Opening cut “Roll Me Away” was infused with an energy from Steve Baker’s electric piano, tinkling the peppy ivory notes that gives this song its sweet edge. Vocalist Devin Cordeiro sang it with his raw, husky rasp, completing the feeling we all associate with this Seger hit. The evening’s quiet heroes were acoustic guitar player Carl Ayotte and substitute bass player Kevin Elder, who, although they stayed out of the limelight, maintained these same quality renditions.Drummer Dave Stefanelli ushered in the more assertive side of Seger’s music on “Rambling Gambling Man.” Its jumpy groove was well metered. Its bouncy organ riffs reminded of Segar’s old R&B influences. From there, Cordeiro sang to the chugging sounds with his own kind of vocal authority.
The punchy “Feel Like A Number” had a driving beat from Stefanelli, a racing piano line from Baker, and a forceful vocal push from Cordeiro. Nate Comp whipped out assertive electric guitar chords. It all came together well in this number that we can all relate to.
Comp’s unfurling lead guitar melody carried Seger’s “Main Street” along through its soft, quiet, but beautiful nostalgia. The band loaded this one with the feeling of reverie its revered for, and it reminded, as did many of last night’s numbers, Segae can rock you while stirring your emotions.
It was uncanny how well Cordeiro’s husky rasp worked with the gentle “Against The Wind.” He had a feel for the songs that he brought forward to capture their spirit without sinking into a Seger impersonation. The combination of strong personality and gentle, respectful perspective made Segar hits so likable, and that was another aspect Beautiful Losers captured last night.A blaring saxophone by Dave Ayotte and Stefanelli’s drumming pounded “Rock And Roll Never Forgets.” Cordeiro’s booming low tenor carried well over the oldies influenced classic rock gem. “Night Moves” flowed with a graceful unison before “Even Now” got more of an emotional belt from the singer. Keyboardist Baker soloed with “Honky Tonk Train Blues” by Mead Lux Lewis. It was a nice change of pace, as was a rollicking drum solo by Stefanelli later in the evening. Keyboards and sax were crucial in bringing “Old Time Rock And Roll” to three dimensional life before tight ensemble playing and earthy vocals worked well for “Sunspot Baby.” The band’s take on “Fire Lake” benefited by cooing background vocals. A highlight was when the singer and players met the challenge of performing “Turn The Page” with the same emotional content that the tune is known for. The forlorn saxophone and lonesome man vocals were beautifully rendered and the group drew several couples onto the dance floor.
Beautiful Losers took on the unenviable challenge of playing their take on Seger and the Bullet Band’s rendition of “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and they made it sound like a Seger rendition, thanks to flinty lead guitar work and driving passion from the rest. “Fire Down Below” got the band’s assertive rock treatment while maintaining its subtle shifts. Another highlight was their handling of “Beautiful Loser,” capturing the spirit of that song that reminds all of us of at least one person we know
Cordeiro finessed the lyrical nuances to “Travelin‘ Man,” keeping it true to the original in emotion. Stefanelli kept the band steady and rocking on close out number “Hollywood Nights,” another with momentum and feeling.
The Beautiful Losers are truly professional musicians who know how to keep Seger tunes at once rocking and emotive. They passed that test with flying colors last night, and occasional glitches were easily over looked. Judging by the packed room at The Boathouse last night, it is easy to imagine this outfit becoming one of the biggest tribute band draws in New England.