Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unsung Heroes of Rock'n'Roll - Nick Tosches

Initially released in 1984, this book is impressively researched, especially for those pre-computer/Wikipedia times. Since the advent of the internet, a lot of these "unsung heroes" are a lot more well known and a lot more releases have come to light, but it must have been beyond exciting to come across a record by one of these cats'n'kittens back in the day.

Nick admits that there is no way to know - and no reason to define - what was the first "rock'n'roll" record, but the folks that he writes about certainly did their own style of rockin'n'rollin' in their times. Artists that are - now, at least - comparatively well known like Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Bill Haley, Wanda Jackson, Louis Prima and such rub shoulders (or pages) with Wynonie Harris, Ella Mae Morse, Amos Milburn, Ming and Ling, Jimmie Logsdon and many more, some completely obscure, some that now have CD comps dedicated to them.

The stories that Tosches tells may or may not be completely true (as in his tale of Esau Smith), but they are entertaining and he adds an ambitious discography at the end, including a new CD section, and even adds a "chronology of the coming of rock'n'roll".

Fun stuff that will certainly give you some artists to look up and for your ever-expanding r'n'r needs!

Crossfire Hurricane - Rolling Stones documentary

This documentary combines audio from new interviews with archival footage taken from the band's career, meaning that while there is not much new or revealing here, it is a good overview of the group.

There's not a lot that the average fan will not know - the story is simply the basics of the group's history from its inception through the late 70's/early 80's - and a lot of the footage is taken from previous films like Gimme Shelter, Cocksucker Blues, the TAMI Show, etc., but, as with a compilation album, it's nice to have everything in one place for a viewing. There are some scenes that I had not seen before, as well, especially in the early days - great concert footage and some more interviews.

Overall, not a necessity but nice to view for free on Netflix or the like.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Frank and Dino Show at the Double Down Saloon, Sunday May 28, 2017

The Frank and Dino Show are Frank Meyer and Dino Everett from the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs doing an acoustic act and takin' it on the road. They came out to the Double Down Saloon for the closing of the Punk Rock Bowling weekend and gave people a taste of their style of acoustic punk rock with songs from the Cheetahs ("Shawna", "Miss Teen USA", etc.), Judas Priest ("Sanctuary"), Van Halen by way of their cover of John Brim's "Ice Cream Man" and some more obscure numbers, like a couple that a friend of Dino's wrote. Frank is the Cheetahs lead singer but in this combo Dino sings leads on several numbers and provides harmonies throughout, while keeping the bass rhythm going behind Frank's guitar. Oddly, there were some weird technical issues where Frank's rig created some odd percussive sounds that were unwanted, but didn't necessarily detract from the songs! In any case, it was great to see these old friends (we've played together in different projects and known each other for well over two decades) making music in town again.

Thee Swank Bastards at Champagnes, Sunday May 28, 2017

The Swank Bastards, the band that will play anywhere at any time, took over local dive bar, Champagnes on Sunday night and packed the place with friends and surf/instrumental fanatics. This eve's line-up included the Heximers backing up guitarist Jesse and they entertained as Jesse showed off his lightnin' fast riffs and fancy footwork, Denise displayed beauty'n'class'n'bass runs galore (and blinded everyone with her mirrored pick guard on her Framus bass), while Clay held down the swingin' back-beat while eating a cheeseburger (Champagnes had a BBQ goin' on out back) and drinkin' multiple drinks. Good time had by all! I hope that Champagnes does more shows like this - cool bands and early nights are a great Sunday treat!

Shonen Knife, Candy Warpop, Pet Tigers at the Beauty Bar Thursday May 25, 2017

I learned about Japanese cult favorites Shoen Knife through Redd Kross way back in the early 80's (SK started in 1981), although they were eclectic enough back then that it was reasonably difficult to find their records. As their Stateside popularity grew, they released more records over here and toured a number of times. I caught them at least once before, but that was a good 20+ years ago. So, we were looking forward to seeing them again and catching up on their sounds.

Opening at the Beauty Bar was locals the Pet Tigers, a duo consisting of drums and keyboards. As such, they have a New-Wave-y/somewhat electronica sound with poppy melodies, programmed bass lines and plenty of effects to fill out the sound, including a well-used harmonizer on the vocals. Interesting and different!

Another local fave, Candy Warpop, came next with their effect-laden, kinda stoner-rock, kinda Siouxie-Goth sounds. All good players, they had a theatrical and political edge ("Trump is a Nazi" is one song) and they tackled subjects like sexual predators, as well. They closed with a Reagan Youth cover (I know nothing about that band, so didn't know how to compare it to the original) that was super noisy and in which the singer did some biblical preachin'. Again, something out of the ordinary, at least from my musical circle.

