by Jeff Niesel
Some bands will do anything for their biggest fan. Take Sons of Elvis, for example. The Cleveland alternative rock act hasn’t played together in some 15 years. But because “super fan” Matthew Morrissey wanted to hear them perform one last time, the guys agreed to do a reunion show even though bassist Dave Hill and singer John Borland now live in New York. Drummer Pat Casa and guitarist Tim Parnin still live in Cleveland, but they’ve pursued other musical projects since Sons of Elvis called it quits. Still, all the members were amenable to the reunion, which took place last night at the Grog Shop, and billed it as their “final show.”
Working most of the night as a roadie of sorts, Morrissey introduced the band and then thanked the guys for agreeing to let him relive his teenage years. Though the band only rehearsed once prior to last night’s show, the group sounded sharp. They started the hour-long set with “Nothing’s Wrong” and then proceeded to play most of the songs from their one album, 1994’s Glodean. Admittedly, many of the tracks sounded rooted in ’90s acts. “Soaking It In” had elements of Bush and “Formaldehyde,” with its driving guitars and sneering vocals, had a classic, post-grunge sound. Throughout the show, the guys regularly joked with one another and took self-deprecating shots at themselves. “We can play the deep cuts,” said Hill at one point. “But not night. We’re just playing the hits tonight.” Borland apologized for sounded “a little rusty” and said the group actually sounded better at rehearsal. But his vocals, though a bit hoarse, still sounded strong and he was an engaging front man as he regularly baited the audience and directed jokes at Hill.
For an encore, the band played a cover of Taylor Swift song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” for which Borland wrote his own set of lyrics, which he read from his phone before launching into the refrain. The song was truly in jest; at its end, Borland hugged his band mates and expressed his gratitude toward Morrissey for putting the show together.