Best Of 2007

BEST MINI-CONCERT: Steve Connelly & the Lesser Gods at WMNF’s Americana Fest

For several hours on a muggy, windless Saturday in July, a parade of Bay area acts played alt-country, folk and other roots styles at Skipper’s in a fundraiser for our beloved listener-sponsored station. And it was good. But it didn’t exactly rock. The Americana Fest was crying out for a jolt of energy, and singer/guitarist Steve Connelly — backed by a handful of his former bandmates in The Headlights (along with singer/guitarist Ed Woltil) — served up a heaping dose. His original tunes had a Tom Petty/Byrds feel. He played long guitar solos with passion and body English. And he’s a much better lead vocalist than he gets credit for. Most of the bands did half-hour sets; Connelly & the Lesser Gods pushed to about 45. He ended with an expanded, exuberant version of “Like a Rolling Stone.” A most welcome bonus.