Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Sloths / The Astaires - The Bunkhouse, Wednesday March 4, 2015

60's Back From the Grave-ers the Sloths are back and playing and recording again an dare now on tour on their way to SXSW. They generously made another stop in Vegas (see review of their last show in town here) and the renovated Bunkhouse, along with appropriate local support act, the Astaires.

Unfortunately, as this is Vegas and it was a Wednesday night, the turn out was slight, although enthusiastic for both bands. Cromm Fallon's Astaires now includes second guitarist/singer Dakota, bassist Ron (returning to the band after a previous stint as their drummer) and new drummer Ricky. This line-up has the proper mix of looseness and tightness - the songs are crisp and sharp, but the energy and stage presence gives way to some r'n'r anarchistic craziness, which keeps things entertaining.

Opening with a new stomper, the set the pace for the show right away - high energy garage rock'n'roll with plenty of harmonies. All three frontmen trade off on lead vocals, the Cromm is the default main man. Dakota sings a couple (including the standard "Do You Love Me" where he shows off his dance moves) and has a really cool voice, mixing garage and punk and bassist Ron had one. Just so the show never lets up, even when Dakota broke a string, they plowed ahead without him and made it work! Showing off a mix of influences, they cover the Stooges "Wanna Be Your Dog" and then move into an instrumental that sounded like a combination of surf and the Velvet Underground! All solid, really cool, well written garage. This line up is a raver - check 'em out!

The Sloths returned to town without second guitarist/bassist Mark due to scheduling conflicts - though he will join them later in the tour - but they showed that they can still rip'n'roar even in this stripped down version. Pat (Pooch) has a fantastic, full tone with his clear Dan Armstrong guitar and new Fender DeVille amp and Michael and Ray hold down the rhythm fort while singer Tommy keeps the troops entertained with his singing and visual antics and costume changes.

Their sound is a mix of r'n'b, garage and more modern punk and Tommy adds some cool harp to several of the number, while everyone adds vocal harmonies. Lots of cool numbers like "Never Enough Girls in the World", the Dr. Feelgood-stylings of "Wanna Be Old Before I Die" (us old folks are now glad that we didn't die before we got old!), "One Way Out", "Everybody's Trying to Be Somebody", "Haunted", "Wanna Get Fired" and, of course, their 60's "hit", "Makin' Love". Despite the sparse crowd, they put on a full show, Tommy pulled out plenty of props and wardrobe changes (he keeps a clothes rack on stage!) and interacted with the audience. The finale was their take on Love's "7 & 7 Is", showing their influences and leaving the kids wanting more!

Another fine show for the Bunkhouse - hopefully we will have more! Check these cats out when they come to your town and when their new LP (50 years in the making!) is finally released!