The Tom Tom Club
The State Theatre, St. Petersburg, FL • September 29th, 2001
Like many of you, IÃve been walking around in a mild state of shock for the past two weeks. The objective of terror is to inflict as much psychic collateral damage as possible. The best act of defiance I can think of is to get back to business as usual. Still, IÃve felt weird about trying to write about music. It somehow seems frivolous. The whole country is in mourning and the idea of having fun somehow seems disrespectful.
I almost didn’t go to the Tom Tom Club show at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. The man on the news show was trying scare me silly with more speculation about horrors yet to come. I almost turned into a TV zombie again, but I turned off the tube, got off the sofa, and headed over to check out the show.
Call it groove catharsis, but seeing The Tom Tom Club was the best thing I could have done for myself. When the band kicked into “Time To Bounce” early in the set, their joy in the simple pleasure of dancing to the funk swept over the audience. I looked around and saw people bouncing to the beat, throwing their hands in the air and really enjoying the moment. I found myself bouncing along, too. Tina Weymouth shared vocal duties with Mystic Bowie and Victoria Clamp on many songs. The unison leads work sound really good on tunes like “Happiness Can’t Buy Money.” Mystic took a lead early on a version of “Soul Fire,” and Victoria took center stage later in the set. Tina introduced “Genius Of Love” as “the song that allows us to stay on the road.” They sure looked like they were having fun playing it. Who needs to think when your feet just go? Another high point came when percussionist Steve Scales came forward to lead the sing-along portion of “Take Me to the River.” It’s another song that the band has been doing for years, but it sounded like an old time tent revival tonight.
In a way, The Tom Tom Club show was a revival meeting. They brought us the gospel of funk and reggae and dance. Seeing The Tom Tom Club was like seeing old friends. Tina still looks (and plays) great. Chris Frantz looks a little like Bill Clinton these days. Bruce Martin and Robby Aceto rounded out the band on keyboards and guitar, respectively. Victoria’s parents were in the audience. For a few minutes, at least, the most important thing in the world was grooving to “Wordy Rappinghood.”
For more information on The Club, check out http://www.tomtomclub.com.