Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kyle Gass Band / The Fremonts - The Bunkhouse Saturday Jan 17, 2014

I've been a fan of the inanely goofy Tenancious D since i first found out about them via their debut album (yes, I wasn't cool enough to see them in LA before then - I do remember laughing at their silly name when seeing it in the LA Weekly) but have never seen them live, but seeing that TD's Kyle Gass was playing revived local hangout, the Bunkhouse, for an early show, we decided to see what he was doing on his own. Unfortunately, it was early enough that we missed Big Like Texas due to Saturday errands, but got there in time for Kyle.

The Kyle Gass Band features Kyle, in all of his Ten D slovenliness - singing, playing acoustic guitar and r'n'r recorder - along with two electric lead guitarists - both looking like 70's trucker/lumberjacks - a very normal-looking (but quite talented bassist) and a young, clean-cut drummer. The group opened with Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" in all of its twin-guitar glory, giving a taste of what the set was to bring - tongue-in-cheek, 70's rock'n'roll played with lots of attitude and talent - everyone was top-of-the-line players and singers - plenty of 4 and 5 part harmonies, too. This was my first return to the Bunkhouse since it re-opened and I gotta say, the sound was pretty damn fine here.

It wasa bit odd to me that Kyle deferred a majority of the lead singing to the other members, especially the guitarist on our side of the stage (sorry - I didn't catch anyone's name - though it didn't help that Kyle would make obscure - to me - jokes about who they were, calling them by other musician's (?) names). He is a terrific vocalist, though, so it wasn't a problem, just surprising.

Quite a number of panties flew on stage during their set, as well - and Kyle would alternately wear them on his head, put them in his mouth or shoot them back into the audience. The drummer came out front to sing a Jackson 5/Michael Jackson medley (with the lead guitarist/singer taking his place on drums) and then Kyle sang Sugarloaf's "Green Eyed Lady" to the women in the crowd while walking among them, before returning to the stage for a guitar/recorder duel.

The guitarists donned druid robes for the final song of the set - a big production number - and then the encores were a mix of a number of songs, from "Walk on the Wild Side" to "I Wanna Kiss You All Over" to "Reeling in the Years" to Boston's "Rock'n'Roll Band" to a finale of "Vehicle"! Quite a show!

After the conclusion of the early show, the Bunkhouse hosted the Chicken Shack, this time featuring live music from The Fremonts, another one of Rob Ruckus' groups. This act is a mix of surf, 60's, country, Tom Waits and whatever else they feel like throwing in, with a preponderance of originals, though I believe that I recognized Tex Williams' "Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette". All of the numbers were pretty slow-to-mid tempo, but each member is a strong player and kept it all entertaining. Unfortunately, their lead guitarist is moving, so this may be the last show of their career.

The Bunkhouse seems to be highlighting touring bands rather than local acts, overall, but this night was a good mix of both, so hope to see more of this type of show here.