Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thee Swank Bastards, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, Yosemite Slam and the Bitters at the Beauty Bar, Wednesday April 19, 2017

I do enjoy the occasional mid-week gig and this line-up of friends was a good excuse to get out of the house and let off some steam.

Opening was the Bitters, a wild'n'wacky instrumental three piece consisting of Jeff Murphy on guitar, Vinny Moncada on bass and Frank Klepacki on drums. Each member is fairly exceptional on their instrument and they perform high energy, highly complicated, Zappa-esque, vocal-less tunes that are made to impress. Some were a bit jazzy, in a Mahavishnu Orchestra kinda way, with everyone soloing with skill. Not exactly something you will hum along with, but impressive!

Yosemite Slam's vocalist/stand-up bassist Justin now lives in NYC, so they are not overly active in town (logically), but they made an exception for this gig! The group mixes styles, with guitarist Mitch being a bit more metallic and drummer Ryan keeping it all together, as they run through numbers like "CC Rider" and "Ace of Spades" along with songs about Twin Peaks and railroads. The sound wasn't the best this evening, but they pulled off some fine harmonies and were engaging and entertaining!

Melanie and the Midnite Marauders were up next with our reinterpretation of classic honky-tonk drinkin' tunes and our debut of our new t-shirts (with custom artwork by Jw Caldwell).

(MMM pix by Nikki Ruffling)

Closing the night was Thee Swank Bastards, in the middle of their 19-or-so gig streak in a matter of 2 weeks! Unfortunately, dancer Szandora was wiped out from the gigs that they have already done and couldn't make it, but this gig's line-up of Jesse, Jeff and Turbo ran through their usual set of surf standards and originals, along with covers of Black Sabbath, Slayer and the Dead Kennedys! Jesse can't sit still and was all over the stage, speakers and back patio, while Jeff told rude jokes and played fast-movin' bass runs and Turbo pounded out the powerful back beat. Always a fun time! They have several more shows in this wild run of theirs, so see them before they collapse from exhaustion!