Live Review: The Stray Cats @ Pier 17 Rooftop: New York City August 6, 2019


On the eve of Tuesday August 6, 2019, in a phenomenal appearance The Stray Cats rocked New York City from the rooftop of Pier 17. The audacious faction was in top form as they exploded with all the Rockabilly favorites.

The Stray Cats are a Rockabilly band formed in 1979 in Massapequa, Long Island. The band is comprised of Brian Setzer on vocals and guitar, double bassist the rocker, and Slim Jim Phantom playing the drums. Leaving the states with nearly no money in their pockets, they quickly rose to super-stardom in the U.K. They were recognized for songs including: “Stray Cat Strut”, “(She’s) Sexy”, and “Rock This Town”‘ (which according to the Rock  and Roll Hall of Fame was one of the songs that shaped rock and roll).

The weather was beautiful, blue skies framed the water surrounded venue. The architectural anomaly, the Brooklyn Bridge, loomed in the background. The huge stage was out in the open and the fans gathered quickly in front of it. As the sun set a mysterious, unmarked, random, army-type helicopter, swaggered back and forth above the crowd almost preparing the crowd to become ready to duck. As the sky grew dark the audience anticipation rose to an excited frenzy. 

Then suddenly the stage and the massive Stray Cat electric banner burst into a multi-chromatic fantasy of vibrant lights and out came the band. Rocker with his huge stand-up bass, Setzer with an array of sparkling guitars and Phantom dressed in dazzling apparel, reminiscent of the glam-rock of days, and wearing a jacket baring the name Long Island. 

The Cats were one of the tightest bands on the planet and they sounded extraordinary. The three piece group sounded like an Orchestra, full and textured. Brian is a master on the guitar and Lee easily controlled that bass. Slim Jim, one of the only drummers to play while standing up, bedazzled the fans with his unique drumming style. 

The stage lighting was bright and the Cats were all over each part of the stage giving the crowd every excuse to take pictures. Their 90-minute set was completely exploded with non-stop Rockabilly hits. They sounded and looked great and the fans were in lust with their glitter and music. They returned to the stage with a three song encore a furious grand finally. 

Later some of us were treated to an after party meet and greet where Phantom and Rocker engaged with us, took pictures and enjoyed some wine…..

Photo Credit: Billy Hess

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