I Smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

The Continental's annual Elvis tribute slinks up

I Smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

It’s the “King Conjure” name that doesn’t sit well with me, the diehard who loved “The Graceland Revue.” But I understand the Elvis Presley estate’s need to threaten respectful tributes like the annual one this weekend at the Continental Club. After all, unauthorized use of the King’s name might prevent Priscilla Presley from paying for the next injection of motor oil into her face or Lisa Marie from being able to stuff herself for her next kid.

Ted Roddy doesn’t seem to lose any sleep over it. He just changed the name, dropped the sparkly jumpsuit with the 2001: A Space Odyssey entrance, and soldiered on, paying homage to Presley in his own way. “Suspicious Minds”? Check. “Polk Salad Annie”? Check. “In the Ghetto”? Check.

Turning the pre-Army Elvis oeuvre over to Shaun Young & the New Blue Moon Boys was a stroke of genius gold. Young ably captures Big E’s sexy swagger with the thumping bass that defines songs like “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” It’s the right set to herald Roddy’s big entrance.

And the sound is BIG. Squeezed onto the Continental’s compact stage is a full rhythm section, a pumping horn section, and backup singers, plus Roddy. His rich baritone evokes Presley’s timbre with panache and a pure love of performance. No jumpsuits or eye-blinding jeweled belts, only the good stuff, the songs. By the time he gets around to “Viva Las Vegas,” the crowd is in heat and he’s the dog of love.

I’ve been to many of the semi-annual Elvis tributes. They all kind of squish together in my mind as big mish-mash of applause and horns and trips to the bar. A few stick out for various reasons – the year I was in hysterics over two hippies who sat on the side and pantomimed every word of every song – but mostly the overall memory is a beer-goggled smile.

Two shows on Saturday night. Jim Trimmier, Mark Wilson, Dan Torosian, Brenda Sansig, Marc Singer, Nick Connolly, Brad Fordham, Michael Rey, Kevin Flatt, Joe Dickens, Brent Wilson, Janet Lynn, and Sascha Crosby, plus Shaun Young with T. Jarred Bonta and the Horton Brothers. It’s worth all the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches you can eat.

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Ted Roddy

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