Stray Cats, from left to right: Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom (Photo by Russ Harrington)
From the balcony, in a rickety old theatre in Rochester, New York. That’s where I first saw the Stray Cats perform, back in 1984. And when they started rocking, that balcony pitched up and down in a way that probably should have concerned us a bit more. But it was college, we were cool, and the band left us little choice — you couldn’t have sat still for this one. I walked into that show all those years ago a casual attendee, and left a dedicated fan.
Brian Setzer performs at The Anthem on Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/Instagram+Twitter: Insomnigraphic/GrillworksBen)
No offense to the National Symphony Orchestra, but The BSO has got way mo’ boogie than the NSO. The BSO, or The Brian Setzer Orchestra, was in town for their 15th Annual Christmas Rocks tour recently at The Anthem.
Brian Setzer (Photo by Suzie Kaplan)
Rockabilly crooner Brian Setzer will bring The Brian Setzer Orchestra to The Anthem for its 15th annual Christmas show on Friday, Nov. 30. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with great music and good fun with one of modern rock’s most accomplished frontmen?
Brian Setzer Orchestra performs on their Christmas Rocks! Tour at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andrzej Liguz)
I vividly remember the friend who put me on to the music of the Stray Cats 30+ years ago, as he was living the zeitgeist of the ’80s rockabilly revival. I was in Rochester, New York, attending RIT, and he’d come up from Jersey to attend school there as well. He had the greaser haircut, the leather jacket, rolled up cuffs on his jeans, cigarettes under his T-shirt sleeve, and designs on marrying his still virginal high school sweetheart once he got his degree.
The Stray Cats were in constant rotation in his dorm room, and he said to me once, “Y’know, even if this whole rockabilly scene fades away tomorrow, this guy Setzer’s still got a job for life.” He was referring to Stray Cats frontman Brian Setzer’s formidable talent as a guitarist. It was clearly evident back then, even if Setzer’s stylistic trappings were a little different from rock hero contemporaries like Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Christmas Tour (Photo courtesy Mitch Schneider Organization)
Rocker Brian Setzer celebrated two anniversaries this year! It’s the 25th anniversary for The Brian Setzer Orchestra (BSO), whose self-titled debut album launched their beginnings with the song “Lady Luck.” And it’s also the 14th anniversary of the BSO Christmas Tour! The Orchestra brings their Christmas Tour to Warner Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 25, and remarkably there are a few tickets left.