Blair Crimmins and the Hookers, Megan Jean and the KFB
The Tin Roof
July 16

The sweaty scene at Tin Roof was irresistibly jumpy on Saturday night as local duo Megan Jean and the KFB and headlining artist Blair Crimmins and his dapper Atlanta combo stoked the crowd with jazzy performances.

It was a pretty full house when singer/guitarist/percussionist Megan Jean Glemboski and bassist/banjo player Bryne Klay hit the stage. Having survived a series of automobile breakdowns and misadventures on the road over the last few weeks, they looked pleased and relieved to be among local friends and fans as they pounded through a very tight and dynamic set. The twosome covered much of their recent indie release, Dead Woman Walkin’. A local crew of swing dancers took turns doing fast-paced twists and steps to the more upbeat tunes.

Glemboski’s operatic voice carried well over the din of plucked and strummed acoustic strings and the thump of her customized bass drum (a large tom on its side, fixed with a backwards kick drum pedal). She sang passionately, often with a wide-eyed grin on her face. Klay, looking quite Rasputin-esque with his heavy beard, embellished each song with a variety of wild flourishes on his upright bass and banjo. They revved up their gypsy-flavored carnival-rock when Glemboski clacked her washboard and bell on the creepy “Cemetery Man” and on a bizarre but powerful reworking of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.”

Switching from banjo to piano from a stool at the front of the stage, Crimmins led his backing quartet through a great follow-up set, burning up the stage with fervid swing, ragtime, New Orleans brassiness, rockabilly, and bit of pissed-up Pogues-style tavern rock.

Howling into his mic or hunched over the keys with his Jerry Lee Lewis locks flinging around, Crimmins was quite the key figure. His voice was smooth, even when he hollered, and his piano work was good ‘n’ funky. The Hookers — handling a rotation of clarinet, trumpet, trombone, sax, bass, and drums — were stone-solid, too. Letting their instruments do the talking, they sounded a little more boozy and raucous than they looked. Trombonist Travis Cottle offered the loudest and beefiest solos of the night.

Crimmins and his troupe handled a lot of material from last year’s The Musical Stylings Of album and his new EP, State Hotel. “Old Man Cabbage” was a steamy romper with an exotic melody. “Oh Angela” stood out as one of the fast-tempo faves. The banjo-based rendition of Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” wooed the crowd with ease. All together, the headliners utilized a lot of rascally wit and vaudevillian style, delivering a mix of vintage Americana. Hot fun.