Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Howlin' King Crawdad at Saddles'n'Spurs - Tues Feb 9, 2016

Since we did not have a chance to get around to making our traditional gumbo or etouffee this year, we needed to do something to celebrate Mardi Gras and went down the street'n'around the corner to our local honky-tonk, Saddles'n'Spurs to check our Vegas' own "twisted Zydeco" band, Howlin' King Crawdad.

We arrived as the band was completing their first set by bringing in the revelers to the dance floor to wear masks and play percussion as they called for the "king" to arrive, who then led them on a carnival conga line out the bar and - apparently - around the block, as they all disappeared for a good 15-20 minutes! But, they all certainly seemed to have a good time!


For their second set, the band, consisting of acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, washboard and, of course, accordion, did indeed play plenty of traditional and not-so-traditional zydeco music, with plenty of escapades abounding. The "King" - lead singer and accordionist - told jokes, sang bawdy tales and danced around the audience and the club while playing, giving plenty of visual amusement to go along with the music. Just before we left for the night, they brough up a couple more horn players to join the mandolinist, who moved to trombone, for a New Orleans stomp through "When the Saints Come Marchin' In".





Definitely dun stuff and I don't know where else in Vegas you're going to see live Zydeco, but I'd be interested if anyone knows! Check out this crew for a good time, though!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Blasters, the Sin City Ditch Diggers, the Royal Hounds, Shanda and the Howlers at Triple B, Friday Feb 5, 2016

Great night for the Triple B with a great line up of local acts opening for the legendary Blasters!

First up was the relative newcomers, Shanda and the Howlers, featuring Shanda (natch) from the Shandaleers, Luke of the Lucky Cheats, Trevor from the Part Time Criminals (and many other projects), sax-man Micah and drummer Keith. While they have only been playing out a few months, their set is now mostly originals mixing 50's/60's jump blues, soul and rock'n'roll. Shanda has a terrific, powerful voice, Trevor has a wonderful guitar tone, Micah wails and Luke and Keith keep the beat swingin' for your dancin' pleasure! Some stuff kinda reminded me of old Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes material, but all was great, with call'n'answer vocals, plenty of dynamics, cool pauses, key changes and even a wailin' take on the Sonics' "Shot Down". Definitely one of my new fave bands in town!





The Royal Hounds followed with their slick showmanship and rockin' riffs, even with Keith from the Howlers sitting in on drums as a last minute replacement. Fun stuff like covers of "I Love Paris" and "Surfin' Bird"/"Train Kept a-Rollin'" and originals like "I'm in Love With a Zombie" all while boppin' around the stage in their highly animated way and even throwing around the stand-up bass.



The Sin City Ditch Diggers got the coveted slot right before the Blasters but was unfortunately plagued with sound issues that didn't appear to be there fault. Eventually things got worked out, but it did mess with their momentum, even if they handled it like pros and made the best of the situation. Think there were some new songs this evening and they did get the crowd up'n'dancin'!



While I miss Dave Alvin's playing and charisma, the Blasters are still a force to be reckoned with and lead guitarist Keith Wyatt is a monster player. Of course, Phil's voice and rhythm playing remains excellent and Bill'n'John on drums'n'bass give an incredible drivin' backbeat to the tunes that, I think, give the songs their power'n'style. I certainly can't imagine the band without them! The set list seems pretty much the same as the last couple times they've been out here (3 times within a year, I believe - that's gotta be a record for a touring band coming to Vegas!) - "Long White Cadillac", "Border Radio", "Dark Night", the ultra-groovy start'n'stop of "I'm Shakin'", the harp tunes "Hear Me Cryin'" and "Goodbye Baby, So Long", "Daddy Rollin' Stone", "American Music", "Marie Marie" and plenty more! They can move from slow, sizzlin' blues, to mid-tempo guitar workouts (Keith was particularly impressive this night), to frantic rockers and never lose their touch or lose the audience. True professionals and another truly great set!





