Thursday, September 27, 2012

Eddie Bear & the Cubs and The Lucky Cheats - The Griffin, Las Vegas, 9-26-12

I can rarely make it out for mid-week gigs, but after I was so knocked out by the Cheats the last time I saw them and haven't been able to see them since and finding out that this was the farewell gig for local rocker Zach Ryan (as a "Cub"), I took the next day off of work and ventured out.

The Griffin is a local Fremont bar, a little newer and a little nicer than some, and not really set up for bands, though they have a small room in the back. Unfortunately, they are also in the Vegas habit of advertising starting times before they open the doors to the band room! So, I got there a little after 10:00 (by myself, as Melanie passed out early) and had to sit around amusing myself for 45 minutes or so before we were allowed in. I almost left, but am glad I didn't!

Eddie Bear & the Cubs is/was a country side project for Zach, who has also been in bands such as Red Feather, the Renegades and more. Here, he played Telecaster guitar and sang, aided & abetted by the Lucky Cheats terrific rhythm section of Luke on bass and Larry on drums, as well as a second electric guitarist, an acoustic player and an incredible pedal steel player (I wish I could remember who he said he played with - anyone who knows, fill me in!). Everyone was stellar, they played some fine covers and cool originals, and had the crowd up & dancing throughout. Super fun combo and it's a bummer that Zach is now moving to Nashville to try his hand in the land when it all began. Hopefully, he will return with some new guns.

I've raved about the blues-rockers, the Cheats before - live & on CD - and the cats were swinging again this night! Playing a bunch of tunes from their record as well as a number of new songs, they tore the roof off! Harpist Jeffrey is one of the best players I've seen since Magic Dick in the J. Geils Band, and I totally dig Wade's string wranglin' - whether it be on his Tele or his lap steel. Luke & Larry power and propel the guys through the numbers with great licks and dynamics. The boys said that they weren't overly pleased with their performance, but I was blown away, as was the rest of the audience! Always a good time!

Week nights get tougher & tougher on this old man, but I'm glad I made the effort for this fun night of rock'n'roll, country & blues! Whoo-hoo!

(PS - the room was way too dark to take any photos with my phone. I do wish that more Vegas venues would invest in lighting for their performance areas!)