I did not attend NRBQ's show at the Coach House ("NRBQ: So wild, Yet So Together," Dec. 29), but I did hear them perform when they opened for Bonnie Raitt on Sept. 30 at Irvine Meadows. In nearly every song they performed, the lead guitarist played offbeat and the singer/keyboardist sang off-key.
Is this what Jim Washburn generously described as "offhanded musicianship"? If so, I do not share his enthusiasm for sloppy execution. The members of NRBQ are not rookies; they have been together for 20 years and, therefore, should have learned to play and sing by now. The problem seems to be their cavalier attitude toward their shows. This is not "the model for the ideal American society"; it is unprofessional and as much of a rip-off as a lip-synced concert.
If I wanted to hear a recording, I'd stay home and listen to a CD. Likewise, if I wanted to hear bad guitar playing, I'd listen to the band that practices two houses down the street. Artists make a lot of money from people like me who pay to hear them perform live. In return, they owe their audiences the best live performances they can give.