BOSTON -- I've been to a fair amount of rock concerts. Nearly 100, probably. I've never had a lead singer hurl a microphone stand at my head.
That changed Tuesday night at Great Scott in Allston, when the front man for The Orwells without warning threw his metal stand into the crowd in what I can only hope was a drug or alcohol-induced stupor.
I was about 15 feet from the stage, just beyond the mosh pit, when singer Mario Cuomo lifted the metal contraption off the ground and let it fly. Just as I was about to be speared in the face, I caught the stand cleanly with two hands. My Little League coach would have been proud.
Had I not been paying attention, an otherwise fun show could have ended in a bruised and bloody mess. Would I have charged the stage and tried to fight the band? Possibly. Would I have sued The Orwells, their record company, the venue and anyone else worth a dime? Let's just say my first call in the morning would have been to Jim Sokolove.
But enough about how I was almost killed by a 20-year-old Dee Snider look-alike. You want to know how the show was. In all likelihood, you also want to know who the heck The Orwells are. To explain that, I need to take you back to mid-January, when the Chicago-based band delivered what became an instantly classic performance on Late Show With David Letterman.
Making their American network television debut, the garage punks ripped through a hard-charging rendition of single "Who Needs You.
It was cool. It was different. It was rock and roll in its purest form. Letterman loved it.
"What do you say, a little more of this? You got a little more in you?" the host asked as he greeted the band, hoping they would play an encore as the show's credits rolled. Bandleader Paul Shaffer repeatedly implored, "One more time! One more time!"
Showing their youth, The Orwells froze. They seemed confused. Later it was revealed guitarist Matt O'Keefe had broken all of his strings and could not play.
In a flash of brilliance, Shaffer killed the awkwardness by directing his band to play the very song The Orwells had just performed. Then Shaffer emerged from behind his keyboard, laid down on his back, and copped Cuomo's hip thrusting shimmy. The crowd roared with laughter. The Orwells smiled sheepishly. I vowed not to miss them the next time they toured Boston.
This brings us to Tuesday night, when the group performed for a packed house of about 250 mostly early 20-somethings in Allston. After a sound-check that seemed to last forever (and a brief period where Cuomo was evidently missing), the band took the stage and played through most of their brief discography and a quickie version of "Build Me Up Buttercup."
Cuomo spent a third of the performance in the crowd and another third staring dead-eyed at the ceiling. At one point he wrapped a necktie around his throat, making the prospect of an accidental hanging seem dangerously real. He nursed a bottle of Poland Spring like a college student looking to avoid a next-morning hangover.
The kid has charisma. With his God of Thunder hairdo and baby face, it's hard to take your eyes off him -- which is a good thing. After all, he might throw a microphone stand at you.
Follow Chris Camire on Twitter @chriscamire.