Tribute band sells out LIC Bar to raise funds for ‘The Who’s’ favorite charity
By Eric Hathaway, arts & entertainment reporter
Long Island City rocked on Saturday night to the sound of LIC Bar’s big “Thank You” to British rock band The Who for their donation of new music gear after hurricane Sandy flooded the bar’s basement.
Tribute band “Who’s Next” treated a capacity crowd to a string of songs from nearly 50 years of music history; with hits from albums like “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia” as well as classic rock songs; including Who favorite, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.
“Who’s Next” bear an uncanny resemblance to the band they have been mimicking for the past 15 years. They performed with all the trademark costumes and gestures of The Who in their late 60’s and ‘70s heyday, before the death of their drummer Keith Moon and well before the more recent passing of bass player John Entwistle.
So this was a trip back to a time when a fair number of the audience would have stood in line, bought the albums and absorbed the words of songs; singing along last night as the band rocked the house down with hits like “Won’t get fooled again” and “Sing Together (with the band)”.
A real treat as a support act was singer guitarist Godfrey Townsend; once again a superb interpreter of classic tracks; with songs by artists like Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Jack Bruce (in whose band he played) and Dave Mason. This was a solo performance with Townsend (no relation and different spelling) displaying his mastery of a repertoire that is rooted in the blues, with expert guitar picking and an easy, confident style. Townsend played with the John Entwistle band and in homage to the night’s theme played a few Who songs, giving them a spin that was very much his own.
The evening was MC’d by legendary WLIR and WRCN-FM DJ, long time stalwart of The Who, Dennis McNamara. He took the stage for the raffle draw, along with LIC Bar music impresario Gus Rodriguez, and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch, who first contacted The Who after their Sandy concert.
The occasion was also graced by an appearance from local council member and music fan, Jimmy Van Bramer. One lucky patron walked away with no less than 3 raffle prizes, including the headline Gibson SG guitar, signed by Pete Townshend. About $7,000 was raised for Teen Cancer America, The Who’s official charity, from the night.