Graham Parker and the Figgs at the Double Door

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GRAHAM PARKER AND THE FIGGS
at the Double Door

It wasn’t until someone at the concert asked me that I realized I actually had seen Graham Parker once before. It was almost exactly 20 years ago July 5, 1985, at Poplar Creek, where he was opening (with the Shot as his backup group) for Eric Clapton. Not an especially memorable concert. Or maybe I was just too young at the time for me to remember anything now.

Parker’s idea of hiring the Figgs as his latest backup band was brilliant. I had never thought of the two together, but listening to the Figgs play an opening set of their own music, it was hard not to be struck by how well their energetic, um, pub rock (is that how they’ve been categorized?) matches Parker’s.

Parker is considerably older, of course. He joked that the Ian Dury T-shirt he was wearing was older than some members of the Figgs. But even if he looks more like Ben Kingsley than your typical pop star of the moment, Parker’s looking fit, and he performed with just as much intensity as ever.

Parker and the Figgs played a number of songs from the new Bloodshot CD they’ve recorded together, but the set included plenty of classic tunes, especially from Parker’s Howling Wind and Squeezing Out Sparks albums. This is as good a time as any to catch Parker in concert.

It was also a pleasure hearing him sit in with Jon Langford the other night on WXRT’s “Eclectic Company” show — worth a listen 10 p.m. to midnight Mondays for some interesting conversation and records you don’t normally hear on the radio. Now, if only the rest of XRT’s schedule were half as intriguing…

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