Chubby and the Dots' Tribute to Sam Cooke Tonight at The Basement



We Creamsters rarely take time to talk about cover shows and tribute shows. Besides the massive volume of great original tuneage to be heard in these parts, the wash of middling cover bands is balanced out by a slew of great ones. Giving adequate time to The Long Players, Take the Power Back, My So-Called Band and Guilty Pleasures would take all day, and barely scratch the surface. It's not limited to mainstream or alternative hits, either; we're keeping an ear out for more news on a rumored Prince-Slayer mash-up called Purple Reign in Blood. That said, whenever there's time and space, we like to get some words in on exceptional tribute happenings, but it's got to be something pretty special. The Spin visited Petty Fest last weekend, and my editors graciously granted me space to talk about The Exotics and the history of local dance bands this summer.

Tonight, we'd like to turn your attention to The Basement and Chubby and the Dots. The band features Jordan and Eric Lehning up front, Eli Beard and Joey Andrews in the rhythm section, and a host of other front and side-men who've contributed to Music City's indie scene in the past decade. That's all well and good — they're great pop players who can turn their hand to just about anything. But the music is what it's all about: an entire night saluting one of the founding fathers of soul, Mr. Sam Cooke. I could go on all day about how Cooke (and Ray Charles, and others) changed the face of pop music, forever and for the better, by shepherding the raucous joy of gospel into mainstream. It's the art of balancing garage-punk energy and professional polish.

Instead, I'll leave you with this: I have over a hundred hours of Phish bootlegs, but Sam Cooke's One Night Stand: Live at The Harlem Square Club, recorded 50 years ago this past January, is by far my favorite live album. Recorded in a small club with a predominantly black audience, and burning in a way only hinted at on At the Copa, it's a prime example of what soul should be. Tons of great groups are aiming for the standard set by this record, but we'll take any excuse to bask in the glory of that sound.

The show kicks off at 9 p.m., and cover is $5.

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