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Joey Arroyo Band at The Marquee Theatre: Sheer Joy

The last time I went out to The Marquee Theatre, The Offspring made themselves at home amongst the sweaty, aging punk audience. Friday night's performance by The Joey Arroyo Band at this very same venue can be described in two words that The Offspring show could not: civil and desolate.

Which is definitely not to say that Joey Arroyo did a bad job. In fact, quite the opposite.

I arrived during the set of Reynaldo Moreno and his blusey trio. I could count the number of people inside the partially lit venue (99), but unlike shows that attract over a thousand, there wasn't any chatter between the patrons. Every single person had their eyes and ears glued to the stage and the raspy stylings of Moreno, Marcus Weeden and Dave Kates.

The crowd expanded as the night went on (as expected) but their attitude didn't. Every act, right up to and including The Joey Arroyo Band, had the audience's complete and undivided attention. Speaking of the audience, this was one of the youngest I've seen all summer.

As for The Joey Arroyo Band's performance, I'll just go ahead and quote Jimmy J.J. Walker and tell you it was "Dy-No-Mite!" Before it even started, the crowd stood loudly in the dark shouting "Woo! Joey!" and the like.

The band members came out one by one.

First, on drums, Chris Lucier. Then, bassist Matt Funderburk (or Sexbot for the evening) made his entrance, followed by Anthony Neal on the Keyboard (and sometimes guitar). The jammed for a while until Gabe Williams picked up his Gibson and joined in on the Sess.

Chants of "Joey! Joey!" once again filled the crowd until the young man came in and jammed as hard as anyone with an acoustic guitar could. And so started the magic. That didn't stop until the last string was plucked.

During "Sleep Well," Joey even got a few members of the audience singing along. Not bad for an album that came out not two months ago.

Joey is certainly a top-notch front man, with as much energy and dance moves as a pre-geriatric Mick Jagger, shown prominently during the performance of the cover "Look Good In Leather," which saw all members of the band shaking their groove thangs.

They debuted two new songs from their forthcoming album Joey Arroyo Is... The Aggressive, "The Dirty" and "For the Road." these songs are much different than the ones in ... The Storyteller, but they are no less outstanding.

"If you feel like singing along, do it. If you don't... do it" Joey said these words before the band started a 20 minute medley of covers in this order: "Bittersweet Symphony," "Beat it," "Womanizer", "She's The Bomb," "Closing Time," "My Own Worst Enemy," "I Love Rock and Roll," "That Girl Is Poison," "Just a Friend," and Jimi Hendrix's "Freedom."

I can definitely see a few years down the road, The Joey Arroyo Band headlining The Marquee once again. But this time, the show is a congratulatory homecoming off a national tour, rather than a Friday show on Independence Day Weekend.

Critic's Notebook

Last Night: The Joey Arroyo Band, Emerald Honor, Reynaldo Moreno, Five High and It's Like Love at The Marquee Theatre.

Better than: Any show at the Marquee that draws hundreds of casual fans and turns out to be a sweaty mess.

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Personal Bias: I reviewed Joey Arroyo's debut album not too long ago and basically called them my favorite local band.

Random Fact: Five High did very well done and convincing covers of"Must be The Money"and "Sunday, Bloody Sunday."

Further Listening: MySpace, MySpace, MySpace!

One More Thing: Joey Arroyo makes the short-sleeve-shirt-with-a-tie-look cool. That's quite a feat.

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