Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Blasters, the Yawpers, The Delta Bombers and Eddy Bear and the Cubs at Backstage Bar & Billiards

Every once in a while there is a show in Las Vegas that has smokin' bands from start to finish and so ya just gotta go, even on a work night!

Opening the evening was a devil-hatin' duo outside on the corner of the club! Highly entertaining - even more so than the HUGE Imagine Dragons video shoot that blocked off Fremont Street and filled the entire neighborhood with smoke!

Got there just as local faves Eddy Bear and the Cubs hit the stage. I know, I know, I rant'n'rave about them all the time here, but they are always a great time and tonight was even better than usual! The sound was much improved from last week though no fiddle player this time out. Lots of super tunes, like "Turn It Up, Turn It Loose", "Lost and Found" (Wade showed off some pedal steel-styled licks along with some bluesy riffs), the fast rockabilly of "Got You On My Mind", slowed down a bit for "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" - I like the trade off vocally between Eric and Larry, and their cool harmonies - fast git-pickin' on "Ooh Las Vegas" (Wade continues to impress me every time I see him), "I Lie When I Drink", "Thunderstorms and Neon Signs" and, of course, "I'm the Bulge in Satan's Pants". Fine, fine set, everyone was totally on - I'm hoping that this drummer is more-or-less permanent as he sounds terrific with them and locks in with Davis' hot-slappin' stand up - so if ya dig real country played by real players, get on down and see 'em!

More faves and top notch people are the Delta Bombers, local rockabilly/blues monsters who have been taking over the world with their raw take on the retro sounds of the 50's. No nostalgia act here though as the cats launch into 2 high energy rockabilly numbers to start the set, showing off singer Chris' rough'n'tuneful vocals and cool stage presence. His acoustic opens a number or two and gives a cool addition to the sound (BTW, the soundman had the acoustics dialed in this evening) and his drunken demeanor (whether he actually is or not), gets the crowd to drinkin' and brings 'em into the fray - and they even moved up closer to the band when he asked! Nice lifts from songs like "Little Sister" and "Ghost Rider in the Sky" (at least that's what my ears heard!), cool covers of George Jones' "White Lightning" and CCR's "Run Through the Jungle" before the up-tempo finale that brings the bands to their knees! Really dig the new tunes a lot and the band just keeps getting better'n'better - great rhythm section that I believe is relatively new, as well. Another band to see!

I saw the Yawpers once before, opening for Nashville Pussy, so they seem to be getting on some high-profile tours, and they have a cool, bluesy sound, with two acoustic guitars and big, full drums. The guitars vary in tones, with effects and distortion at times, giving it all a heavy, Led Zep/White Stripes kinda sound. Really dig the slide work from the lead player, though covering "Ace of Spades", even though it's always a crowd pleaser, is a little over-done these days. Regardless, some cool ideas here.

Of course, the Blasters are always a blast and sound great the last time I saw them, so had to make it out again for the cool cats from Downey. Phil seems to have completely recovered from his illness and his amazing voice is still there, although his hands seem to have to stiffness so his playing, while still solid, isn't as fluid as before. But the original rhythm section of Bill and John are as tight and rockin' as ever and "new" lead guitarist Keith, while different from Dave, of course, is a talented player and is highly animated. "American music", "Crazy Baby", "Border Radio", the swingin' "I'm Nervous", and several that I wasn't familiar with, but all hot'n'cool and the crowd diggin' it all the way. A jazzy number, a CCR-soundin' tune, a cover of Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm" that Phil apparently started in the wrong key, givin' the rest of the guys a laugh, and Phil did even pull off some bluesy leads on a new one.

Had to leave before they finished, but still a fantastic time with these guys. Still well worth seeing - not quite the old days, but damn good!