It’s not every night when you get to check out a group of “local boys” looking and sounding like they are the greatest rock and roll band in the world. We’re talking about local legends The Schemers, who put on another stellar show Wednesday, November 24th at The Met in Pawtucket, proving once again, that great bands don’t die, they just gray a little.

The Schemers were long ago enshrined in the RI Music Hall of Fame and here they are, still performing right down at the end of the Hall … literally. Their fans are graying along with them – more are seated than standing these days, although the dance floor is never empty at a Schemers show. So what makes them so great, even when the crowd dies down a bit on a pre-Thanksgiving evening?

Start with Mark Cutler’s vocals, that perfect spot where Tom Petty and Mick Jagger’s voices meet. The tight-as-hell rhythm section, led by Rick Couto on drums and Jimmy Berger on bass, gives it their all, powering through every tune. Add Emerson Torrey’s jingle-jangle lead guitar complementing Cutler’s Telecaster, throw in Dickie Reed’s keyboard phrasings to round out the rough spots, and you got yourself a band. It’s a simple formula, really.

Most of their songs, like “Danger Avenue,” “High Fashion Girl” and “I Want Some Fun” are well known to fans. They still sound fresh and play each riff with passion like they just worked it out in the garage and are excited to share it with their fans.

Why-the-hell not throw in the Cornelius Brothers classic “It’s Too Late,” recently heard in Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman? The band meets the moment on every tune, the essence of rock and roll, fully engaged, pushing the limits on solos and extended jams that feel like they could go on forever.

A couple of years back, in the time before Covid, with Cutler facing health problems, there was some doubt this band would ever play again. Time was on our side this night – two full sets, a multi-song 30-minute-plus encore for ten bucks? You gotta be kidding!

WUN photographer Rick Farrell was there and shares some photos of the evening. Enjoy!

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...

Rick Farrell

​Rick Farrell of Mojo Photography has been drawn to music his entire life. Maybe it was growing up in Newport, RI, host to the venerable Newport Jazz and Folk festivals. Or maybe it was the countless...