Wednesday, March 22, 2017

James Hunnicutt, the Rhyolite Sound at the Bunkhouse, Tuesday Mar 21,2017

This was an interesting - and early - week night show with one of my fave local groups along with two acts that I was not familiar with but birthday boy/promoter Brian Moy recommended.

I caught the Rhyolite Sounds just last week for the first time in a while and while this evening's set was essentially the same, I always enjoy these honky-tonkin' cats. The songs have a variety of tempos, which got people dancin', Davis gets a couple of bass "solos", there's plenty of great harmonies, frantic lead git playin', swingin' beats and drivin' acoustic guitar. It seemed like the early hour gave the guys license to cut loose a bit more, like in the almost metal, rip-roarin' lead break in the goofily entertaining "Bulge in Satan's Pants", a spot-on "Ooh Las Vegas" and a slow, simmerin' stomper nicked from Freddy King's "Goin' Down" (that they used to do) that at first seems like a loose jams but coalesces into a speedy rocker. Always a fun time!

And birthday boy got a cake and a serenade to celebrate his day!

I do nt know James Hunnicut, but apparently he was a rockabilly car (who played the Bunkhouse in its past incarnation) who is now a more casual, long-haired, acoustic bard. Armed with just an acoustic guitar (which really did sound great going through the Bunkhouse's PA - kudos to the soundman) and a terrific voice, James ran through a set of poppy, singer/songwriter-ish tunes with some fine pickin'n'strummin'. There was a little bit of country, a little pop, a little rockabilly and even a cover of Danzig's "I'm the One"! Plenty of talent here, but appearing in between two full bands did bring down the energy a bit, especially on a week night. An opening set would have helped the pacing of the night, in my un-asked-for opinion.

I was quite interested in seeing the Stoned Evergreen Travelers, but the night ran a bit longer than I had hoped and I took off so that I could get some rest for today's hectic work day.

In any case, thanks again to Brian Moy for a cool night at the Bunkhouse!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Psyatcs and the Swamp Gospel at the Huntridge Tavern - Sat Mar 18, 2017

The Huntridge Tavern is one of my favorite waterin' holes in LV and manager Kate Alexander is always terrific and easy to work with, while their crew is super nice and accommodating. The band area is super small, so any gig here is intimate by definition, which is the way I like it these days.

The Swamp Gospel had a awesome time preachin' to our regular congregation and the newly converted. With just two bands playing, each group gets a chance to stretch out some, without the usual, strict time constraints. We pulled out a few older numbers as well as a brand new one and overall soul satisfying set!

Interestingly enough, the Huntridge is also the only place that we ave played where an inebriated member of the audience was offended by our attempts at salvation - or, at least the only place where the alcohol loosens the lips of those easily offended. It has not been a problem at all, but it makes for some philosophical conversations!

(Above SG photo by John Armstrong)

(These two SG pix by Nikki Ruffling)

My favorite local garage/punk'n'roll combo joined us this evening and also stretched out their set a bit to include numbers from all three of their CDs, including the latest, Famous Monsters, which has been getting rave reviews. The set was a high-energy affair and "new" drum man, Mark,  drives a hot pace for Rob and Jack to ride over. The Huntridge pours their drinks strong and I do socialize at my own gigs, so didn't take notes this eve, but suffice it to say, the Psyatics are one of the hottest bands in Vegas right now, and they play pretty regularly, so get out and give 'em some support! We had talked about me sitting in on guitar for a song this evening but instead they invited me to sing Lou Reed's "I Can't Stand It Any More" - unfortunately, I was in the thrall of the "Bourbon Sway" (one of their more relatable songs!) and screwed up more words than I remembered! Thankfully, they dealt with my drunkenness with good humor and a good time was, indeed, had by all!

(Photos of me singing by Melanie Coffee)

Again, thank you to Kate and the entire Huntridge crew for a rockin' good time! We hope to be back soon!

RIP Bernie Wrightson

Bernie Wrightson, Swamp Thing Co-Creator, Dies at 68
His artwork was about as rock'n'roll as it gets! Loved his work.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

RIP Chuck

Chuck Berry, Rock & Roll Innovator, Dead at 90 
Thank you for giving us the rock'n'roll beat! We couldn't have done it without you!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Nots - We Are Nots and Cosmetic

I met the ladies of NOTS when the Gizmos played Goner Fest a couple of years ago and found them to be wonderful people and a wild, punk/post-punk/noise group! Definitely a highlight of the festival and when they came to Las Vegas a couple of months ago I rectified my previous neglectfulness by picking up their two CDs (they had some vinyl, as well, but my resources were limited).

