The aptly named Little Hurricane made landfall at the Brighton Music Hall on a recent Friday night, for sale on the front end of their first-ever headlining tour of the U.S.A. If you’re unaware, prostate Little Hurricane is a dirty blues duo from the other coast (San Diego, to be precise) featuring Anthony “Tone” Catalano on guitar and – you’re not going to believe this – a girl playing drums! That girl, as you call her, is Celeste “C.C.” Spina. She’s pixieish (it would probably take two C.C. Spina’s to make one John Bonham), tatted up, ever-smiling but nasty as shit when she has two sticks in her hands.
The Brighton parking gods did not permit me to see the first opening act, Boston Catalano, who happens to be the cousin of Little Hurricane’s guitarist. But I did catch the other supporting act, Lincoln Durham, something of a one-man band out of Austin, Texas. Durham plays a snarling blues guitar and occasional fiddle, and accompanies himself on kick drum, harmonica and anything else he can get his hands on. His songs range from dark to darker to darkest. “If you came here to fall in love, you’re at the wrong show,” he said at one point. “But if you came to sink further into darkness and depravity, you’re in the right place.” This was his first appearance in Boston, and he received a wildly enthusiastic reception from the BMH crowd, well beyond what is usually bestowed on an opening act.
A clap of (recorded) thunder heralded the appearance of Little Hurricane on the intimate BMH stage, which was set up as if it were a parlor, with rugs, standing lamps and a speaker secreted away in an antique white cabinet. The duo’s most recent album, Gold Fever, was released two months ago. Their sound lands somewhere between blues and more mainstream indie rock, sort of in the Black Keys/White Stripes end of the spectrum.
They featured a pair of songs from Gold Fever early in the set: “Summer Air,” with Spina’s voice echoing Catalano’s on the choruses of “the summer air is gone but I don’t care,” and “Boiling Water,” a song that has a big Stax/Volt soul feel on album, thanks to the addition of backing horns, but was more bluesy live.
The set list was divided pretty evenly between songs on the recent album and those from their debut release, Homewrecker. Two of the strongest from that earlier album were “Trouble Ahead” – a foreboding tune of, um well, trouble ahead (“watch out behind, trouble’s coming/look up ahead, start running”) and the title track – not positive but I think that one might be about some sort of relationship misunderstanding (“don’t point your finger at me, you dirty little homewrecker”).
Midway through the show, Catalano and Spina took seats together at the front of the stage for a mini acoustic set, featuring “Breathe,” “Hold Me Back” and an unexpected acoustic version of “Sheep in Wolves Clothing,” probably the signature release from Gold Fever.
Then they plugged back in for a great closing stretch that included “Lies,” with its early Led Zeppelin feel (see, that John Bonham reference in the opening graf was literary foreshadowing), two throwback covers – Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” (you know it, even if you don’t know you know it) and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” – and the Black Keys-ish “Gold Fever.”
At that point, Spina announced, “This is where we’d go off and you’d clap and we’d come back out. But how about if we just stay here and play a few more songs?” The faux encore included the White Stripes-like “Grand Canyon,” a snippet of ‘70s treacle “Afternoon Delight,” which appeared to be in response to a request, and then a faithful-to-the-album electric redux of “Sheep in Wolves Clothing” to close out the night.
As a side note, Catalano’s 90-year-old grandmother was in attendance at the show, right up front by the stage. Little Hurricane is most def not “grandmother music” but the brave grande dame was still alive at the end of the night, which was awesome because the alternative would have spoiled what was otherwise an excellent concert.