Sunday, April 05, 2015

Dion and the Sonics at the Viva Las Vegas Car Show Saturday April 4, 2015

I'm not one for the big festivals these days, but when I heard that the Sonics would be headlining the Viva Las Vegas Car Show and we could buy tickets for just that day, we had to go check 'em out again, since we were blown away the last time they were in town.

As much as I dig early shows, life does sometimes get in the way and we were only able to catch the last two songs from the legendary Dion. "Run Around Sue" and closer "The Wanderer" sounded pretty damn great though - Dion can still sing and he had a hot band behind him. He was able to get the cats'n'kittens swingin'n'swayin' in the hot sun in the parkin' lot! Good stuff!

Then, after wanderin' the car show, checkin' out the hot rods and the booths, sayin' hi to friends and buyin' drinks, the main attraction of the day came out for the sundown set - the mighty Sonics! Not a lot of people were fightin' for spots in front before they started so I was afraid of what the rockabilly crowd would think, but the band won them over with their original power-chord-garage and the place was packed with everyone shoutin' along and lovin' every riff'n'scream emanating from the stage!

Right from the start the men let you know that they were not here for some laid-back nostalgia act, but here to blast your ears with some of the most ferocious garage rock that ever existed. Opening with the incredible "Cinderella" (with bassist Freddie Dennis taking lead vocals), the sound was massive and fierce, just as it should be! If anything, these gents were even better sounding than at the Hard Rock! Jerry Rosalie took over for "Shot Down" and "He's Waiting", and once again, it was incredible to see guitar man Larry Parypa rip out these licks'n'leads from his Les Paul.

Freddy returned for "Dirty Robber", with Jerry smokin' the keys and Rob Lind blowin' some frantic sax. "Have Love, Will Travel" with Jerry and then a new song, "Sugaree". With most old bands, the announcement of a new song means a trip to the restroom or bar, but these cats are doin' it right and the new tunes would have fit right in on their old albums. Freddie sings this one, but Jerry gets a cool key solo and Rob rocks the sax. Love that they put in "You Got Your Head on Backwards, Baby" and Rob takes lead vocals here and blows some mean harp, as well. Couple more new ones that are also terrific - "Be A Woman" (with a hot guitar riff) and Jerry's "I Got Your Number and It's 666"!

The classic "Keep  a'Knockin'" gets the Sonics treatment with Jerry truly rockin' the keys (he saves his voice throughout the set, but he - like the rest of the guys - can still play like motherf'kers!) and then their new single, "Bad Betty" with Jerry on lead and organ and a really hip key/sax trade off instro section. "Boss Hoss", "Little Sister", "Money" and then their monster take on "Louie Louie" that still takes it from an amazing frat rock tune to a vicious pre-metal stomper!

The night ended with a trio of killers,"Psycho", "Strychnine" - with an amazing extended guitar solo that took everyone by surprise - and the half-step chord riff of "The Witch". Drummer Dusty propelled everything all through the set and emulated the key drum parts while still bashin' it out with his own fills.

Once again, absolutely phenomenal and inspiring from start to finish and what a treat for garage rock fans of all ages who never thought that they could see these legends in person. Be sure to see them if you ever have a chance - fantastic!