Gotta also give kudos to DJ's Lucky LaRue and Big Daddy for keepin' the tunes and the feet flying in between the live acts. Cool night all around - thanks Triple B!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

recommended gigs

Thursday Feb 4 - the All Togethers at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 5 - the Blasters at Triple B with Shanda and the Howlers and DJ Lucky LaRue
Friday Feb 5 - Bernie Down the House - A Bands for Bernie Sanders event at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Feb 6 - Time Crashers, Swamp Pussy, Sector 7G, Bitches'n'Dudes, the CG's at Pandoras Lounge
Saturday Feb 6 - The Lucky Cheats and Eddy Bear and the Cubs at the Sand Dollar

Monday Feb 8 -  Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Feb 9 - Howlin' King Crawdad at Saddles'n'Spurs

Thursday Feb 11 - Cash'd Out, the All Togethers, the Henchmen, Gamblers Mark, Yosemite Slam at Triple B

Friday Feb 12 - the Psyatics with the Swamp Gospel at the Dive Bar

Saturday Feb 13 - Van der Rohe, the Hexxers, the Desperadoes at Artifice
Saturday Feb 13 - the Rhyolite Sound at Saddles and Spurs
Saturday Feb 13 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Feb 13 - The Electric Ferrets with the Super Zeroes at the Double Down
Saturday Feb 13 - David Bowie tribute at the Bunkhouse

Tuesday Feb 16 - the Supersuckers, the Yawpers, Chickenhawk, Alex and His Meal Tickets at Triple B

Friday Feb 19 - Toasters, Scoundrels at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 19 - Swank Bastards at the Double Down
Friday Feb 19 - the All Togethers at Triple George

Saturday Feb 20 - Alan Six with Jerk, Radio Silence Jess and the Hogg Brothers at the Double Down

Monday Feb 22- Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Feb 23 - the Mapes, Pluralses, Jerk at the Beauty Bar

Wed Feb 24 - Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday Feb 27 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Feb 27 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday Feb 29 - Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday Mar 4 - the Punknecks at the Dive Bar
Friday Mar 4 - the Part Time Criminals and the Unwieldies at the Sand Dollar
Friday Mar 4 - James Intveld with the Delta Bombers and the Ditch Diggers at Triple B

Saturday Mar 5 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs at the Bunkhouse

Sunday Mar 6 - The Peculiar Pretzelmen at the Golden Tiki

Monday Mar 7 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs with Jackson Taylor and the Sinners at the Beauty Bar

Sunday Mar 13 - the Koffin Kats and the Scoundrels at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 18, The Swamp Gospel, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, the Gentlemen of Four Outs and the Psyatics at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 19 - the Queers and the Dwarves at the LV Country Saloon

Friday April 8 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Friday April 15 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs with Melanie and the Midnite Marauders at the Hard Hat

Monday May 28 - Joan Jett at Fremont Street Experience

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Live at the BBC

I believe that I first encountered the SAHB via a new wave/rock'n'roll cover band in Indiana that did the fantastic "Midnight Moses". This cut stood out among their other cool 60's and 70's numbers, even though I didn't know what it was until I asked them. I know that Creem magazine hyped the band a bit, but they were never very popular in the States and so their albums were not easily accessible. I did finally find a greatest hits package and that was all that I owned for the longest time. I am still catching up on their records even today, but I found this 2-CD set for a reasonable price and it is certainly a keeper!

Here the group first performs numbers from their debut album, which had been released a short time before. Although Alex had been a performer for a number of years, he didn't really hit the spotlight until this combo with their mix of hard-rock energy and visual theatrics. The drive'n'spirit of the new group blasts through the airwaves here.

The afore-mentioned "Midnight Moses" starts things off with its ferocious riff-rock'n'roll - really one of their best and most memorable numbers, and here Alex is shouting out the opening "heys" with a raw roar, demanding the audience's attention. Not stopping for a breath, "St. Anthony" is another high-energy wah-wah riffer, with cool interaction between clown-faced Zal's guitar and Hugh's electric piano and a dynamic breakdown that's a bit different than the studio take. Their version of "Framed" is even more slow'n'deliberate and I'm sure there was some theatrics going on here. They follow this with the whimsical/vaudeville-like (and odd) "There's No Lights On the Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie". "Hole In Her Stocking" is a cool 50's-styled blues-rocker with some lively keyboard work and a surprising cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music" where Alex makes the title a vicious demand, rather than a fun invitation. Really dig this - they make it their rockin' own while keeping a bit of the original feel, and everyone gets to shine in the solo section.