By the time that Shonen Knife was ready to go on, the patio at the Beauty Bar was packed with fans who totally dug their simplistic punk-pop sounds. The band sounded considerably better and more entertaining than we remembered them from ages ago and their tunes, energy and super-fun performance was a great breath of freah r'n'r air. Older numbers like "Twist Barbie" were mixed with brand new tunes that they described as being influenced by 60's and 70's hard rock. Lots of harmonies, all three members sang at least one song (although guitarist Naoko is the main lead vocalist), plenty of riff-rockers and glam-rock numbers, lots and lots of songs about food, a kazoo solo and a slew of Redd Kross/Kiss stage moves! Great performance! Thank you to the Beauty Bar for this amazing gig!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

RIP Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69
Another part of my youth gone... Whether they were your cup of tea or not, the Allman Brothers were supremely talented and were pioneers...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

recommended gigs

Thursday May 25 - Shoen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 26 - Television and the Weirdos at the Bunkhouse!
Friday May 26 - Super Zeroes, Agent 86 at the Double Down
Friday May 26 - the Mentors and the Mapes at the Dive Bar

Saturday May 27 - Time Crashers, Tiki Bandits at the Double Down
Saturday May 27 - Riot Gun, the Swank Bastards, Illicitor, Lambs to Lions at Evel Pie

Sunday May 28 - The Frank and Dino Show (from the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs) at the Double Down Saloon
Sunday May 28 - The Swank Bastards at Champagnes

Monday May 29 - Franks and Deans at Triple B Squid Hat PRB After Party

Friday June 2 - the Protomen, 3d6 and Time Crashers at Vinyl

Saturday June 3 - Whiskey Breath reunion show at the Hideaway

Sunday June 4 - Johnny Zig and the Highlighters at Double Down Saloon's Burly-Q-Revue

Wednesday June 7 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast at the Double Down

Thursday June 8 - The Acid Sisters, the Cave Singers and the First Sun at the Bunkhouse
Thursday June 8 - Mr Elevator, Van der Rohe, FreeLSD's Bad Trip at the Beauty Bar

Sunday June 11 - Rhyolite Sound with the Reeves Brothers at the Bunkhouse

Monday June 12 - Heroine, Shawn James, the Psyatics at the Beauty Bar

Friday June 16 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, Sheiks of Neptune, Danger Inc at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday June 17 - the Bitters at Money Plays

Sunday June 18 - Guitar Wolf at the Beauty Bar

Friday June 23 - the Peculiar Pretzelmen and the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Friday June 30 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Golden Tiki

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Thursday July 27 - Black Pussy, the Freeks, Freelsd's bad trip at Triple B

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Aug 3 - David Allen Coe at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 19 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 23 - Les Grys Grys and the Van Der Rohe at the Griffin

Sunday Sept 3 - the Mapes, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, Odd Robot at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

Friday Sept 8 - Mitch Ryder at the Golden Nugget

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Sin Eaters, the Psyatics and the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down Saloon, Saturday May 20, 2017

I like to celebrate my birthday by doing what I like best - playing music with good friends (and my lovely wife!). The Double Down Saloon was kind enough to let me set up this evening with a couple of my faorite local bands, for a night of amazing tunes.

The Swamp Gospel opened the night (as we do) to a sparse audience - maybe we started too early - but I'm grateful for those who supported and joined the congregation!

(SG photos by Nikki Ruffling, as usual - thanks Nikki! And thanks for the cookies!)

Our good pals, the Psyatics were up next and suddenly the club was packed! Coincidence or due to their awesomeness and the innumerable terrific reviews for their latest record, Famous Monsters? I tend to think it was the latter! Great set of songs from all of their releases but concentrating on that most recent one, with new man on the block Mark keeping the snappy, interesting beats behind Rob's rollickin' bass lines and Jack's guitar noize and non-stop movements. In fact, Jack's gyrations through out his guitar and he used the Swamp Gospel's sanctified 6-string for the rest of his sinnin' set!

Speakin' of sinnin', I was lucky enough to get another one of the best bands in town, the Sin-Eaters, for the night. These cats - Larry on drums, Jeffrey on harp and vocals, Wade on guitar and vocals and Chris Davis on stand up - are some of the finest musicians you're ever gonna hear and they blast out a blues-based back-beat that no one else can touch. Dynamic versions of tunes like "King Bee", "Skinny Woman", "Automatic", "Hip Shake Thing" and more that showcase everyone's expertise. They never fail to entertain and amaze.

Thank you again to the Double Down, the bands and everyone who came out!