Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gram Rabbit, The Darts, the Acid Sisters and the Van Der Rohe at the Bunkhouse, Thursday Nov 10, 2016

It was difficult to pull myself out of the house this week, but with a friend in town and a great show at the Bunkhouse, as well as a holiday the next day, I managed to make it out and see some amazing acts.

Local garage "kids", the Van der Rohe, opened the night with their set of 60's Back From the Grave "classics" and originals. Unpredictable, chaotic, animated and just plain fun, these cats - Cromm on guitar, Will on vocals, Noland on bass and Omar on drums - blast out "The Bag I'm In", "New Kind of Kick" (with Noland singing/screaming), Q65's "Cry in the Night", and a closing number that reminded me of the MC5's "Black to Comm", where Cromm ending up busting his guitar! Will has a cool voice and good stage presence, Cromm's guitar is noisily rockin', Noland bashes his bass while Omar's snappy, surfy drums complete and overall great sound. One of my fave new local bands!

The Acid Sisters are a relatively new combo led by guitarist Nick (ex Crazy Chief) and his lovely wife Elayna (vocals), joined by Jacob (drums), Lizzie and Dusty (bass and keys - sorry, I didn't find out who was who) to create a psychedelic stew of rock'n'roll, garage, and a bit of Siouxie-ish goth. All original (I believe), they have a unique sound that I truly enjoyed, but had a bit of a hard time pinning down. I will definitely be seeing more of them.

One of the main reasons that I really wanted to get to the show was the LV debut of the all-femme Darts. Featuring Nicole (keys/lead vox) and Christine (bass/vocals) from the fantastic Love Me Nots, drummer Rikki Styxx (currently in the Two Tens) and guitarist Michelle (Brainspoon), these lovely women create an amazing wall-of-garage-sound that combines seriously strong playing with excellent songwriting. Rikki is truly one of the best drummers around these days, and Christine locks in with solid runs, Nicole wrestles her keys to the ground while playing creative licks and Michelle's guitar is beautifully noisy'n'riffy. Fuzz bass dominates, Christine gets to sing a couple numbers, Michelle pulls out the slide once in a while, and the Stooges-like closer had some incredible guitar'n'keyboard trade-offs. Kind of like all of the best of the Love Me Nots (one of the top bands of recent years) with not just two, but four gorgeous women wearing sexy black slips while rockin' your world. They will be doing some touring at the beginning of the year - see them if you can - I guarantee you will not regret it!

I really knew next to nothing about Joshua Tree's Gram Rabbit, other than seeing Jesika Von Rabbit a few months back at this same venue. I know that GR was a big part of the Joshua Tree psych scene and I was afraid that they would have more rave-like tendencies but I truly enjoyed their more rock sound this evening. Jesika mostly sang lead and played keys and bass, Todd primarily played bass, but also some guitar and at times simply sang lead, Ethan had a fine, heavy guitar tone and Jason gave it all a strong back beat. There is a big mix of sounds, with some dance beats, plenty of noise, a big Bowie-esque influence here'n'there, a Bauhaus reference, and even a cover of "Hocus Pocus" by Focus! Everyone is a great player - Jesika's keys are strong and interesting - and the overall sound was rockin'n'entertaining. They're touring as well - certainly worth checking out!

Thank you to the Bunkhouse, the Dirty Rock'n'Roll Dance Party (who produced the show) and all of the sponsors for providing a much-needed rock'n'roll oasis in this week of turmoil!