In a rare, special visit to our Queen City, Graham Parker — one of the quintessential 1970s English rockers — performs at the 20th Century Theater this week. Since releasing his Nick Lowe-produced classic debut, Howling Wind, back in 1976, Parker keeps delivering his vintage brand of spiked lyricism and jangly Pop Rock in potent doses. Originally labeled another "Angry Young Man" back in the day with peers such as Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, Parker shared a passion for literate Pub/Punk Rock juiced up with an R&B-soaked swagger, courtesy of his excellent former band, The Rumour.
Now touring just as a duo with keyboardist Bob Andrews, Parker's fresh performances belie the strength of his 2010 record, Imaginary Television. In an inspired, satirical motif, Graham explains, "I went off to write treatments to my own imaginary TV shows, which I would grace with the correct theme tunes, not ones chosen by idiots." But these songs are not a collection of novelty tunes by any means. Instead, he uses this loose framework to riff on the vulnerability of mid-life crises in the melodic standout, "Broken Skin," as well as once again show his trademark defiant resiliency in the face of career and personal setbacks in "It's My Party (But I Won't Cry).”
Thirty-plus years into his dynamic, underrated career, Graham Parker still stands tall among his more commercially successful peers. Should be a great show.
GRAHAM PARKER DUO performs Thursday, April 12 at 20th Century Theater with Brigitte DeMeyer. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.