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Over The Weekend: New York Dolls at Granada

The punk icons The New York Dolls at the Granada. (Daniel Kramer)
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New York Dolls April 20, 2008 Granada Theater

Much Better Than: expected, and way better than getting your punk thrills via an over-coifed trio of emo bands at Nokia.

Download: See photos from Sunday night's show.

Critic’s Notebook: With only two original members still alive, the reanimated version of The New York Dolls hit the stage (late) and proceeded to enthrall a surprisingly large Sunday evening crowd at the Granada. Sporting what looked like Seinfeld’s infamous pirate shirt under the more standard leather jacket, ageless frontman David Johansen pranced like a Viagra spokesperson while belting out such classic, late '70s raunch as “Puss N’ Boots” and “Babylon.”

Original guitarist Sylvain Sylvain allowed audience members to strum his guitar, but was outshined by Steve Conte, who not only looked like the man he replaced (legendary junkie Johnny Thunders), but who also played as if inspired from beyond the grave. Under appreciated when they first appeared more than 30 years ago, the Dolls had been relegated to history as a cult act, but with performances like this one, such status will be hard to maintain.

Tight, vibrant and tireless, the Dolls incorporated some top notch newer fare into the set as well as appropriate covers such as Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” During the spirited, shout along chorus of “We’re All in Love,” Johansen surveyed the crowd and smiled, looking like the guy who had just found the $20 bill when coming out of the subway. “We’re in Texas,” he shouted to Conte; and how happy we were to have them.

Random Moments: A rather large cougar was on the prowl by the stage just before the Dolls began. Seems some young (as in underage with X’s on their hands) punks drew her attention, but upon rebuke, she took to verbally assaulting them with “I’m outta your league.” She definitely was. The poor youngsters didn’t have a clue what to do. My advice: “As with a stray dog, don’t make eye contact and walk away slowly.”

Artist Suggestion: Listening to the rejuvenated Dolls got me to thinking about tons of old school punk that needs to be readdressed. Bands like The Dickies, The Germs, The Dils and The Avengers -- all those ugly, sordid combos that arose in the wake of The Dolls. -- Darryl Smyers

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