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The Diamond Smugglers

WED., DEC. 31, 2003

This year New Year’s Eve falls on hump day. Larry Flynt couldn’t have dreamed it up any better himself. The electric buzz of indefinable expectation that always accompanies New Year’s will have an additional sexual subtext this year – as if the pressure of copping some lip at midnight weren’t enough. Don’t sweat it. People are supposed to hook up on New Year’s. If you’re single and planning on staying home, it’s time to take some stock in your initiative. New Year’s Eve is the spawning season of the doe-eyed optimist, a veritable shooting gallery of the willing. If you’re not making serious plans to work your stuff Wednesday night, maybe it’s time to throw in the towel and adopt a houseful of cats. At least that way you’ll be assured of getting to touch some pussy every now and then. Crass jokes aside, it’s go-time for the relationship inhibited. No other holiday is fraught with so much misplaced sexual and emotional urgency. Valentine’s is for lovers, St. Patrick’s Day is for drunks, Halloween is for freaks, but New Year’s Eve is prime time for the unattached. It’s the only holiday that is predicated on drinking, dancing, kissing, and staying up past midnight. Everyone knows that nothing wholesome happens after midnight, so you’ll definitely want to get in on it, whatever it is. One of the most unwholesome things happening Wednesday night is the Diamond Smugglers show at Stubb’s. Neil Diamond has always been a crassly attired emblem of the moral and cultural decay of American society, but the Diamond Smugglers take that decadence to a whole new level by paying homage to the sequined superstar in a variety of inventive and at times disturbing ways that nearly outschmaltz the Neil himself. This is no mean task for even the most talented Diamond disciple, but frontman Steve McCarthy is unquestionably touched by the spirit and has the chops to channel it. The rest of the band is filled out by equally talented veteran musicians like John Ratliff, Davy Jones, Dave Mider, Hunter Darby, Julie Lowery, Ernie Ernst, and Steve’s brother Kevin McCarthy, the other half of Steve’s (other?) band, the Fighting Brothers McCarthy. Fortunately, other than the whole Neil Diamond cover band thing, they use their powers mostly for good and not evil, and even the evil is pretty damned good. Think of it this way: If you don’t find a tonsil hockey partner for a midnight make-out, you’ll still have a ball with the Diamond Smugglers. What more could you ask for on hump day?

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