Friday Nite Live @ The BPU: The Wildcats

Excerpt From:
Friday Nite Live @ The B P U
May 10, 2002

The Wildcats

We witnessed a little of the legendary Wildcats mystique here at the University this past Friday night.  The people came, the people dances and the people howled.

We were a little nervous when by 8:30pm we hadn’t seen the now familiar white van pull up to the door yet.  We knew that when it did, the next thing we would hear would be a power screw driver dismantling the doorway, heavy components rumbling by on casters and warnings to “watch your back!”  Donny Lavin would be hauling in the old Hammond B3 organ in about 4 large pieces.  Jeff Adams, Bobby Tula and Smiling Steve would be briefly grunting and straining with the speakers, amps, drums, and crates of microphones, cables, and assorted stage gear as they scurried about trying to make up lost time.  Then suddenly someone said, “They’re here!”

Jeff was all business in a ball cap!  We’ve never seen him in anything but a fedora but it was time to work up a lather, getting the show in gear.  Moments later we spotted Fay by the door, smiling and happy to be in a friendly place.  Fans and friends tossed greetings and salutations to her and the ‘Cats as the band quickly got everything ready.  It was clear that everyone expected something special to happen.  It did.

Fay took the lead on the vocals for the first few numbers starting with Show Me, slipping right into Don’t Burn The Bridge and getting right sexy with Sugar Coated Love. Next, Jeff delivered up one he penned himself, I Must Be Crazy, where he began to show his guitar mastery with some very bluesy fret work.  His clear voice was complimented by Fay’s harmony and the supporting band output seemed to make the whole effort look natural and easy.  By now we had some itchy feet in the crowd and the dance floor began to fill up.  Fay belted out her very own Tell Mama in her very hot style, gutsy yet sweet.

The set continued with a rhumba/rock number called Kokomo and another catchy dance number called Snatchin’ It Back.  All the while Smiling Steve seemed at his strikingly stellar best on the bottom work while Donny Lavin used the B3 to crank us up higher and higher. Then Fay dropped down a couple of gears and gave us the slow dance we were waiting for with World Gone Crazy. She intro’d the next number as “Albert Collins meets The Beatles” although Carol King is the one who actually deserves the writer’s kudos for Chains.  To close out the set the ‘Cats ripped out their theme song, Wildcat, bringing us to a break period.

To start the second set, Jeff introduced Kathy, the former Mrs. Jeff Adams, who sang My Man. The Fay took over with Shake Your Money Maker, followed by Jeff singing One Too Many Women, originally done by Kinsey Report.  What we heard next was a Steven Stills hit that Fay delivered with feeling, Long Time Gone.  It’s a bleak viewpoint of the turbulent sixties that Crosby, Stills and Nash produced during the Vietnam war.

The set continued with What’s Good For You Is Bad, I Love To Party and It Don’t Mean A Thing, which saw the dancers moving again in all corners of the room.  We got another slow dance in The Land That Time Forgot and then hopped to it in boogie time with the old forties R&B standard, It Ain’t the Meat. Then Fay funkily promised, I’ll Take You There, a much more recent Motown R&B tune from the sixties.  Lavin kicked butt while Tula hammered home the beat and Smiling Steve just played and smiled!  Everyone was hot on this tune, making it a number that they definitely could sign their names to.  Three more blues standards were offered, Stormy Monday, ‘Til The Well Runs Dry and By The Light of Day.  Another tip of the hat to Motown was forthcoming when the ‘Cats next performed Let Me Change My Mind.  We asked for and received Jeff’s version of the Hendrix hit redone by Vaughn, Little Wing.  This effort by the ‘Cats drew just about the heaviest applause of the evening.  Then we heard three more dance tunes to close out the evening, Mustang Sally, Hello Little Boy and Son Of A Preacher Man.  The fans cried for more but being that BPU has a one o’clock license, we sadly called it a night.

Tonight the Wildcats showed us all the details both large and small that make them one of the best party and dance bands in this part of New England.  We really loved it and was apparent that the ‘Cats loved it, too!  We look forward to additional shows by them in the coming fall season.