PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Guitarist Barry Goudreau, with Brian Maes on the keyboard, in concert at Lynn City Hall auditorium.
By BILL BROTHERTON
LYNN — The “Full Steam Ahead” record release party for Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room Saturday night at Lynn Auditorium was a celebratory affair. Not only was the music sensational, but the region’s rock and roll community — fans and musicians alike — came together to support the former Boston guitarist’s excellent new band.
But there was also a touch of melancholy in the house. The spirits of Sib Hashian, former drummer for the band Boston, who died last month, and the late Brad Delp, that band’s singer, were omnipresent. Their lives were celebrated as well by their friends on stage and in the audience. Engine Room bassist Tim Archibald wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the afro-sporting likeness of Lynn-born Hashian. Michael “Tunes” Antunes, sax man for openers John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, dedicated a song to Hashian and, with tears rolling down his cheek, delivered a cathartic, heartfelt solo. Antunes later joined the Engine Room for main set closer “Time,” a gospel blues featuring one of Goudreau’s prettiest melodies; Archibald, Antunes, Goudreau and frontman Brian Maes, all of whom played with Hashian in Ernie and the Automatics, stood side-by-side on stage performing this “song for Sibby.”
This was no heavyhearted show, however. The music was full of life, vibrant and energetic. Throughout the 19-song, arena-ready close-to-two-hour set, Goudreau let his guitars do the talking, unleashing one jaw-dropping solo after another on his collection of Strats and Gibsons. He gladly ceded the spotlight to fellow Lynn native Maes, whose vocals had a bit of a growl perfectly suited to the late-’60s bluesy rock sound of the Engine Room’s tunes. His keyboard work was also superb.
Praise also to the rhythm section of Archibald and drummer “Old” Tony DiPietro, the band’s youngest member; this is an incredibly tight outfit. And kudos to the vocals provided by Joanie Cicatelli, MaryBeth Maes and Terri O’Soro, which enhanced every song. WZLX’s Carter Alan, who has championed local music since his days at ’BCN and even before at MIT’s radio station, was the host with the most. Even the sound mixer was a Lynn guy: Dan Williams.
The band expertly played songs from every stage of Goudreau’s career. Audience members enjoyed the new tunes but understandably went crazy for the Boston songs (“Smokin’,” which featured a fine vocal by MaryBeth Maes, Brian’s wife; “Hitch a Ride,” which Goudreau said was the first song he professionally played guitar on, in 1969, shortly after he graduated from Lynn English High; and the show-closing “Long Time”), but the solo stuff and selections from his partnerships with Delp, RTZ and Orion the Hunter also sounded great.
“The Rhythm Won’t Stop,” from the Goudreau-Delp album, got the crowd up and dancing; it had a bluesy hook that just wouldn’t let go and Cicatelli’s counter-vocals were sublime. “So You Ran,” from Orion the Hunter, was a standout; “secret weapon” MaryBeth Maes’ fiery Ann Wilson-like lead vocal showed why she’s one of New England’s busiest musicians, and the four-part harmonies were a big plus. “Until Your Love Comes Back Around” from the RTZ stage of Goudreau’s career — Brian Maes, Archibald were in that band, too — was dedicated to Delp: “This is for Brad. It will always be for Brad,” said Maes.
The strongest songs from “Full Steam Ahead” included the Deep Purple-like “Don’t Stop Please,” which saw Maes channeling both his inner Ian Gillan and Jon Lord; “Layin’ It Down (in Beantown),” with Jimmy Willard, another Lynn guy, on harmonica; “Keep the Faith,” with nifty slide guitar by Goudreau; the British blues-influenced “Ball Keeps Rollin’,” with weirdly wonderful synthesized vocals by Goudreau; and “Reason to Rhyme,” a Guns N’ Roses-style ballad. The poignant “Time” was the best of all, with Antunes’ sax squawking up a storm and the three ladies serving as a heavenly gospel choir.
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band wowed in the middle spot with a too-short set of its sax-drenched Springsteen-style rock ‘n’ roll. The hit, “On the Dark Side,” still sounds great and Cafferty and Antunes, who joined the crowd and stood on chairs while performing the Chuck Berry-like “Rockin’ My Life Away,” are a formidable twosome. “Some Like it Hot,” a ’50s-style raver, was glorious.
Charlie Farren opened the night with a brief solo set. The local legend, who was lead singer for the Joe Perry Project and frontman for his own band Farrenheit, got audience members involved early with clever banter and strong songs.
This was truly a night of friends. The careers of nearly every musician on stage have intersected through the decades in amazing ways; Farren recorded a “lost” Delp song, “Tuesday,” and Rhode Island’s Cafferty and crew earned a devoted following tirelessly performing in Boston bars and clubs.
Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room showed Saturday night it has potential for greatness. A few gigs are scheduled throughout New England in the coming weeks. Check them out.
Full Steam Ahead: Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room w/s/g John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
By Tony Adams
Photo by Eric Morgensen
(Author’s note: I want to preface this by saying that, due to an 18 year old in my home having an “accepted students day” at URI, I was unable to make it to this show in time to see Charlie Farren perform. I did, however, speak with a couple of lovely young ladies at the show – just after Charlie had played, and they assured me that I had missed a real treat. So, my apologies to Mr. Farren for not being able to write anything regarding your performance.)
