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Pop Music Review : Rainmakers: Irreverent Rock

October 24, 1986|CHRIS WILLMAN

"All right, City of Angels, have we got a spiritual tune for you . . . Father, Son and Holy Cow!" exclaimed Rainmakers singer Bob Walkenhorst, launching with characteristic zest into the less-than-hymn-like "Let My People Go-Go" on Wednesday at Club Lingerie.

The Kansas City-based band's rockin' irreverence didn't stop with religious topics, although it dallied there quite a bit. Having some fun with the Almighty is one thing, but skewering longstanding liberal policy is really treading on sacred ground. The group's "Government Cheese"--sort of the anti-welfare antithesis to Bruce Hornsby's current pro-welfare chart hit "The Way It Is"--can be counted on to ruffle some feathers.

The quartet reportedly drew some boos in New York recently for that song, but the Lingerie crowd was apparently more sympathetic, or at least understanding.

After all, it would be hard for too many folks to take an active disliking to the Rainmakers. Here is a "heartland" band that--along with passion and guts and lots of guitars and everything else a heartland band is supposed to have--displayed a welcome sense of humor that's pervasive but not obnoxiously relentless.

Walkenhorst, who also plays guitar and writes most of the songs, sounds a bit like a middle-American Stan Ridgway. But he's more straightforward than that might suggest, and the band in general is closer to the brash guitar-rock of, say, Jason and the Scorchers (whose former producer is responsible for this group's fine debut album). Index the Rainmakers high in the "to watch" file.

Lest the headliners claim a complete monopoly on contextually odd religious imagery, opening act Wednesday Week rounded out its set with a rendition of Hank Williams' "I Saw the Light."

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