Music Park: SSHH @ The Roxy Hotel (NYC) — 10/18/16

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Sshh Liguz sings while Zak Starkey plays guitar in the background and Glen Matlock plays bass in the foreground at the Roxy Hotel in New York City on Oct. 18, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Sshh Liguz, she a blonde Australian fury, and Zak Starkey, he the famous musician son of famous musician Ringo Starr, brought their album of covers to the Roxy Hotel in New York City to party down. In doing so, SSHH made a big impression on an elegant if tiny stage in their debut US show in New York City last week, playing a performance for charity Teen Cancer America.

SSHH developed a covers album, titled Issues, with support from PledgeMusic, and it consists of 11 tracks ranging from “Problems” by The Sex Pistols to “All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople to “Private Life” by The Pretenders. (You can support the album or buy a copy here!)

SSHH rocked down the basement bar of the Roxy Hotel (a room called The Django) with fiery versions of seven of their cover songs, and they did so with unmatched flair in part because their full band consisted of several of the original contributors to some of their classic tunes.

You see, bassist Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols was on hand to perform for the entire set, including the cover of “Problems.” The sharp-dressed bassist was an extraordinary performer, and it was worth going to the show to see him in a US performance alone! And as I was packed in at his side of the stage, most of my pictures feature Glen looking cooler than a cat.

As if that weren’t remarkable enough, the UK-based members of SSHH were joined by a couple of well-known New Yorkers. Clem Burke of Blondie, a longtime personal favorite, played drums for the set, which included a cover of Blondie’s “One Way or Another.” I swear Clem went to work with a bolt of extra verve for that song because you could see the excitement in his body language when he laid down the opening notes of his own number. It was the height of any concert experience to see Clem fluidly bang the drums as a gracefully kinetic arc of talented raw energy, particularly when he was only 10 feet away!

And none other than Marky Ramone, once drummer to The Ramones, played an intimate DJ set of ’50s and ’60s tunes before SSHH took to the stage, giving an extra dose of rock-n-roll to the entire proceedings for sure but also adding to the surrealness. Here we are with Marky, Clem, Glen, and Zak, and we have this slender rock vixen rolling in from the blue to tie it all together. You wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it!

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For her part, the youthful Sshh was a terrific lead, strutting, sashaying, and roaring along in a manner that would have made Debbie Harry or Chrissie Hynde proud. And Zak Starkey, taking a break from drumming for The Who, took up guitar for the set. He was a wonderfully gregarious guitarist, and he kept a watchful eye over the proceedings to ensure everything was rolling smoothly.

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The setlist consisted mostly of songs from the album (plus a few extra):
“Private Life” by The Pretenders
“One Way or Another” by Blondie
“Down on the Street” by The Stooges
“Shoot Speed Kill Light” by Primal Scream
“Stepping Stone” by Paul Revere and The Raiders (also known as a Sex Pistols’ staple)
“Problems” by The Sex Pistols
“All the Young Dudes” by Matt the Hoople

Sshh and Zak are still kicking around the United States, and they perform a show at the Viper Room in Los Angeles on Nov. 4. You’ll love it if you can check it out! They will be joined by Santa Davis, Tony Chin, and Fully Fulwood (of Word Sound and Power, Soul Syndicate) for the show.

Despite being called SSHH, I do hope we’ll hear more loud, brash punk rock from Sshh and Zak soon! Here are some pictures for the performance by SSHH in New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 18. (Don’t blink or you’ll miss photographer Mick Rock giving an intro below.)

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