When: Tue., Nov. 24, 9 p.m. 2015
NRBQ | TUESDAY, NOV. 24
THE POUR HOUSE, RALEIGH—NRBQ might be the quintessential cult band, certainly one of the longest-lived. The group first came together in Florida in 1967, releasing their debut two years later. While those initials stand for New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, early R&B is only part of the approach. Gleefully unidentifiable, they shift freely between '50s rock and avant-garde jazz, power pop and a quirky kind of Americana. This band operates entirely within its own universe.
NRBQ's only original remaining member is keyboard man, driving force and beautiful weirdo Terry Adams, who has always introduced a drastic left turn into his band's proceedings any time the approach becomes too straightforward for too long. And while Big Al Anderson remains the best-known musician to have held down the guitar spot, he wasn't even a founder. In fact, fans who lamented Steve Ferguson's replacement by Anderson eventually came to bemoan Big Al's departure when bassist Joey Spampinato's little brother, Johnny, became the new guitarist. These days, it's Scott Ligon with six strings. Got all that? Good, as the lineup is as full of changes as the music.
Perhaps NRBQ's closest brush with fame came in 1982, when both Bonnie Raitt and Dave Edmunds covered the band's offbeat roots-rocker, "Me and the Boys." But the band has always been too dedicated to its own eccentric muse to care much about mainstream appeal anyway. To wit, even if NRBQ's latest album, 2014's Brass Tacks, brims with downright accessible, hook-laden tunes, fear not; live, no matter how many effervescently accessible moments may occur, there's just one thing you can always expect: whatever it is you're least expecting. With Robert Kirkland. 9 p.m., $25–$30, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh, 919-821-1120, www.thepourhousemusichall.com. —Jim Allen