Two Sundays ago, Smugglin’ Johnny C came through with a boat so he, Cap’n Billy D and me set off for Shelter Island’s annual Boat Party where the East End’s fine, fine, finest were booked to rock us on the water. Only accessible by boat, we found something like 350 vessels varying in size from kayaks to million-dollar seafarers and everything in between neatly lined up in rows, while several hundred people swam or floated around the “splosh pit” in front of the stage on all manner of inflatable devices (including what you’re thinking, Danville), many drinking beer, some even with cocktails in Martini glasses or champagne flutes taped to their surfboards. We carefully steered through the traffic and anchored just short of the pit, dead center. The boat next door had a gas-powered drinks blender that started when you pulled a cord, much the same way as you might fire up your lawnmower. They were serving Margaritas. We got there as Matty Liot & the Super Big Up were strangling ‘Apache’ so we checked out the scenery. All around, there were drunk gals in bikinis being sprayed by those high-powered water pistols thanks to the drunk guys. So "thanks" to the drunk guys! The bands were set up on the second-floor deck of a rickety-looking barge and the sound system would have been great if it hadn’t automatically cut out for 5 seconds every time the volume peaked above a certain level, presumably to prevent damage to the speakers. A pity, really, because easing the volume back a couple of dBs wouldn't have made much difference overall - especially as the boats in the back could tune into an FM simulcast.
Next up were the mighty, beer-dispensing Blaggards who launched into their set with a righteous 'Maggie’s Farm'. Other smart covers including Robert Parker's 'Barefootin’', Gordon Terry’s 'It Ain’t Right', Mickey Newbury’s 'Why You Been Gone So Long', John Hiatt’s 'Tennessee Plates', Danny Kirwan’s fantastic 'Tell Me All The Things You Do', Freddie King’s 'Sen-Say-Shun' which served as a showcase for Blagguitarist, Rich Umbach, another Dylan tune 'Everything Is Broken' and a few more followed feverishly finishing with the Monkees' 'Pleasant Valley Sunday'. Then, they were gone. Just like that. The crowd loved 'em, and I think it's time the buggers, sorry, the Blaggards, got into a studio right away and made a proper record.
That left it up to The Lone Sharks to wrap up the day’s festivities with their enlightened brand of rock ‘n’ roll. Seems like there's always a new guy in the band but each line-up delivers and this one, with Stan Mitchell on the traps, Joe Lauro slappin’ the big ol' bass, Paul Scher oozing sax appeal and David Deitch pulling out all the stops on his keys got the whole crowd syncro-drinkin’ and floatin' in tune! And just as I’m getting used to ‘Relaxed’ Gene Casey playing in his summer garb of white strides and a Hawaiian shirt, I was a little unnerved to see he'd swapped his trademark cowboy hat for a yellow headband. Visions of Mark Knopfler cropped up but ultimately only because Gene's got some serious guitar chops too. Playing on a decrepit boat in a strong wind to a bunch of sloppy, sunburned drunks treading water - which, by now, was probably a very dodgy cocktail of H2O, booze, piss, spit and a few jellyfish to liven things up - is no place for a fashion statement, if you get my drift. So, with a "How was church?" the Lone Sharks kicked off a wicked set that included 'Tear It Up', 'Get Rhythm', 'Gone Hollywood', 'Pretty Thing', 'Peter Gunn Theme', 'The In-Crowd', 'Trying To Get To You', 'Oh Carol', 'The Snizz Pt. 2', 'Sugarfoot Rag', 'The Promised Land', 'Folsom Prison Blues', and 'Sea Cruise'. It was a perfect end to 'Shark Week'.