Posted by: Johnny Loftus on May 23, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The Muggs, On With the Show (Self-Released, 2008)

Listen: “Slow Curve”

In some pockets of the Detroit music scene, history trumps innovation as the preferred rock motor. Adventurism and experimentation thrive on the fringe, but in the barrooms and corner venues it’s a working class spirit and the ability to heave a rock and roll encyclopedia across the room that’s not only appreciated, but roundly expected. Enter the Muggs. The Detroit trio loves Vanilla Fudge, The Nuge, Jeff Beck — dudes who in the late 1960s and early 70s thrived on their own blues and boogie rock fringe — and pays tribute to their heroes in most every note they play. (Throw in Zeppelin, too, and a host of acts with heavy arena thump.) In other words, rock history is their patch chord. Beyond the sly nod of its title and a cutting wit that surfaces here in there in the lyrics, On With the Show never acknowledges the Muggs’ recent misadventure in the world of reality TV. (They appeared on and were subsequently voted off of Fox’s “Next Great American Band.”) But it does trade heavily in sturdy mid-tempos and ham hock electric guitar riffs, all guided by vocalist-guitarist Danny Methric. His yawp wasn’t ready for prime time, but it suits the stingers on Show. He sings like Rod Stewart in a stranglehold. The burners are here — “Slow Curve,” the melodic, harmony-drenched “Somewhere Down the Line,” “Just Another Fool” — but it’s the songs where the Muggs stretch out that really hit on this record, only their second full-length. (Check the title track or the screech and rhythmic toke of the nearly nine-minute “Never Know Why.”) They understand that throwback blues rock with a few ounces of boogie isn’t the only game in town. But an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s come before won’t stop the Muggs from trying to make a little rock history of their own. — Johnny Loftus

[tags]The Muggs, On With the Show, Danny Methric, Vanilla Fudge, Ted Nugent, Next Great American Band[/tags]


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