I stood there in the "J" section almost eye-level with Jack Johnson, Nora Jones and Nick Jonas. Frightened, I averted my eyes to the balcony of Music Millennium to see Pierced Arrows' Fred and Toody Cole and drummer Kelly Halliburton setting up acoustic instruments and a drum "kit" that included only a kick and a snare.
Last night Pierced Arrows knocked out a short and sweet acoustic set that made their pure rock 'n' roll even more pure.
"We're a little nervous," Toody told the crowd, which had filled most of the store with even more filing in. "We've never done anything like this before."
Toody sported a shiny red Western shirt with black-and-white piping, while Fred and Kelly wore all black. The performance stripped away the distortion and pounding drum rolls to reveal clicking rim shots and string buzz. Fred and Toody's strained howls were even more pronounced. And it still felt and sounded like a sweaty show at the East End. The trio ripped through "Let It Rain" off their just-released Descending Shadows record, and Toody took the lead on "Caroline." Pierced Arrows ended the half-hour set with a cover of Neil Young's "Mr. Soul," a song Fred called his favorite of all-time... which is why, he explained, they had to bastardize it. If he hadn't told the audience, I'd guess many would have thought it was an Arrows song.
Now I don't have any photographic evidence of the performance—just watch the above video and picture them surrounded by CDs and posters instead of trees and beer bottles. I can tell you one thing: They looked like rock 'n' roll.