"Faith Healer" is increasingly dramatic as the opener to their 1973 set, where they are a more seasoned combo - although the previous material was far from lacking! Again, they change things up a bit in the live setting and it is all well-done and rockin' and the instruments all work together to build in intensity as Alex adds different lyrics and a vivid'n'fierce vocal performance. We get another "Midnight Moses" - still terrific and, if anything, more fervent than before - and a swingin', very politically-incorrect "Gang Bang", still one of my faves. I was not familiar with "The Last of the Teenage Idols", which starts off as kind of a piano ballad, adds an heavy, ominous pounding section and then takes off in high-speed to become a frantic rocker, before ending as a doo-wop number! Freddy Bell's "Giddy Up a Ding Dong" is the unusual ending to CD1 - a 50's rock'n'roller that also becomes a doo-wop tune!

CD 2 continues in 1973 with a couple of Old Grey Whistle Test appearances, Jacque Brel's "Next", a melodramatic bit of stagecraft, and an abbreviated "Faith Healer" - both studio backing tracks with live vocals from Alex. I had never heard the slow, quiet "Give My Compliments to the Chef" before, either, but, like the others, it does build a bit, it remains a nice smoulderer until about half way through, when they do let loose as a fast-paced, electric piano-driven number. I always thought that their version of "Delilah" was a bit corny, though it is a bit more intense here, and, also new to me, "Boston Tea Party" isn't particularly memorable. The final two tracks are also from the OGWT, now in 1977, and are without Harvey, who was having health issues at this time - "Pick It UP and Kick It" and "Smouldering".

I still want to explore more from this wacky group, but this is a strong one to pick up.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

RIP Signe Anderson of the Jefferson Airplane, also



Signe Anderson, Original Jefferson Airplane Singer, Dies
 ---
Eerily, on the same day as Paul.

Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, the debut album featuring Signe is excellent and features many of the band's classic songs.

Truly sad - and sad that she has been overshadowed and his passing has not been reported in a more wide spread manner.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

well motherfuck - RIP Paul Kantner


Jefferson Airplaneā€™s Paul Kantner dies at 74 
---
I've always been a big JA fan - another taken far too young.

Go Betty Go - Reboot

I got this CD/EP at the same time/show as Worst Enemy and it has the same lineup here. If I were to guess, I would say that this is the newer recording, both from the title and the sound, which is improved (nothing wrong with WE, but this just sounds huge and bright), along with the songs that, while still basic pop-punk, have some more interesting vocal harmonies and progressions.

But, overall, this is Go Betty Go doing their strong pop-punk, with some cool dynamics, time changes, and riffs backing up the catchy melodies. Some songs are a bit slower than one might expect - though far from dirge-y! - but still rockin' and memorable. I do find it interesting that they maintain their Chicana heritage by singing one song per record in Spanish.

More good stuff by GBG!

Go Betty Go - Worst Enemy

When I saw Go Betty Go last weekend, I picked up the two CDs they had with them. I still don't know that much about the band, other than the fact that they started in the early 2000's, split up and have reformed. So, I'm not sure if this is a new or older CD (I don't see a date on the packaging), but this sounds like they did live, and that's a good thing!

The group consists of Betty Cisneros on guitar and backing vocals, Nicolette Vilar on vocals (and a fine, melodic yet strong voice she has), sister Aixa on drums and backing vocals and, on this CD, Michelle Rangel on bass, though I don't believe she was with them at the Dive Bar, unless her looks have changed considering since these photos were taken.