When I first heard that Barry Goudreau had started up a new project, I was nothing short of elated! Then, when I found out they would be having a CD release party at Lynn Auditorium to support the new music from “Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room – Full Steam Ahead,” I was all in.
We arrived at the show about 10 minutes prior to John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band taking the stage. I have lived in Rhode Island for 18 years, and the last time I saw them perform was in the summer of ’99 at the Warwick Melody Tent for an outdoor festival. I remember feeling less than impressed at that time, but I chalked it up to an “off day” for the band. . . or perhaps myself.
Fast forward to 2017. Because of not having seen them in so long, I went into this with a bit of reservations about what I was going to see. Talk about “Judge not, lest you be judged”- they simply NAILED every part of their time onstage! They came out with “Tough All Over,” and by the time they had played their second song of the night, “On The Dark Side,” the crowd was on their feet, and the band never slowed down. It was apparent that this was going to be a night of nostalgia, exactly as I had hoped. Being of the age that I am probably suffering through a midlife crisis, it is always such a cool thing to see a group of guys older than me that have kept it together so well. John Cafferty’s vocals were stronger than ever, and the rest of the band obviously came prepared to be his equal. As the band started to wind down their set, you could literally feel the joy emanating from the audience when we heard Michael “Tunes” Antunes belt out the beginning notes on his saxophone for “Tender Years,” another classic from the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack. What we didn’t know was that, just as the song was winding down, he would step out to the front of the stage to speak of and pay tribute to a dear friend to so many that we recently lost: Sib Hashian. (More on that later.) After some very emotional dialogue with the audience, “Tunes” stepped back and mesmerized the crowd with a beautiful finishing touch to “Tender Years.” I doubt there was a dry eye in the house.
John Cafferty and friends finished off their night with an uplifting “C-I-T-Y,” once again drawing the crowd to their feet. It was, for me, a “redemption performance”: and a stark contrast to the show that I witnessed in 1999. I will most certainly be on the lookout to check them out again, and you should, too!
Now it was the moment we were all waiting for. Our first look and listen to “Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room.” This is a collective musical assault from Barry on lead guitar, Brian Maes on keys and lead vocals, Tim Archibald on bass, and “Old Tony” DiPietro on drums. Filling in the real estate onstage behind Barry were three talented and lovely ladies: MaryBeth Maes, Terri O’Soro, and Joanie Cicatelli. (Talk about a powerhouse trio. . . WOW!!!)
It is obvious, and very welcoming, that this new project comes with a lot of blues undertones. They don’t come off as a band trying to reinvent anything, but more of a close-knit group of talent that is reminding us, and themselves, of the music they loved and shared in the late ‘60’s / early 70’s. Barry has kept himself busy with incredible talent featuring the late/greats Brad Delp and Sib Hashian, Brian Maes, Tim Archibald, and more! This night showcased songs from a variety of eras…and Engine Room gave us a multitude of treats by playing “Smokin,’” featuring MaryBeth taking on Brad’s lead vocals, as well as “Hitch a Ride” (my personal favorite) from Barry’s days with Boston, “Face The Music” from RTZ, “So You Ran” off the Orion the Hunter album, the gritty tune “The Rhythm Won’t Stop” from the Goudreau & Delp collaboration, and finally, “Dreams” from Barry’s self-titled album. It felt like, and probably will remain, a once in a lifetime night of songs that none of us thought we would ever see played onstage again. The entire group showed their excitement and emotion of being a band of brothers, through trials and tribulations, only to show that the real “love” here is the music and camaraderie.
Tim Archibald, on the bass, could not contain his excitement for their newest CD, Full Steam Ahead. It is clear that he is psyched about the songs- and he didn’t hold back in letting it be known that he wanted to play every song from their new venture. Barry and the rest followed suit by tackling every one of them as if they had been playing them for years! TIGHT!!! We were introduced to another talent, James Montgomery, sucking and blowing on his harmonica for “Layin’ It Down In Beantown”. This night just couldn’t get any better! Then it did.
Brian Maes took us back, once again, to the days of RTZ by assuring us that the next ballad, “Until Your Love Comes Back Around,” always was, and always will be “Brad’s Song.” The memories flowed as they gave a flawless rendition. There was no topping this. Then they did.
Coming back to current day, and toward the end of the night, we all were reminded and faced our emotions, head-on, regarding the recent passing of longtime friend and drummer, Sib Hashian. It is fresh in their minds, and heavy on their hearts, as they paid tribute to Sib with their newest song, “Time.” A portion of the lyrics, “Time’s supposed to be a comfort and a friend, Help to pick up the pieces, put ‘em back together again,” merely hints at their struggles of coming to terms with Sib’s untimely passing, and is something we can all relate to on a personal level.
The end of the night had come, and we all waited for a well-deserved encore. To our delight, and to lift the crowd back to its feet, and really just to LIFTus, in general. . . Barry and Brian traded “fade-in” intros to “Long Time.” Sold!!! They left little doubt that they are, in fact, Full Steam Ahead. . . and we can’t wait to hear more! Get out there and see this band, while you can, in the more intimate venues in New England.