I am making the assumption that guitarist/vocalist Natalie "leads" the group, although I also assume that everyone contributes to create their unique, strident sound. Certainly influenced by the No-Wave/Noise scene, as well as a bit of goth (Siouxie/Bauhaus nods here'n'there), punk and post-punk (Sonic Youth comes to mind now'n'again), Discordant, but with cool melodic lines from both the guitar and synth (the keys add a terrific touch), super powerful drumming and solid, driving bass lines.

Maybe you can't exactly sing along with most of the songs, but you can certainly appreciate the angular, biting edge, the punk energy and the pounding beats. The guitar tones vary from clean'n'biting to heavily effected (echo/reverb) and interacts well with the looping synth lines. The vocals are generally shrieked/shouted/chanted (dig the repetitive and apparently sarcastic "Get Along") and song titles like "White Noise", "Black Mold", "Monochromatic", "Static" and "Strange Rage" give you a good idea of the subject matter and style.

On Cosmetic, "Blank Reflection" is especially strong'n'driving, with a non-stop beat propelling a Joy Division-ish tune, with fantastic washes of sound throughout. I keep wanting to turn this up louder'n'louder! "Rat King" is even more frantic, the synth lines really stand out in "Cold Line", "New Structures" has roaming guitar riffs that intersects the looping synth and crashes'n'smashes with the drums'n'cymbals, the title track stomps through your skull like a sonic Godzilla, "No NOvelty" is punk rock mania, I think I heard some fist album Siouxie in "Inherently Low", definitely picking up some Bauhaus in the jarring "Fluorescent Sunset", and it closes with an apparent jab at jaded audiences in "Entertain Me".

Although I might not write about it much, I am a huge fan of the late 70's/early 80's No Wave/Noise and Goth scenes (and I did just write about Rema Rema!) and these women continue in that vein and bring their own power and edge to it all. Love these records!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

RIP James Cotton

Harmonica Legend James Cotton 1935 – 2017 

recommended gigs

Friday Mar 17 - Thee Swank Bastards with Franks'n'Deans at the Double Down
Friday Mar 17 - early show - 5:00pm - with the All Togethers at Boca Park's Spring Fest

Saturday Mar 18 - The Swamp Gospel and the Psyatics at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday Mar 18 - daytime show at Bonnie Springs with Water Landing, the Swank Bastards, the All Togethers and more!

Sunday Mar 19 - Shanda and the Howlers hosting the LV Blues Society Jam at Saddles'n'Spurs

Tues Mar 21 - James Hunnicutt and Stoned Evergreen Travelers with the Rhyolite Sound at the Bunkhouse
Tuesday Mar 21 - the Acid Sisters at the Griffin

Friday Mar 24 - Spotted Dick and the Wylde Knights with Half Ast at the Double Down
Friday Mar 24 - Guantanamo Baywatch with the Van Der Rohe and Thee Swank Bastards at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Mar 25 - the Coathangers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Mar 25 - Fear and the Unholy Sounds of Damnation at the Dive Bar
Saturday Mar 25 - Thee Swank Bastards daytime show in Boulder City
Saturday Mar 25 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Mar 25 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon - 5pm

Sunday Mar 26 - Out of the Desert at Rebar 6-9 pm

Monday Mar 27 - Peelander z, the Time Crashers, Illicitor, Easter Teeth at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 1 - Bogtrotter's Union with the Swank Bastards at the Double Down
Saturday April 1 - the Super Zeroes with Kella bo Bella at the Hard Hat

Wednesday April 5 - Franks'n'Deans and the All Togethers at the Double Down

Thursday April 6 - Zeke with Nashville Pussy at Backstage Bar and Billiards
Thursday April 6 - the Psyatics with Scutches, Jerk at the Double Down

Friday April 7 - Bob Log III at the Beauty Bar

Sunday April 9 - the Damned at the House of Blues
Sunday April 9 - the Big Lazy and the Sin Eaters at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Monday April 10 - the Nobodys, Jerk!, Badger, the Pluralses at the Beauty Bar

