A Sweaty Night of Rock with the Joe Perry Project at Webster Hall
April 19, 2023
The Joe Perry Project – Webster Hall – April 18, 2023
It’s been written that for Jerry Garcia the Grateful Dead was his day job and his beloved Jerry Garcia Band was more like his robe and slippers — i.e. where, at least in later years, he was most relaxed, comfortable and fully himself as a musician. You wouldn’t quite call the Joe Perry Project Joe Perry’s “robe and slippers” — the group rocks way too hard ’n’ gnarly for that — but they’re as loose, rollicking, no-frills-no-airs-bar-band-y as you’re going to get from the beloved Aerosmith guitarist these days. “I’ve got the rock ’n’ rolls again” was the message, as he and his crackling band used the tune of the same name to start a hot-skillet 100-minute set at Webster Hall on Tuesday. Who are we not to indulge the fella?
Perry had a lot to share — and of course (it’s Joe Perry), a lot to shred. He has a new album, Sweetzerland Manifesto MKII, coming in May, and the set featured several of those tunes, including “Quake” and “Aye Aye Aye,” both of which ripped like vintage ’70s Aerosmith boogies, and the Stones-y “Fortunate One,” with Perry on stinging slide. Regarding the Aerosmith catalog itself, we got some inevitable bones thrown: “Train Kept A-Rollin’” was the room-shaking choogle to close the set and a fizzy “Walk This Way” showed up in the encore. But we also got some deep-cut Aerosmith unlikely to appear on full-band reunion tours. Tuesday’s set included the spicy “S.O.S. (Too Bad),” “Somebody” and “Lick and a Promise” (“I wish my other band would play this one more often,” quipped Perry), as well as the Aerosmith-leaning versions of “Chip Away the Stone,” “Steppin’ Out” and “Reefer Head Woman.” Still more chestnuts and choice covers turned up: Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” was a gas, and so was Billy Lee Riley’s “Flyin’ Saucer Rock ’n’ Roll,” which Perry sang and played twice, back-to-back, giving zero Fs that it was a deliberate repeat. (“How about a third time?” whooped an audience member.)
As always, Perry hauled in a band of aces, including Gary Cherone (from Extreme and Van Halen) on vocals — exuberant as always, careful not to outshine his employer — Buck Johnson on keys, Jason Sutter on drums and David Hull on bass. You could confidently say that they came and did their thing — no airs or pretense here, a night to sweat it out at the rock show, something Perry’s been good at delivering probably since the day he first picked up a guitar. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson
Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com