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Band reunion is better Late than never.

Byline: Scott McLennan

At risk of sounding like a fogy, let us now reminisce about the good ol' '90s, when homegrown original bands of all styles kept Worcester's nightclub circuit pretty well jammed.

Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner spun off the satellite nightclub Bowlers. The spot we now call The Lucky Dog Music Hall was still Sir Morgan's Cove and good for annual battles of the bands that attracted enough competitors to keep things going for weeks at a time. The Music Box, the Above Club, The Space, The Espresso Bar were live music hot spots whose passings are still lamented. Garage rock, alt-rock, punk, funk, metal, jam-rock, blues rock - you name it, somebody in Worcester was giving it a local spin

Funny now to think how back then people were complaining how much the scene had cooled from the 1980s. If everybody only knew how good it was for the time.

"I took it for granted," said Ron Roy, guitarist and singer for Sheez Late.

Sheez Late flourished in the early 1990s, releasing its first album around the time Nirvana's "Nevermind" was shaking up attitudes about music. Sheez Late was ready for the new guard, mixing up scrappy garage punk with weirder elements plucked from the rock 'n' roll spectrum.

Roy sang and played guitar in Sheez Late, along with fellow guitarist Hugh Mahaney, bass player Amy Mackey, and drummer Joe Sheehan. At its peak, the band was a big draw in the clubs, dutifully covered in these pages and those printed by the alternative press covering the city's music scene, and a staple on local music radio programs emanating from Wormtown.

"It was new to us being in the scene like that. We didn't grasp it very well. I also think what we were doing was a little bit different and to get our point across, we worked really hard," Roy said. "But everyone in the scene was really so supportive."

Sheez Late ran its course by the mid-'90s, and eventually Mackay settled in Deleware and Mahaney in North Carolina. Sheehan played drums for a few other outfits, and Roy checked out of music, at first bothered by a persistent ringing in his ears and later tied up with the needs of a growing family.

"I thought I'd go acoustic, but I never took to that. I just stopped playing for 10 years," he said.

But that all changed when he teamed up with Blow Up Dads, a band fronted by Jim Dewer.

"It's age-appropriate rock. Sort of a Stones-ish sound," Roy said.

But working in that band prepared him for a reunion with Sheez Late. The foursome that had not played together in nearly 14 years decided last Christmas when everyone was in the area visiting family to attempt a reunion show. That is after they had a chance to hang out and jam a little among themselves.

A series of e-mail exchanges nailed a set list, and a rehearsal after this holiday season sealed the deal for a show happening Saturday at The Grey Hound Pub, 11 Kelley Square, Worcester.

Roy described the show as a no-pressure gig, though he will be pulling double duty that night as Blow Up Dads is also on the bill.

Hmmm ... a couple of cool bands playing their own tunes in a cozy, music-friendly bar? Just like the old days.

* * *

Speaking of The Grey Hound Pub, musicians are singing the room's praises as a welcome new place to play. Owner Paul Curley actually opened the bar two years ago, but last year bulked up his performance schedule, nabbing such plumb shows as a solo set by Dropkick Murphys guitarist Mar Orrell. It's no surprise that this Irish-themed pub has a rock 'n' roll heart; Curley played keyboards in the popular garage-rock outfit The Prime Movers. Regardless of a given night's entertainment (hang out when members of the men's and women's rugby teams Curley sponsors are in the pub; you will be entertained), The Grey Hound Pub is certainly a key stop for those on the prowl around Worcester's ever-bustling canal-district area.

The Love Dogs brings the swing to Leominster for the benefit of high school and middle-school music programs in that city. The fundraising dance concert is set for Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Route 117, Leominster. The event starts 7:30; tickets are $10.

The Otters will be at The Green Rooster Coffeehouse in Worcester on Saturday. Proceeds from the show benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Green Rooster is located in the United Congregational Church, 6 Institute Road, Worcester.

Hothouse plays tomorrow at Gilrein's, 802 Main St., Worcester. White Chocolate and Craig are at Tammany Hall, 43 Pleasant St., Worcester, tomorrow.

The Fighting Cocks, The Demisers, Erotics and Demon's Alley are at Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester, tomorrow. U.K. punk band Gallows is at The Palladium, 261 Main St., Worcester, tonight.

Scott McLennan can be reached at


CUTLINE: Sheez Late reunites Saturday at The Grey Hound Pub in Worcester.
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Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 7, 2008
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