Last Saturday evening at the Blue Parrot Professor Mike launched an impressive first stage of their comeback from near-oblivion. The band had gone on hiatus last year shortly after their appearance on episodes six and eight of Radio Free Charleston. Their bass player exited the band in November, and they never quite resumed their career, until last Saturday.
The Concept opened up the night with a tight, tight set of power punk originals salted with well-chosen covers. Their take on “Country Roads” was a real crowd-pleaser. You may remember The Concept from episodes seven and thirteen of RFC last year. They guys have been playing out non-stop since then and have grown into one of the most reliably entertaining bands in town. Mike, Dave and Ross are playing an all-ages show at the Labelle Theater with 69 Fingers Friday night. After that show is done, they’re heading up to the Blue Parrot for a second show in one night. Saturday they’re in Smithers at the Corner pub for another all-ages show.
After a blistering set by The Concept, Professor Mike took the stage for what may well have been the most-well-received soundcheck I’ve ever witnessed. Professor Mike has a large, loyal, mostly female and quite attractive fanbase, and they rushed the stage and started dancing to “Check, check.” The fans stayed at the stage dancing and cheering throughout the soundcheck and the show, until the last note had been played. Their fans were starved for their music, and once all the bugs were worked out, the guys delivered.
The band served up a mix of great covers and strong originals from their “5 PM” and “Far Away” CDs. It took a couple of songs for them to shake the rust, but they quickly started hitting on all cylinders and all bets were off. They had the crowd wrapped around their fingers.
This was their first show with one-time Professor Mike guitarist, Joe Lewis, on bass. Joe is a “free-range” bass player, due to a wireless system, so he spent the night wandering the bar, playing up close to many of the fans. Chad Rock, Casey Cash, Syd, and DJ Honeycomb were in fine form as well, and the crowd was eating up the show like it was manna from heaven.
One highlight was when lead guitarist Syd, switching over to bass guitar, did an extended solo, and was then joined by another band’s drummer for a very rhythmic impromptu jam. Chad then treated the crowd to a couple of acoustic tunes which left the audience thrilled and delighted.
The show came to an end when the boys played “Pool Shark Santa Claus” and “Greater Good,” the two tunes that graced RFC. The spent crowd was sent home smiling but wanting more after witnessing a rock and roll revival. Professor Mike, one of Charleston’s best bands is back in session, and they’re taking us all back to school.