The recently reopened Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill, known before 2013 as Paramount Center for the Arts, played host to a double bill of blues and rock that no music lover could say no to. Billed as a “Holiday Hoedown,” the evening was headlined by NRBQ with the Nighthawks opening.
The night began with an hour-long set by Washington, D.C. natives The Nighthawks. The set was carried largely by the roaring vocals and harmonica of Mark Wenner. Their set list was laden with fast-paced rockin’ blues with the right amount of soulful blues led with the vocals of drummer Mark Stutso, a recent 2010 addition to the band’s lineup.
NRBQ’s set had something for everyone, with an eclectic mix of blues, rock, pop, and rockabilly spanning their entire career since 1967. Accompanied by a sax and trombone, the band took the stage fit for the season with their rendition of “Frosty the Snowman” followed by a cover of David Rose’s “The Stripper.” Not too long after taking the stage, audience members were dancing in the isles to “Paris.” NRBQ is well known for not adhering to a strict or necessarily consistent set list between shows. This spontaneity on stage made for a truly genuine performance connected to the audience. Not to mention the energy and enthusiasm of founding member Terry Adams on keys, which kept the crowd engaged for the entire performance.
The audience was treated to a somewhat unusual encore to wrap up the evening. Where one may expect the band to return to the stage with one or two of their hits, NRBQ instead took to the stage wheeling out a road case set atop with a number of hand bells. Donned in the finest attire fit for Jimmy Fallon’s “Twelve Days of Christmas Sweaters” segment, the band had the audience laughing in good humor as they did a 4-part medley of holiday tunes on the bells.
NRBQ has been through a few changes over their 45+ year career with changes in the band’s lineup in the last 10 years and a few hiatus periods. Their performance at the Paramount has proven that the group has withstood the test of time and still a notable act to catch for all generations.