Sunday, March 15, 2020

Shanda and the Howlers, the Dirty Hooks, If They Love You They'll Kill You at the Sand Dollar, Saturday Mar 14, 2020

With the current Covid-19 scare, plenty of shows are being cancelled all over the world, clubs are being temporarily closed and touring bands are postponing their trips, so people are jonesing for a fun night out. This was obvious last night as the Sand Dollar was jam-packed from start-to-finish with music lovers dancin', cheerin', drinkin' and, yes, rantin'n'ravin'!

Up first at a reasonable time was the somewhat awkwardly named If They Love You They'll Kill You, a punk rock'n'roll trio with some 50's influences but mostly playing simple and effective punk rock. Solid playing and singing all around - nothing flash, just doing what the songs need - with an open tuning/slide guitar finale adding some blues/rock influences as well. Nicely done!

Another trio, the Dirty Hooks, also combined some blues and 50's influences with more of a 70's hard rock'n'roll feel, but managed to make it all their own. Some truly superb vocals and harmonies from the rock solid bassist, Bobby, and the female drummer (Jenine - who was an excellent player as well as a soulful singer) with layers of varied guitar tones and keys from Anthony (I'm told that he's a Jack White fan and I can see a little of that in his playing, although he has his own style). Bobby played a bit of harmonica on their take on "Down By the Riverside" (their only cover) and finished with the full house on the dance floor and yellin' for more.

Then we got Shanda and the Howlers! With a set of classics from their two current records (they are getting ready to start on their third) mixed in with hep covers from the likes of Ruth Brown and a heapin' helping of brand new numbers like "Get Away Girl" and "The Girl's No Good", where Trevor excels on slide guitar, Luke trades off vocals with Shanda, and the sax and guitar intertwine riffs and harmonies. Turbo drove the drums throughout the night on their rockin' soul/blues and the dance floor was filled throughout the set.

Always an excellent time with these cats'n'kitten - ridiculous amount of talent on the stage with great songs and performances. I wasn't able to stick around for their second set, but I'm sure it was explosive!

Thank you to the Sand Dollar for giving us all a fun way to let off some steam after the craziness of this week's news. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

(PS - the calzone was top notch here, as well!)