Yesterday at NX35: Billy Roy's One Man Show on the Square

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Kelly Knickerbocker

BAND: Billy Roy's One Man Band
VENUE: Anywhere he wants really--this time it's on the Square
TIME: 9 p.m.

A glass-encapsulated man playing a barrage of instruments at the corner of Locust and Oak Streets got my attention--and the attention of plenty of others--on the Square last night.

He rocked the piano, key bass, harmonica, bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat cymbals, helmarine, ring wong, cow bell, rub-n-roll, headbanger and fiddle--all at once! And he was funny too! A real crowd-pleaser...

What's a "rub-n-roll"? A spur grating on a wash board. A "headbanger"? A drumstick screwed into the back of a helmet, used to smash standing cymbals.

Despite the cold night-time temperatures, Roy's crowd never dissipated. At several points, he asked the group shout, "Yo Mamma!" before he'd start his next tune. The crowd obliged to keep the unique spectacle from waning.

Who enjoyed Billy Roy's One Man Show the most? Well, there was the young family watching from their picnic blanket, and there was the dancing homeless group carrying around their bag-covered 40s. It's hard to say, really.

Either way, Roy headed their plea for a country song by playing "The House is Rockin'". That classic was followed by "Midnight Special", the traditional American folk jam remade and remade again by the likes of Johnny Rivers, Paul Evans, Big Joe Turner, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The sideshow only lasted about 30 minutes, and afterwards the homeless were begging. This time, though, for another song.

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