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Lulu's In Crisis: Press


Consider the plight of Lulu's in Crisis, a feisty original rock quartet with a passel of cutting-edge material and big recording plans.

Saturday night, they headlined at Shooters in Quincy Square, where they delighted 300 fans with....almost all covers.

Lulu's in Crisis is surely not the first rock band to concentrate on more familiar songs when campaigning in the suburbs, and their palpable
enjoyment of the music was infectious. Many in Saturday's crowd probably would be eager to hear some of the quartet's own stuff after dancing up a storm, to the fiery show Lulu's put on.

"It's tough to play a lot of stuff people haven't heard before in clubs like these" vocalist Gifford Campbell said after the show. "We're basically here as a cover band. But it's not a bad thing. These gigs pay for our recordings and pay for our rehearsal space. We have a good time playing these tunes, too."

Lulu's in Crisis has a lot of strong points to ensure that listeners have a good time at their shows. Campbell and bassist Jerry Powers are strong and passionate vocalists, Dana Tower's guitar work takes no prisoners, and the rythym section anchored by drummer Cary Shiffman is as vibrant and surprising as any major-label star's.

Most of the covers they performed in Saturday's late set fell more or less into the alternative rock category, but they made sure to keep melody and lead lines crisp and clear, while the cascading rhythms created all manner of punky jolts.

Campbell adds keyboard colorings to some songs, and this made for tasty counterpoint to Tower's slashing guitar on "Here Comes the Rain," which Powers sang with gripping intensity. The more herky-jerky "Dis Knee Land" displayed the band's rhythmic talents in another way, as Campbell's vocal rode insistently skewed tempo.

Lulu's also showed a knack for reprising fine tunes. Powers' soaring treatment of the Plimsouls' "Million Miles Away" was packed with feeling. The emphasis was more on contemprorary rock fury with a pulverizing take on Sponge's "World of Human Wreckage," with Tower's ragged guitar chords setting a blistering pace.

"I Don't Care About That" was sord of ballad, and the foursome gave it a definite sideways tilt. Mainstream rock got a supercharged reprise with a pell-mell rendition of Cheap Trick's "Surrender," the dance-floor favorite of the night.

Campbell's yowling vocal on Smashing Pumpkins" "Let Me Go" was suitably otherworldly, and the band finished with a rip-snorting run through Nirvana's signature "Smells Like Teen Spirit," with Tower's guitar sounding much cleaner than on the hit version.

Campbell said Lulu's aims for more originals in its city shows. The band plans an all-original set at Mama Kin in Boston on March 22. Next weekend, it headlines The Kells in Allston, where it will play new and cover material.

Together about two years, Lul's plays frequently around Boston, where all four musicians live. Campbell, a veteran of a decade in the defunct group Secret Word, said the band is recording its own songs at Prophet Sound Studios in Stoughton.

Shooters is a spacious cellar club, with dozens of pool tables fo your left as you enter, and more games in a raised area bend the main bar.

Disc jockey Mike Tucker spun current rock hits between sets. Away from the stage and dance floor area, the low ceilings made for a bass heavy, muddy sound, but up near the center of the performance area everything sounded fine, if loud. (Earplugs recommended.)
Jay N. Miller - Patriot Ledger (Jan 16, 1996)