The Yawpers, The Delta Bombers, Wanda Jackson, Eddy Bear and the Cubs - Triple B, Saturday Oct 31, 2015
This is a show that I've been looking forward to for quite a while - a stellar line-up from start to finish! Unfortunately, it started late, so I wasn't able to make it through to the finish (sorry Shanda and the Howlers! Really wanted to see y'all!), but it was a classic night overall.
Opening was Denver's the Yawpers, a three piece consisting of 2 acoustic guitars and a drummer, who I've seen a couple of times before. They have an interesting, bluesy sound and I really dig the slide work, but something doesn't completely click with me. Some nice stuff with some new tunes from their latest CD and covers of "Paperback Writer" (pretty odd choice - not sure if that really worked), "Going Down" and their take on "Ace of Spades" which has been done nearly as often and by as many bands as "Folsum Prison Blues" or "Gloria", so I could do without that one. They did have a new high-energy riff-rock tune towards the end of the set and the huge crowd (by far the biggest that I've ever seen at Backstage Bar and Billiards) dug 'em.
The Delta Bombers put on another intense set of their own brand of rockabilly/blues madness while dressed up incongruously as Run DMC! They worked hard on their look, down to the bassist's boom box ring! Lots of ravin' rockabilly here, with a highlight being their Bo Diddley inspired call'n'answer number. Always a good time with these cats!
Wasn't sure what to expect from 78 year old Wanda Jackson, but she still put on a terrific show filled with plenty of hits. Sure, her voice isn't quite what it was 50 years ago, but that's to be expected and it was still strong and melodic.
Highlights included "There's a Riot Going On" (made famous by her old pal Elvis), "Rock Your Baby", "I Gotta Know", one of my faves, "Funnel of Love", an early feminist number, "My Big Iron Skillet", a yodeling number, "Picture My Heart", Heartbreak Hotel", "Shakin' All Over", Fujiyama Mama", "Mean Mean Man", "I Saw the Light", "Let's Have a Party" (of course) and a closer of "Whole Lotta Shakin'". She threw in a few others - a slow blues here or a ballad there and they were all fun, fine stuff.
The band was made up of solid players, but no one really stood out and nothing was a total barn-burner, but I get the feeling that they were put together to play things more like state fairs/casinos/ oldies shows rather than punk rock clubs. Regardless, they were strong (guitar, bass, drums and keys) and gave the songs what they needed, even if a little more fire might have been nice.
Still, pleasantly surprised that she was still a hep performer who told cool stories about the tunes and worked with the crowd, who totally loved her! If you have a chance, be sure to check her out!
Old pals Eddy Bear and the Cubs had to come out after Wanda, so a good portion of the crowd did disburse, but those who stayed around got quite an eyeful as the Cubs came out dressed as Norwegian Black Metal monsters! But, other than a holiday-themed opener of "I Put a Spell on You", they kept to their set of desert honky tonk. I love their take on melodic, old-school country&western and they always put on a fine show - even when not dressed in wigs and make-up!
Every band was truly fitting for this rare, cohesive night of swingin' country/rockabilly/blues. Wish it had started closer to the advertised 9:00 time so that it would have been easier to stick around later, but overall, a terrific night. Thanks to Triple B and all the great acts!