Saturday night I was needing a dose of live Funkytown music. I got in my car and headed up university to The Grotto to see Stefan Prigmore and the Clantons.
When I arrived, however, Prigmore and The Clantons were gathered on the front porch. I wandered inside and grabbed a table. The opening act had dragged an audience member up on stage, and was letting him do a less-good version of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game. If you're drunk and a band called Poo Live Crew is encouraging you to do something, you should probably think twice. And that's who was on stage.
These guys are kind of a novelty act that does inappropriately aggressive versions of pop songs. We got songs like Footloose by Kenny Loggins, Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles, and Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves - done with a Christopher Walken voice, and with so much enthusiasm that they broke the mic stand. Initially I was a bit turned off by the name and the frat-boy humor of the whole thing, but these guys really are a lot of fun to watch if you get the joke.
Then it was time for the headliner, Stefan and the Clantons. Their leader is Stefan Prigmore, dubbed "the best singer/songwriter in Fort Worth by Blake Parish of The Hanna Barbarians.
The band consists of Prigmore (guitar,vocals), Randy Barnett (guitar), Tom Noyes (square neck resonator guitar), Terry Burnett (harmonica), Zachary Stevens (Bass), and Ed Rogers (drums). They started off the set with The Beatles' She Came In Through the Bathroom Window, with a gritty country edge to it - which brings me to labeling this band (if we must). There's some country in here, which I normally hate, but with these guys I just don't. Roots, maybe, or Americana might stick. Hillbilly folk? I don't know, or really care, but it's honest and gritty and shockingly musical - the opposite of the put-on nasal Roots/Americana/Country that I tend to walk out on.
We got originals, some covers, but it was all first rate and left me wanting more. Stefan has a powerful and emotive voice, and there is no faking the kind of emotion he puts into his lyrics. Noyes's slide work was tasteful and to the point. Terry Burnett, as always, was a pleasure.
Stefan and The Clantons closed out the set with the iconic blues tune Call It Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker. It may be the most-covered blues tune ever, but I never get tired of hearing a different take on it.
I've seen Stefan perform on his own before - the last time was opening for Guthrie Kennard - and I've never been disappointed. The full band, however, takes things up a notch. Search