Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Sloths, The Astaires, the Laissez Fairs at the Bunkhouse Friday May 20, 2016

The new(ish) Bunkhouse is always a funplace to check out bands - real stage and sound system (including sound man!), cheap drinks and good food! Combined with a rockin' three band line-up and how could I refuse?

Up first were the Laissez Fairs - the latest 60's psych/garage/pop project from the Steppes frontman John Fallon. Here he is joined by Joe Lawless on 12-string guitar and vocals, Brian Gathy on bass, Dale Gilbert on percussion and a revolving list of drummers. I didn't catch the name of the gentleman playing this evening, but he did a fine job keeping up with the rest of the lads.

Joe and John traded lead vocals and harmonies while John generally played lead guitar and Joe added cool 12 string flourishes and some neat sound effects from a variety of pedals. The sound is 60's-influenced, naturally, ranging from Beatles-esque pop to heavy rockers to Pink Floyd psychedelia. This is the first time that I caught this particular line up live and I was quite impressed by the sound. They don't play out often - they want the shows to be events - so catch 'em when you can!

John's son Cromm Fallon "leads" the Astaires on guitar and lead vocals, along with Dakota McCullough on guitar and sharing lead vocals, Ron Paul on bass and backing vocals and Ricky Torres on drums and vocals. They play an updated and original sounding high-energy garage rock'n'roll, with plenty of other influences thrown in. They are highly visual and the set is dominated by barely-controlled (and sometimes not controlled) chaos. Lots of jumping/falling/thrashing about but all the while keeping the songs at least relatively together! Cromm adds a variety of effects to his leads which keeps things from becoming samey, and there are some pysch touches, but still with plenty of spirit. Their covers of the Stooges "Down on the Street" (Cromm just singing) and "Do You Love Me" (Dakota putting down his guitar an taking off his glasses so he could sing and dance) were particularly crazed highlights. These youngsters get better every time I see them - hope they'll be tearing about another club soon!

60's legends The Sloths headlined the night with a powerful set of their garage/r'n'b sound, from the opening cover of Love's "7&7 Is", to Holly Vincent's "Never Enough Girls" (written for Joey Ramone but he passed before he could get it and so it was given to the Sloths), the Dr. Feelgood-ish "End of My Rope", "Before I Die" (reminiscent of the Pirates), "One Way Out" (check out their cool music video), "Haunted", "Lust" (another of the 7 deadly sins, such as the one they were named after) and, of course, their 60's Bob Diddley-inspired classic, "Makin' Love". Singer Tommy continues to be highly visual - running around the club with his wireless mic while playing harp, hitting on the women, tearing open his short, blowing up sex dolls, strangling himself with rope and much more. Guitarist Pooch keeps the sounds rockin' with Michael (bass) and Ray (drums) keep the dance beat stompin'. Really fine'n'fun stuff - they're playing as often as they can these days so see 'em when they come your way!