Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Sonics, The Van der Rohe, The Swamp Gospel and Self Abuse at Backstage Bar & Billiards Fri Jan 20, 2017

A fun rock'n'roll diversion was certainly needed after a long, rainy, depressing Friday and the Sonics at BBB were there to provide it!

Opening the night with a blast of 80's punk rock power were Las Vegas' own Self Abuse. Formed in 1982, original members Anthony (drums) and Sean (guitar) they now include Vegas punk-about-town Ruckus on bass and Riley on vocals. They do a melodic pre-hardcore punk rock'n'roll with solid playing all around and great vocals. I don't listen to a lot of "punk rock" these days, but really enjoyed them. Nice guys too! (Thanks for sharing drums!)

The Swamp Gospel went on next and had a few too many technical difficulties (both Lenny and myself) but still had a fine time preachin'n'ramblin' to the crowd! Thanks to everyone who made it out early and who had their souls cleansed with our rock'n'roll. (Thanks to Ron Hudy for the cool photos of us!)

Van der Rohe guitarist Cromm just graduated from college and as his graduation gift was given the chance to open for the Sonics! Not a bad present at all! These youngsters are garage rock masters who mix in terrific covers (Q65, the Fabs) with a batch of excellent, 60's styled originals. I've dug Cromm's manic guitar style in his various combos (Acton Town, Astaires and more), Noland is a wildman on the bass, Will has a great r'n'r voice and Omar's drumming is powerfully snappy and helps to keep the chaos together. Certainly an appropriate combo to open for....

The Sonics! Certainly one of the most famous, pivotal and influential garage bands of all time, they now only include one original member, sax/harp player Rob, but have and incredible singer in their bassist Freddie (ex of Sonics peers the Kingsmen, among others), the terrific Dusty on drums and Jake (Lords of Altamont, Bomboras, Fuzztones, many others) and Evan (Boss Martians) on guitar. Not quite the same as when we played with them a few years ago with original guitar and keys Larry and Gerry, but this "new" line up has gelled nicely and were incredibly rockin' this night. 

Their set was super solid, opening with "Cinderella" and running through old and newer tunes: "Shot Down", "C'mon Everybody" (think that Eddie Cochran tune is a new addition), "Sugarlee", "Have Love Will Travel", (I noticed that Evan was mixing up the guitar tones from cleanish to downright dirty and super heavy), Jake got to sing one that I didn't recognize but had shout-along "heys" (he pounded out electric piano as well as organ), Dusty had some drum issues as well, but was fantastic all night, then into "You Got Your Head On Backwards" with Rob singing and playing harp, "Bad Betty", "Keep A'Knockin'", "Louie Louie" (Even did an excellent job singing their definitive version of this classic), "Hard Way", "Boss Hoss", "Money", "Little Sister", "He's Waiting" (Jake singing), "Lucille", and ending the set with the amazing "Psycho". Back for an encore of "I Don't Need No Doctor", "Strychnine" and their first single, "The Witch"!

Super fun night all around! Thanks to Danielle, Big Daddy Carlos, BBB and the Sonics for a great rock'n'roll night - and thanks to everyone for coming out and damn near packin' the place!