Wednesday April 12 - the Delta Bombers with Bebo and the Goodtime Boys and Shuggie B. Goode at the Bunkhouse

Saturday April 15 - Agent Orange with the Psyatics, Civilians and Sheiks of Shake at the Beauty Bar

Wednesday April 19 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders and the Swank Bastards at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 20 - Thee Swank Bastards, Franks'n'Deans, the Pluralses at the Dive Bar

Saturday April 22 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki
Saturday April 22 - Assorted Jellybeans and the Maxies, Phenomenauts, Alan Six and lots more at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday April 26 - Tacacat, Negative Nancys and the Van der Rohe at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Saturday May 20 - the Swamp Gospel with the Psyatics and Sin Eaters at the Double Down

Thursday May 25 - Shoen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 26 - Television and the Weirdos at the Bunkhouse!

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

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

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wayne Hancock, Big Sandy and the Fly Right Trio, Will and the High Rollers and the Rhyolite Sound at the Dive Bar, Tuesday Mar 14, 2017

This is a show that I was waiting for for months (or so it seemed)! What an amazing line-up at the always-fun Dive Bar!

Opening the eve was my fave local country band, the Rhyolite Sound, bringing Las Vegas the sounds of true, old school C&W. now with (reasonably) new drummer, AJ (I think - please correct me guys - you know I'm terrible with names! Good guy and great drummer!) in tow. I really dug the slow build of the intro that crested in a wild slide solo, followed by an upbeat "Got You On My Mind", cool harmonies in "Lost and Found", dual guitar riffs throughout, excellent vocal interplay between Erik's more pure vocal tones and Larry's gruffly melodic voice, brieft bass and drum solos (although Davis had some technical issues, he was still in top form on his stand-up and locked in with the drums) and closing out with the goofy crowd pleasure "I'm the Bulge in Satan's Pants" and Gram Parsons' wonderful "Ooh Las Vegas". I've said it before and I'll keep saying it - Wade is my fave local guitarist and it's always a pelasure to watch his riff away and with the rest of the talent in this group, this is a band to see!

Having never seen Will and the High Rollers before, I am under the impression that it has a revolving line-up but this evening it consisted of Will (also of the local garage rockers the Van Der Rohe) on vocals, the Delta Bombers guitarist and bassist (Gregorio and Andrew), along with Larry Reha (from the Sin Eaters and having just sang in the Rhyolite Sound) on drums. Great combo, giving a JOhnny Burnette Trio-like performance. I think a good portion of the set was originals and a number of the songs were sung in Spanish, and it was all rockin' with high energy rockabilly spirit. Will is a fun, visual frontman - and a stylish dresser - and the band powered through the songs. Always great to see Larry rockin' the drums!

I don't think I've seen a full set (though he did a special guest appearance a little while ago at Triple B) by Big Sandy since we were both living in LA, but he is still as great as ever. Excellent voice, wonderful frontman and a consummate rocker! His current Fly Right Trio is excellent - amazing, jazzy guitarist, snappy (playing and dressed) drummer and fine stand-up bass - and they bring the melodic rockabilly songs to life behind Robert. Some tunes were kinda Bobby Fuller Four-ish, filled with harmonies, and others were just damn good rockabilly numbers. They got the folks out on the dance floor and whoopin' in up and generally brought the house down! I sure hope they come back again soon!

I loved Wayne Hancock's classic country stylings the last time he played the Dive Bar and he and his top-notch band were at least as good this time (looking at my pix, it seems like everyone except maybe the bassist was the same), although it seemed to take him a couple of songs to warm up. But, the sound was pretty exceptional this evening (thanks, Mr. Kirby!) and Wayne's acoustic locked in with the stand-up bass to drive the rhythms while his two lead guitarists (one a bit more jazzy, one more rock'n'roll) and female steel player added the lead flourishes. I have really grown to love steel guitar and this woman was pretty damn noteworthy, as were both of the guitarists. They all got plenty of tine to shine as Wayne would call out solos for each of them in every songs - there was a pretty fair amount of jamming in this set, for whatever reason. Whether is was pure C&W, blues, of Hank Williams covers, Wayne's voice was in fine form and the band cooked. Great set!

This was an amazing night from start to finish and well worth the cover price! Thank you to the Dive Bar'n'Angie'n'Nate'n'John'n'whoever else for hosting such a cool time. There was a great crowd the entire time, too, so I hope we get more nights like this!