The B Movie Rats reunion show with Pat Todd & the Rank Outsiders, The Black Widows and the Golden Rulers - Cafe Nela, LA, Friday July 15, 2016
Upon hearing that the B Movie Rats were going to be doing a couple of reunion shows in LA, we immediately took off of work and made plans to be there. Apparently, we missed some previous, barely mentioned reunion, so we didn't want to miss this - especially with the star-studded line-ups that they put together!
We had never been to Cafe Nela - it came into vogue after we moved to Vegas - but it is a cool little dive bar with a real stage, PA and, for this evening anyway, legendary soundman Dirty Ed! Opening up was John Ramirez' current project, the Golden Rulers, who feature John Collinson on drums, Mike Alvidrez on bass and, as of this night, a new, second guitarist whose name I missed and who is not listed on their FB page! In any case, they are a loud'n'heavy punk'n'roll combo with a mighty twin guitar attack and a rockin' rhythm section who handled the different tempos and kept it all groovin'! Some tunes kinda reminded me of the Hellacopters and they did hard-edged covers of Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" (that turned into a wild jam). Very cool stuff!
The greatest instrumental band in the world, The Black Widows, followed with their "all original, all evil" set of tunes that were, for the most part, newer than their newest, fantastic CD, Evilution! Guitarist Dr. Vibe just can't stop writing new tunes! Far from being a surf band, these cats do self-described "spider rock" that mixes some surf sounds with punk rock, heavy metal (tidbits of Sabbath and Zep can be found here'n'there), funk and 60's garage. They wear masks to hide their "severe identities" and take over the club with frantic prowlin' all while playing complex, but damn catchy, rock'n'roll. Since they do not speak and the songs are all instrumental, they had hand-made signs for each number and this evening Melanie was their card turner! Amazing, as always!
The photos that I managed to get do not even begin to capture the majesty and madness of the powerful B Movie Rats! Performing as the Killer Woman line-up - Rick on drums, Curt on guitar, Bill on bass and Derek on lead vox - they tore through songs from that record as well as Bad For You and some of their better covers, such as the Faces' "Borstal Boys". As soon as they hit the stage, Rick's amazing snare drum rolls (he plays a snare, a bass rum, 1 ride cymbal and high-hat!) drove the band and the crowd into a frenzy, as the group threw themselves around the stage (and audience) all while playing these incredible punk'n'roll songs with a fiery fury that was clearly a blast! I have always loved these guys - as people and as a band - and goddam if they didn't pull off a fantastic performance despite a break of 13 years or so! Even later guitarist Matt Lake joined them for a few numbers to add even more wildness to the night! A couple of minor technical issues here'n'there but really, ya couldn't have asked for more or for a better set of rock'n'roll!
But, even after that bit of rock'n'roll revolution, we got Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders to cap off the evening with another set of terrific performances. Pat, of course, has been an LA institution since the early 80's and while the band and the songs might change a bit here'n'there, it is always pure rock'n'roll! The Outsiders - Rick, Nick, Kevin and Bob (formerly of the Creamers, back in the 80's) - are tighter than ever - I seriously think this was the best I've ever seen them - and Pat continues to be a stellar front man who still looks the same as the day I first met him! The set was super strong with the surprise from the Cowgirls days, "Who You Calling a Slut", as well as fun covers like Lazy Lester's "Sugar Coated Love" and the classic "Route 66". Both guitars gave us biting leads, the rhythm section kept the crowd movin' and Pat keeps exploring new melodies while still being able to shout it out with the best of them!
Man, I couldn't believe that Cafe Nela was able to book a night this packed with talent! From start to finish it was an absolute blast and for us, it was a superb rock'n'roll class reunion! LA is still the home of killer rock'n'roll!