Monday, August 16, 2010

Las Vegas Shakedown, Sunday the 15th, August 2010, The Beauty Bar and the Country Saloon

By the last night of the Shakedown, we were pretty beat, but still determined to check out several acts for the finale.

We got to the Beauty Bar in time to see the Wooly Bandits, another garage band that we've seen once or twice, but it had been a few years and they have improved considerably over that time. As I discovered from their website today, the bassist (Rik Collins) and guitarist (Mark Bellgraph) got together to back up Sky Saxon before striking out on their own and recording for Dionysus as a three piece. They then added former Disney child star (no fooling!) Christa Collins (formerly Larson - check out her Disney video - she talks about it on their site, so apparently is not trying to hide it) on keys and vocals but kept her kinda in the background for a while. Obviously someone realized the promo possibilities of an attractive and charismatic female frontperson (as opposed to - no offense - the rather forgettable guys) and she is now the star and is confident and sassy front and center. They now have a keyboardist that doubles on guitar and yet another attractive female (Rikki Styxx) who is a terrific drummer filling out the line up. The tunes are strong and, showing their versatility, they covered Alice Cooper's "Is It My Body" - an extended version from a bootleg video that the Tommyknockers used to do, as well - along with the Motorhead/Girlschool version of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates "Please Don't Touch".

Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders came next, with their country-tinged punk rock, quality songs and Todd's stellar showmanship. Still reminiscent of the Lazy Cowgirls, but with a bit more variety and even the occasional acoustic guitar, they put on a great show and the fact that Pat is still rockin' after all of this time is a testament to his commitment to r'n'r! Added attraction is ex-Cowgirls bassist Keith back with Pat!

After the Outsiders we moved over to the Country Saloon to catch the Morlocks, who I haven't seen in decades. Things were running a bit later over there and we saw most of Spindrift, a psychedelic outfit that reminded me a bit of an 80's European psyche outfit, the Yellow Sunshine Explosion. A little bizarre in a live setting, with their autoharps, flutes, double neck bass and other odd instruments, but cool and trippy.

There was yet another unexplained long delay before the Morlocks finally appeared. They came out strong but soon it was obvious that the drummer was not at his best. He played fine but in between songs he seemed to lose concentration, start walking around and almost wonder where he was. They managed to get through about 5 tunes, including a garage version of "Sittin' on Top of the World", a Howlin' Wolf song I didn't recognize, the Flamin' Groovies "Teenage Head" and another couple of covers. Frontman Leighton said that the soundman told them to stop, though it didn't seem as if they were going to make it through much more anyway. Hopefully, this night was just a fluke and not the norm for the group, as they are currently on tour and when they are on, they are a top-notch garage outfit.

We had hoped to see the Bellrays and Prima Donna back at the Beauty Bar, but even after the long delays at the Country Saloon, there was still the Oi punk of the Lower Class Brats before the Bellrays and we just couldn't ,make it any longer.

So, again, sorry to all that we missed - I'm sure there was a lot of good music that we didn't see - but it was a good r'n'r weekend.