IGOR & RED ELVISES

Published on March 7th, 2019

Igor & Red Elvises

Rock ’n’ roll may be the go-to term for anything that has guitars or gets inducted into a hall of fame whose home resembles an ancient tomb. But there are still potent reminders out there of rock ’n’ roll as shorthand for rising up.

Igor & Red Elvises saw it as their escape hatch in the 1980s from communism and folk music in their native regions of the Baltics and Russia, long after Americans themselves regarded cuffed Levis and “Jailhouse Rock” as retro. That look and sound inspired bandleader Igor Yuzov and collaborators to follow  dreams of stardom all the way to the Santa Monica public promenades where they were discovered.

Ever since, Yuzov and a rotating cast have been making albums, contributing to soundtracks and living their best rock ’n’ roll life. They also featured in “Six Sting Samurai,” a post-apocalyptic 1998 film tale about a Buddy Holly clone in a burned-out “Lost Vegas” where everyone is vying to be the new King.

With the old-fashioned club gig having to compete harder for mind share in the age of Coachella, III Points and Ultra, it’s fair to ask what interest rock ’n’ roll holds for young people. A study done last year found millennials choosing vacation destinations based on live music, but that could just as easily mean dance parties or desert festivals laid out like genre buffets.

But if people still crave raw, live stage performance, then the reckless abandon embodied by America’s perennial teenage rebellion still has a claim on our fancy. The blues had a baby with country and jazz, and it refused to grow up. That’s what Igor & Red Elvises heard, and that’s what inspired countless guitar slingers, ivory ticklers and rabble rousers with greased hair and a bad attitude.

Even EDM music, hip hop and other genres far removed from “three chords and … “ pay homage to the scene that jump-started western youth culture. Igor & Red Elvises do their part as total disciples, continuously inspiring kids to get fresh cuts and dance, and upholding rock ’n’ roll in all forms — especially the kind with pompadours, fast cars and groovy crooners.

 Igor & Red Elvises play 8pm March 24 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach, $15. ~ Tim Moffatt

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