Hot Stove, Cool Music heats up the Paradise

A review of "Hot Stove, Cool Music" at the Paradise Rock Club on January 6, 2008

, Editor-in-Chief

For several years now, the "Hot Stove, Cool Music" benefit concerts have marked a time to celebrate the New Year by combing Boston\’s best passions: music and baseball. No matter how much snow may be on the ground, Bostonians can count on warming up at the Paradise on the first Sunday of every year. Though the formula has not changed, this year\’s show was no less entertaining than the others. Good times, great music, plenty of laughs, and all for an awesome cause.

Now in it\’s eight year, Sunday\’s show was also a near-five hour/epic length celebration of homegrown talent. It was a diverse field of big names in the local scene. Most of who came together during HSCM co-founder and ESPN baseball guro Peter Gammons’ set. Dubbed the "Hot Stove All-Stars," they lived up to the name despite crowding the stage to upwards of a dozen people at one point. Among the performers was Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo fame, Dicky Barret of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom, Paul Barrere of Little Feat, and keyboardist Seth Justman of the J. Geils\’ Band. Also on board was the rhythm section of the Gravel Pit/The Gentlemen, the horns section of the True Loves, and Theo Epstein and Zack Scott from the Red Sox front office, the latter of who contributed magnificently on harmonica. Eli “Paperboy” Reed and Corin Ashley of The Pills even joined in on the fun.

The All-Stars set included plenty of covers and while they were not spot-on sonically all the time (but with that many on stage and no practice, how can you be) – it was still a thrilling jam session for those in attendance. Janovitz led on Neil Young\’s "Powderfinger" and the Rolling Stones\’s "Happy" with guest tambourine player Tiffany Ortiz (wife of David – Big Popi). Barrett took stage for a cover of J. Geils\’s "Give it to Me," after joking that he didn\’t belong on there. Gammons’ set began with two of his own tunes, first “She Fell From Heaven” off his debut album Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old. The other was a brand new tune that he penned about the Mitchell Report.

All-Stars aside, the best set of the night came from Eli “Paperboy” Reed and the True Loves. It was a truly rousing and infectious set of blues and soul. This unassuming guy with a goofy fashion sense boasts such amazing vocals that the crowd could not help but smile through tunes like “The Satisfier” and “Take My Love With You.”

by Dear Leader ended the night with a brief set just after midnight. Frontman Aaron Perino was in fine form, most notably during a rousing rendition of “dangerous times” and set closer, “Raging Red.” Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck’s band, French Lick, delivered a solid set of covers that ranged from Green Day to Aerosmith.& Earlier in the night, Stoughton native Lori McKenna made her HSCM debut while Hanley, who flew in from the Hannah Montana tour to take part, delivered a solid set highlighted by “Nicky Passed Marble Arch” – a tune off her forthcoming new album (which she claimed is completed but no release date is set).

Former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, returned to Boston to delight his adoring female crowd. Perhaps adhering to those fans, Arroyo dropped the usual grunge covers (with the exception of Pearl Jam’s “Betterman”) for more pop-rock favorites. His set highlighted was a unique take on Augustana’s “Boston”, in which he sang, “…I gotta get out of Cincinnati, I’m tired of the summer. I think I need this old town, to fill my heart again…” Needless to say, it was met with a rousing roar from members of Red Sox Nation.

The night began with solid sets courtesy of the Elan Trotman Band and Murder Capital of the World.& MC Mike O’Malley was his usual comedic self and kept the show moving with interviews with performers and other A-list celebrities, who helped out by reading various auction items in-between sets.

Most importantly, this weekend’s HSCM events proved to be another great success by raising over $200,000 for Epstein’s Foundation to be Named Later.

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