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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Backstage with Sean Mencher Combo

During an eventful night at my apartment, some friends of mine, one of which plays upright bass for the Sean Mencher Combo (SMC for short), a rockabilly band, mentioned that they would be traveling to Bangor, Maine for the National Folk Festival. That happens to be the place where I grew up, so I asked if I could tag along with them. The arrangements were made, and we were on our way by Friday afternoon.

Shane Kiel, bassist; Jeff Herring, guitar player for the Two Timin’ Three; and I arrived in Bangor on Saturday morning. Earlier, I had met Jay Termini, rhythm guitar, and his wife, Marcella. At the check-in at the hotel, I met Sean Mencher. Only later did I meet the drummer, Mark Cousins, and the fiddle player, Zach Ovington.

The band, defined at the show as “Vintage Rock n’ Roll,” played four sets, two each day. For two sets, they played at a stage where a dance floor had been rigged. Those sets had the best crowds and the best stage performances. On Saturday, the fantastic Al Hawkes accompanied the combo, dressed in a bright red cowboy hat with a suit to match. The shows included the song “Tombstone Every Mile,” written by the late Dick Curlis, a friend of Hawkes. It was preformed by the SMC with Hawkes singing on Saturday and Mencher on Sunday.

After the festival closed down for the night, there was a party where all of the performers and their guests could have drinks, meet each other, and play their music together. Kiel, Herring, Hawkes, and Mencher jammed early on, drinking the Black Label and Captain Morgan’s we smuggled in so that we wouldn’t have to buy drinks. Later that night, they moved into the hotel bar, where Herring sang, a man who looked like Ray Charles played the keyboard, Kiel played bass, and a member of the Larry Gillis Band, played the harmonica

While watching their second set, one of the directors of the National Folk Festival said to me, “These guys are about to explode,” and that they would be very popular very soon. My mother Christine, who attended the shows as well, had this to say: “The show was excellent. There was some great dancing. The band is very talented. I had a great time.”

The Festival was great, the Sean Mencher Combo was fantastic and received a lot of deserved publicity.

If you are interested in the rockabilly scene here in the Boston area, Sunday nights at the Plough and Stars alternate between bands the Coachmen and the Cranktones. Also, at ZuZu, Sunday night is Rockabilly night where other bands including The Stumbleweeds and the Alrighters occasionally play, though the booking for bands that are actually rockabilly isn’t always dependable. Some other bands to check out are Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys, Kings of Nuthin’, and the band I mentioned earlier, The Two Timin’ Three, for whom Eric Lauffer is the vocalist.

The Plough and Stars is located on Mass. Ave. between Central and Harvard Squares and ZuZu is right between the Middle East Corner and Upstairs in Central Square.