

A year or two later, I saw them listed at The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH and remembered my mental note. I immediately made plans to see them, even though I didn't know exactly what to expect.

The upstairs room was jumping when we arrived, with Mr. Satan playing a fuzzed-out electric guitar, while singing and playing percussion with his feet. Adam played the harmonica and jumped around next to him.  I was amazed, just as I read I would be.

I never saw them again in the decade that passed and read that Mr. Satan was no longer playing music and that his whereabouts were somewhat unknown. In 2009, I not only discovered that a documentary was made on their story, but that they would be doing a show again at The Press Room. I made plans to see them and it was the show I was looking forward to most.

Watch the trailer for "Satan and Adam":

The original show in June was postponed and the details described on Adam's website. I was disappointed, but was able to make the rescheduled show in August. Whether or not it recreated the energy and magic of the first time was not the point. It was inspiring just to see them together after all those years, after all they had been through.

They made a point to come back to The Press Room, as Adam explained, because it was their favorite place north of NYC. And many in the audience that night were there for their shows more than 10 years prior. 

For me, the recent show was as special as the first, but this time it was more about appreciation than entertainment. I got to talk and take pictures with both Adam and Mr. Satan. The entire night was a celebration, more a homecoming party than a concert. It defined what blues music should be. As Stevie Ray Vaughan once sang "Talkin' about good times and singin' the blues".

While they may not travel back to northeast anytime soon, Satan and Adam are planning to record a studio album in December, their first since 1996's Living on the River.

Satan and Adam are Sterling Magee (aka Mr. Satan) and Adam Gussow.

More info:

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