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Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lustre Kings at Billy's Lounge Nov 3

The Lustre Kings are just coming off a busy summer. From this point on they're looking at a decent autumn booking season. Along with their club dates are special events like a wedding in Alabama, the Elvis Festival in Green Bay WI, and for the tenth year in a row the Hell's Angels Halloween Party at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester NY. What is it about the Greenville NY-based Lustre Kings that makes them so irresistible? Is it because too few bands even try to pull off an Elvis number in the flesh? Try to pin down guitarist Mark Gamsjager (above) on what genre his band plays and he says this. "I'd like to think of it as American music. That's the way I label it. Rockabilly vein, sure. But it's not straight-up rockabilly or straight-up country. It's hillbilly rock-n-roll. We just try to play good music." Within that Gamsjager still considers himself a fan of the Stray Cats. "When the Stray Cats hit in 1980 it was like the freshest thing. There are these neo-hipsters who think they know everything about late 50s music and who like to bash the Stray Cats," Gamsjager said from his home near Albany. "I say keep it positive. Everybody's doing their own thing. There's enough room for it all. It's not really cool to say you like them. But I like 'em." Gamsjager started out playing bluegrass music then became a fan of Commander Cody. You may have seen The Lustre Kings at the former Gibson's restaurant on Lake Drive. If you were missing the steel guitar at the Big Sandy show recently, the Lustre Kings quartet has that covered. The band for their show Nov 3 at Billy's Lounge will feature a steel guitar player. "There are so many great bands I listen to like Jack Baymoore and the Bandits out of Germany. They're so authentic it's scary. I can't sound that way; I've got to sound like what we sound like," Gamsjager said. "I've never really tried to cop any one particular sound. I never said we're going to try to sound like Elvis or Jerry Lee. We play a lot and it sounds like the Lustre Kings. We try to make every song our own. By putting that on it, it works."

The Lustre Kings (MySpace) wsg the Midnight Cattle Callers at Billy's Lounge tonight at 9 pm. (MCC on first)

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