Review of George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Thorogood

[Author’s Note—Raymond Williams wrote, “Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (87). The etymology of the word began with reference to agricultural growth (the attentive care necessary to produce plants or breed animals, as in cultivation) and religious growth (the spiritual care necessary to promote enlightenment and epiphany, as in cult, which did not always denote negative connotation). The word culture has come to characterize humanistic growth, especially phenomena that represent the complexity of the human condition, collectively or individually, within a generational environment. Of course, even this definition is insufficient. Culture represents our human lives, and we are all immersed within our own individualized versions of culture, whether it involves work, family, money, politics, religion, or entertainment.

We reflectively know that the poems and stories found within the literary canon represent our culture. We know that art, music, the stage, sports, and film represent culture. In our modern environment—though some scholars might be loath to admit it—television, video games, and internet websites also qualify as cultural indicators. We often share with others what we find to be relevant and significant, and the respondents either approve or disapprove. This exchange perpetuates, fundamentally supporting the cultural conversation between individuals for eons, and we retain those cultural items that are agreed to be most worthy of inclusion. These cultural items often are designated as literary.

I am an enthusiastic explorer of popular culture. Three circumstances compel me to focus on pop culture topics for my blog at this time: 1) It’s summertime!!! 2) There has been a disproportionate amount of depressing world events taking place that compel me to look away for a moment, for preservation of good spirit. 3) I will be teaching again, so I’d like to dive right back into academia in the form of literary study! (I know…sounds riveting…this is how I relax and have fun!) I am going to celebrate life by having a cultural weekend, filled with film, stage, and music.

On Friday night, I attended high-brow Shakespeare; on Saturday night, I attended proudly low-brow booze blues and guitar rock. Today, I share the third part of a four-part cultural leg of The Maniacal Rant, in which I explore some significance from a George Thorogood and the Destroyers concert at the Blue Chip Casino in my hometown of Michigan City–SG]

Ouch! I’m writing this morning with the hangover that George Thorogood sang about last night, which must mean that the night was a resounding success.

As a young man in my twenties, I found an education, not in college, but in seedy, hole-in-the-wall bars like Kenwood Tap in Hessville, the Alaskan Pipeline in Schererville, and the Back Door Lounge in Griffith. I guess I played a fairly decent barfly, as I learned quite a bit about the community (and myself) by chewing the fat with complete strangers over cold beer.

George Thorogood epitomizes bar culture with his music, and I’ve always been susceptible to his brand of blues and rock-and-roll. I’d never seen Thorogood live, so last night was a treat-and-a-half. In case you’re unfamiliar, George Thorogood is a helluva guitar player and one ultra-cool, bad-ass rock-and-roller.

The venue at Blue Chip Casino is an intimate setting (which was good for us, since we were WAY in the back), and a decent auditorium to enjoy loud, raucous music. The crowds in Michigan City prefer to sit, which is a drag for groovin’ rock concerts, but I wasn’t letting that get me down…I’ve been to several concerts there before, and Michigan City does not get on its feet…not even Thorogood can change that, I guess (I was amused to learn that Cleveland, Ohio, might have the same problem, as this inspiring letter illustrates).

The sound was awesome. George Thorogood does not use a pick with his big, bad electric guitars, and he plays power chords that rip through your body with incredibly-fast, stone-calloused fingers. The bass was popping, the sax was crisp, and the double-bass drums steadily boomed.

The Destroyers properly set the tone with Rock Party, a rip-roaring jam, right at the get-go. Get a Haircut, my personal theme song, downright rocked, and I howled the lyrics as I swung my long, uncut locks (even if everybody else sat stone-faced at the groovy tune). We heard flawless renditions of jamming staples Bad to the Bone, Madison Blues, Move It On Over, and Who Do You Love, but a few of my faves were missing from the short set, like Gear Jammer, Rocking My Life Away, and Treat Her Right. Alas, no point in complaining, as the real luxury of the evening was Thorogood ripping out an awesome cover of Johnny Cash’s Cocaine Blues.

I’m not much of a drinker anymore, as my forty-year-old body continues to remind me I no longer have a twenty-year-old stamina. I told myself to limit my Budweiser beer intake to two libations. Somewhere in the middle of I Drink Alone, my second beer was drained, my limit forgotten, and I was at the bar.

“What choo want?”

“What choo think?”

I made it back to my seat, double-fisting two Buds, before the chorus of One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer had started.

Good times. Now excuse me while I go lie down and nurse my achin’ head.

Works Cited

Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. New York: Oxford, 1976. Print.

{If you appreciated this writing and want to help support the continuation of this blog, please consider sending a donation to:

Scott C. Guffey
P.O. Box 53
Michigan City, IN 46360

For a full explanation of author impetus, blog mission statement, and donations appeal, click About.}

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