Behold a veritable unearthed treasure from the heyday of Boston punk rock n' roll! Matweeds formed in 1987 from the ashes of two legendary bands: The Dogmatics and Stranglehold. This band was co-fronted by Jerry Lehane and Jim Keough and featured a star-studded cast of players from Boston's garage/punk scene. Hooligans In The Vestibule, the band's sole recording, went unreleased for 36 years. Rum Bar Records has proudly given this EP an official release on glistening compact disc.
Far from a mere historical artifact or "only for super fans" novelty, Hooligans In The Vestibule is a terrific little EP that's more than worth ten of your hard-earned dollars. In this band, Lehane and Keough shared singing and songwriting duties. Influences run the gamut from Stones/Faces rock n' roll to rhythm & blues to garage rock to hard rock. The band's secret weapon was saxophonist Nate Bowditch. His playing adds something very vital to all of these songs, and it never sounds out of place. Also on board were lead guitarist David Fredette (Titanics), rhythm guitarist Richie McKenzie Hughes (Stranglehold, The Oysters), bassist Frank Schact (Last Stand), keyboardist John Goetchius (Mighty Mighty Bosstones), and drummer David Collins (X-DYS). This EP captures the excitement of a new band still working out its musical identity and having one heck of a good time in the process. The Lehane-penned barroom anthem "Stay" is more than a little reminiscent of The Dogmatics and truly a lost classic of Boston rock n' roll. Honestly it's as good as anything in the Jerry Lehane songbook. "I Can Feel the Fire" is a rollicking rendition of Ronnie Wood's 1974 solo hit. "Devil's Knocking" is a quintessential blues rock party starter. "Your Love Is Worn" is a sincere Stonesy ballad featuring the legendary Rich Gilbert on pedal steel. "What's Your Name" is a more than passable stab at '60s garage/psych. "Fear and Whiskey" and "Kiss" sound like '80s glam metal by way of early Aerosmith. This EP is exactly what you'd expect it to be based on the title and cover art, and it's hard to believe it went unreleased for so long. Clearly this was a band that was on to something good.
No doubt, Hooligans In The Vestibule is a time capsule of the later '80s Boston rock underground. But the songs more than hold up to the passing of three and a half decades. If you're a regular Rum Bar customer, this one is not to be missed.