The Blair Essentials
Durty Nelly’s, Melbourne, FL • 3.21.98
David A Clark
A crowded back room at Durty Nelly’s witnessed the debut of the Blair Essentials, a surprise gift to the Melbourne music scene. Robyn Blair, the bassist for Skurvy the Clown, performed an acoustic set of mostly original compositions, keeping the audience guessing what would come next.
The gravel-voiced Blair, sounding cigarette-rough and looking even rougher, belted out one poignant, ironic song after another. A particular audience favorite seemed to be an upbeat doo-wop number about a girlfriend buried in the backyard. Songs about whores on 42nd Street and heroin addiction intermixed with tunes about true love and Taco Bell.
The 45-minute set was loose and intimate. It was hard to tell who had more fun, Blair or the crowd. This side project is just the ticket for Blair, who obviously needs the outlet for his creative talents.
The newly-restructured Benedix, sounding better and tighter than ever, followed Blair. Mark Benedix has assembled what is easily the most musically talented band in the area. The new line-up really works well. Benedix even experimented with a short extra set of Pink Floyd material. Not many musicians can get away with covering “Pigs on the Wing,” but Benedix pulled it off beautifully.