Monday, February 19, 2018

Shanda and the Howlers, Thee Swank Bastards, The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Double Down, Saturday Feb 17, 2018

I can never play as often as I would like since other band members all have so many other commitments but I was able to put together this evening with some good friends and great musicians. The Gentlemen played first to a good crowd and while I personally wasn't at the top of my game, it was a fun set and we appreciate everyone who came out early for us.

(Gentlemen photo by Jules Phillips)

Thee Swank Bastards are the premier surf band in Las Vegas and this evening leader/guitarist Jess was joined by powerhouse drummer Turbo (arriving after playing a couple of sets across town with the New Waves) and bass whiz Jeff Murphy, along with eye candy Ivanna Blaize. They kept their set reasonable short'n'sweet with a few originals thrown in their mix of old school covers and with Jesse wandering through the club as he spit out super-charged riffs over Murphy's intricate bass lines and Turbo's rhythms. Great set!

I never get to see Shanda and the Howlers nearly as often as I would like for one reason or another, so I was glad to be able to get them on this bill (after guitarist Trevor played another gig earlier!). This evening they were aided'n'abetted by Turbo on drums (he just can't stop playing!) as well as founders Luke (bass) and Micah (sax). Shanda's Big Maybelle-like blues belting led the band through songs from their CD, Trouble, as well as covers like the Sonics' "Shot Down" and their ravin' closer "Shout". They threw in some new numbers from a record they recorded the previous weekend with Trevor smokin' on the first bluesy tune, a John Lee Hooker-styled pounder (that was all too short - this one could easily be expanded to great effect) and a James Brown-ish soul ballad highlighting Shanda's dynamic voice and culminating in a wild build up. Original drummer Keith sat in for two songs from Trouble (the title track and "She Don't Want a Man") even though he is recovering from a serious illness, proving that he is still pretty damn excellent, despite adversity. Great set all around and always a blast and a crowd favorite - see them whenever you can!

Unfortunately, real life and old age prevented me from sticking around for Stagnetti's Cock and Wild Ride, but I hope they had great sets, as well!