Any working band that can maintain the same personnel continuously for four years deserves to be congratulated. When said band can not only stay together, but still get themselves and their audiences off on an ever-changing flow of ideas and material, the kudos are doubly deserved. This is what Skogie (formerly Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos) have achieved.
In their years together Rick Moore, Dennis Peterson, Al Galles and Mark Goldstein have come to terms with their abilities and limitations, and put both to the best possible use. As a band Skogie can make at least a respectable showing in a wide variety of pop styles: the boogie-blues of J. Geils Band, the psychedelic explorations of Todd Rundgren, rock revivalism a la Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and (in particular) the Frank Zappa/Bonzo Dog Band brand of musical satire. Zappa fans will find Skogie a gold mine.
No Matter what the song, it usually amounts to more than just another number from the repertoire. The lighting effects are especially impressive thanks to Bobby Moore (formerly of The Robert Moore Group of "No Driving on Sunday" fame), who also adds his wailing sax to "Heat Wave" and "True Fine Mama." A couple of classic soul tunes like "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" are strung together in a choreographed medley that neatly spoofs the old Motown revues. Even "Southside Shuffle," a straightforward rockin' blues, is dressed up when Goldstein climbs atop Peterson's shoulders for his brief harmonica solo. Add to this mix their original material ("I Like What Yer Servin'" is a choogler) and you have the versatility and knack for something different that has characterized Skogie from the beginning and kept them working through the years. The good time that the musicians are obviously having soon becomes infectious.
This is not necessarily a "get down" rock and roll band, nor is ultimate musicianship their goal. The four are not trying to pass themselves off as virtuosos, but as an integrated unit in which each complements the others. As much as for what he leaves out of the music as for what he puts into it, I Think Mark Goldstein stands out. It's easy to make a musical mess with a synthesizer but Mark works in the instrument's effects with taste and a subtle power. Frederick Moore is a good guitarist, while Dennis on bass and Al on drums form an intuitively tight bottom.
Right now there's a minor rock and roll renaissance underway in the Twin Cities. It centers around a handful of bands who perform with a maximum of intelligence and originality, and a minimum of slickness and pretense. Skogie are its elder statesmen. Long may they rock.