If I had to pick one word to sum up this past Saturday’s Royal Crescent Mob concert, that word would be “joyous.”

Carlton’s smile can light up an entire venue. (Photo credit: Jon Calderas. Full gallery here.)

If I got to use two word to describe it, I’d use “joyous” and “sweaty.”

Joyous and sweaty were the hallmarks of any Royal Crescent Mob live show, back when they were a touring band, in the late 80s through the mid-90s. One of the best live bands in the entire world. Yes, a club band, with a mostly Midwestern fan base. But ask anyone who ever attended one of the RCMob shows and they will easily attest to the Mob’s punk ethos, their funk bona fides and their stellar showmanship. You had a 100% chance of leaving their shows feeling joyous and sweaty.

But it had been 28 years since the Royal Crescent Mob played together live. A lifetime ago. And now “lifetime” has a brand new meaning for the audience members, and especially the band members.

Time takes its toll on all of us. If we’re lucky, we manage to avoid cancer. In that department, the RC Mob has been decidedly unlucky. Lead singer David Ellison is being treated for prostate cancer. Lead guitarist Brian “B” Emch lost his wife to pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Drummer Carlton Smith has a rare form of brain cancer.

Rather than wallow in pity, the band decided to take their heaping helping of lemons and make lemonade… and sell it to raise funds for cancer research.

They played a fundraiser show in Columbus (their home base back in the day) on Friday, and Cincinnati (their second home, and strongest market, thanks in no small part to 97X radio station) on Saturday. Two shows in two nights. A limited engagement. Then again, life is a limited engagement.

It was a different kind of joyous this time around. For a couple of nights, for a couple of hours, they could focus on the music instead of mortality. So could their fans.

we’re four guys up there…and, you know, our audiences, our fan base is our age probably now. And it’s important for them to know there’s like, there’s this shitty thing about getting older, it’s like, things pop up. And, you know, I mean, hopefully we can raise some awareness about that as well. That’d be just extra special to be able to do that and it’s going to mean a lot for everybody to up on stage just to be playing together, that whole camaraderie.

Lead singer David Ellison in this CincyMusic interview with Jon Calderas

The Royal Crescent Mob brought a ton of joy to thousands of people 30 years ago. It was so good to experience that joy once again. It makes life worth living.

And if I had to use three words to describe their show, those words would be: Joyous. Sweaty. Grateful.

Thank you B, David, Carlton and Happy. Take a bow. Because we’re all happy now.