The sound here is tuneful punk-pop, tight'n'simple'n'powerful, with good dynamics and harmonies and catchy as heck. Nothing earth-shatterin' here, but it's not meant to be - just good music played well. Really dig the stuff - there's definitely that indefinable something here that keeps your attention. Get it'n'see 'em when ya can!

recommended gigs

Friday Jan 29 - the Legendary Boilermakers with Durango 66 at the Dive Bar
Friday Jan 29 - Killian's Angels at Brendan's Irish Pub

Saturday Jan 30 - Franks'n'Deans at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Jan 30 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon
Saturday Jan 30 - Killian's Angels at Brendan's Irish Pub

Monday Feb 1 - Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Feb 3 - Franks'n'Deans at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 4 - the All Togethers at the Beauty Bar

Friday Feb 5 - the Blasters at Triple B with Shanda and the Howlers and DJ Lucky LaRue
Friday Feb 5 - Bernie Down the House - A Bands for Bernie Sanders event at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Feb 6 - Time Crashers, Swamp Pussy, Sector 7G, Bitches'n'Dudes, the CG's at Pandoras Lounge
Saturday Feb 6 - The Lucky Cheats and Eddy Bear and the Cubs at the Sand Dollar

Monday Feb 8 -  Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Feb 9 - Howlin' King Crawdad at Saddles'n'Spurs

Thursday Feb 11 - Cash'd Out, the All Togethers, the Henchmen, Gamblers Mark, Yosemite Slam at Triple B

Friday Feb 12 - the Psyatics with the Swamp Gospel at the Dive Bar

Saturday Feb 13 - Van der Rohe, the Hexxers, the Desperadoes at Artifice

Saturday Feb 13 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Feb 13 - The Electric Ferrets with the Super Zeroes at the Double Down
Saturday Feb 13 - David Bowie tribute at the Bunkhouse

Tuesday Feb 16 - the Supersuckers, the Yawpers, Chickenhawk, Alex and His Meal Tickets at Triple B

Friday Feb 19 - Toasters, Scoundrels at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 19 - Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday Feb 20 - Alan Six with Jerk, Radio Silence Jess and the Hogg Brothers at the Double Down

Monday Feb 22- Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Feb 23 - the Mapes, Pluralses, Jerk at the Beauty Bar

Wed Feb 24 - Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Monday Feb 29 - Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday Mar 4 - the Punknecks at the Dive Bar
Friday Mar 4 - the Part Time Criminals and the Unwieldies at the Sand Dollar

Saturday Mar 5 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs at the Bunkhouse

Monday Mar 7 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs with Jackson Taylor and the Sinners at the Beauty Bar

Sunday Mar 13 - the Koffin Kats and the Scoundrels at the Dive Bar

Friday Mar 18, The Swamp Gospel, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, the Gentlemen of Four Outs and the Psyatics at the Double Down

Saturday Mar 19 - the Queers and the Dwarves at the LV Country Saloon

Friday April 1 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders at the Double Down

Friday April 8 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Friday April 15 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs with Melanie and the Midnite Marauders at the Hard Hat

Monday May 28 - Joan Jett at Fremont Street Experience

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

The LIfe of Riley - BB King documentary

I just found this documentary on Riley "Blues Boy" (B.B.) King on Netflix - a star-studded tribute to the King of the blues, a man who has influenced damn near everyone who ever picked up a guitar.

His story is told through narration (Morgan Freeman), interviews with the man himself, along with his lifetime friends and family. He grew up on a plantation picking cotton and driving tractors and learned guitar from friends and family who played. His trademark vibrato is due to the fact that he was never able to learn how to play slide guitar, so this was his way of imitating it!

After some false starts, he ran off to Memphis and started to make a living off of his music. Things really took off when he took a chance with a new producer and ended up with "The Thrill Is Gone" - one of the first, if not the first, blues song to incorporate string. He then got to tour with the Rolling Stones in 1969 - one of their biggest - and playing with U2 in the 80's, enlarging his audience even more. He eventually literally played for kings and presidents - Obama, Bush, Clinton and more - and became a true living legend.

Throughout this movie innumerable stars pay tribute - too many to name here - and there is a lot of great archival footage of BB, although some early stories are told with actors and stock photos - unsurprising as his family was quite poor.

