Live Gig Review and Article Photos by: Robert Cavuoto
Punky Meadows of the infamous 70s glitter rock band has just released his long awaited solo CD, Fallen Angel, on May 20th via Mainman Records. To celebrate the CD release he held a record release party at BB Kings in New York on June 14th where he performed his first official solo show in 36 years! With his partners Danny Farrow [rhythm guitar], Felix Robinson [bass], Chandler Mogel [lead vocals], Bob Pantella [drums] and Charlie Cav [keyboards] the band lit the city on fire!
Depending on which Angel album you listen you may view them as either a progressive rock band or pop band, but Punky’s solo CD offers something in-between; songs that are hard edged, with memorable riffs, and tremendous melodies.
The band opened the show with “The Price You Pay” and played about eight other songs from Fallen Angel including “Sharp Shooter,” “Lost and Lonely,” “Shake Shake,” “Shadow Man,” and “Home Wrecker” plus six songs from Angel’s catalogues.
The band members were prominently dressed in black while Punky was in a shiny white shirt and scarf – striking poses with his guitar like your remember in the classic Angel photos. As you would expect Punky was the main focus of the show and visibly humbled by fans cheering. Someone in the back of the venue yelled; “Punky is God” – No truer words can be spoken! He has been gone far too long and everyone in attendance was excited to finally see him play. I met several diehard fans that flew in from as far as Texas and Wyoming to see him perform!
Back in the 70’s Punky was a bona fide guitar god, with a fluid-like playing style much like his guitar heroes Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. Tonight as expected his playing seemed to flow effortlessly and smoothly; he didn’t disappoint. Combine that with some tasteful vibrato during the leads and the songs were enhanced beyond expectation. The only guitar he used for the entire show was his crème Carvin Strat that’s on the cover of his CD.
There is a distinct stage chemistry and comradery between the members as I can see why Punky assembled such a great band. Chandler is a terrific frontman and sounded great across all songs included the Angel tunes; delivering the true emotion of each song. Original Angel bassist Felix Robinson only performed two songs; as a medical issue sidelined him from performing the entire show, but being a trooper he played on Angel’s “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” and “Loaded Gun” off of Fallen Angel. Filling in on bass was Randy Gregg, together with, Bob Pantella, Charlie Cav, and Danny Farrow they laid down a solid driving beat like a runaway train giving Punky plenty of space to fill the gaps with his soulful leads and soar.
Punky threw in a slew of welcome rarities from Angel’s past dating back to 1975, starting with “Wild and Hot” and then digging deep with songs like “Can You Feel It,” and “Feelin Right.” The band closed the show with “Tower.” Many of the Angel fans in attendance quite possible never heard him perform any of these songs live.
I regret never getting the opportunity to see Angel with their extravagant white costumes and visual illusions so I was excited to finally see Punky perform live. He and his band provided an evening filled with tremendous flashbacks from the 70s, great guitar playing, and created some amazing memories with their new songs.