The movie isn't quite as compelling as his incredible life deserves, but is still a fine telling of his story.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mott the Hoople LIve - 30th Anniversary Edition

I know that I have ranted'n'raved about MTH innumerable times on this blog, as I have been a fan ever since "All the Young Dudes" first hit the airwaves. Although I was disappointed when guitarist Mick Ralphs left the group and thought that they were never the same after that, as he was a huge part of their sound, when I saw that there was an expanded 30th anniversary edition of this live record, I had to have it regardless.

Here new guitarist Luther Grosvenor/Ariel Bender is highlighted and he carries himself well, even if he doesn't have the soulfulness of Ralphs.

Starting off in the Uris Theatre on Broadway with a slightly out of tune Ian Hunter (backed by piano) singing part of "American Pie", they then blast into a blazing take on "The Golden Age of Rock'n'Roll" from their then-current "The Hoople" album. Terrific opener - everyone sounds right on the money - high energy, excellent backing vocals and Bender's overdriven guitar is ferocious. I always loved "Sucker" from the ATYD record and they change it up a bit for the live setting, followed with their single "Roll Away the Stone" which morphs into a bit of "Sweet Jane". They take things down considerably for the keyboard ballad "Rest in Peace" (Morgan Fisher on piano and Blue Weaver on organ) but then come back hard for the pounding "All the Way From Memphis", where Ariel gives a fine performance and they end by chanting the title over the "Walking With a Mountain" melody. "Born Late '58" continues with the energy and gives Bender a chance to show off some slide work before they do one of my faves, "One of the Boys" (which Ralphs used as the basis for the Bad Co. hit "Can't Get Enough of Your Love") - with a fun and funny breakdown.

"Hymn For the Dudes" is another ballad - they paced out the shows well at this point - and then their showpiece, "Marionette", during which large puppets descended on the stage. Another Mick Ralphs classic was "Drivin' Sister" which here joins a medley with "Crash Street Kids" and a bit of "Violence". Obviously, "All the Young Dudes" was the encore, and they give a terrific reading here, but they also include their rockin' "Walking With a Mountain" in order to give Ariel a showcase.

Disc two gives us the Hammersmith Odeon show in London (this one with Mick Bolton on organ) and here they open straight-ahead rockin' with a powerful "Drivin' Sister", "Sucker" and, for this show, a complete "Sweet Jane". "Sweet Angeline" rocks, as well, with a breakdown where Ian calls the female fans "slags" for not obeying his requests for hands up - good-naturedly, of course! On this gig, the piano ballad is "Rose" before returning to the rock with an excellent "Roll Away the Stone" and - already - a superb "All the Young Dudes". A massive medley follows, starting with a raucous "Jerkin' Crocus", a bit of "One of the Boys", a surprising (considering it was an early Mick Ralphs number) "Rock'n'Roll Queen", a short snippet of "Get Back", a tiny bit of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On", a reference to "Jean Genie" and finishing with "Violence". The encore for this show is another massive "Walking With a Mountain".

I definitely enjoyed this expanded version more so than the edited LP and do have new respect for Ariel Bender, although - no offence - he was not the "finest rock'n'roll guitarist" at the time. Regardless, the entire back is spot-on here, with tons of energy and lots of fun! Well worth it!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Complete Recorded Works 1926-1928

Document Record gathers some of the more obscure early blues, gospel and assorted recordings ever recorded and this is another fine example of their hard work. Rev. Clayborn's most well-known number is "Your Enemy Cannot Harm You", although I'd wager that few even know that one. But, he is a wonderful example of the early Guitar Evangelists that took the sounds of the blues (of blues took the sounds of the gospel, depending on how you want to look at it) and added sacred lyrics to create musical sermons. His style is simple, open-tuned acoustic guitar with nice, melodic bottleneck work and a strong, raspy yet tuneful voice which tells his Biblical stories.

There is an amazing 27 cuts here and yes, they can sound a bit alike after a time - these were meant as single recordings, not an album - but I find enough variations to keep my attention. I actually like this quite a bit and am very glad I was able to find this one, as it seems to be fairly rare and expensive, generally. Worth a listen for those who appreciate uncomplicated acoustic blues and sweet slide playing.