Thursday, August 27, 2015

recommended gigs

Saturday August 29 - The Swamp Gospel, the gentlemen of four outs and the Swank Bastards at the Huntridge Tavern for their 53-1/2 birthday celebration!
Saturday August 29 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday Sept 2 - the All Togethers at Franks and Dean's Weinie Roast at the Double Down

Friday Sept 4 - Water Landing record release show at the Double Down with the All Togethers, 3d6 and Steady Extras
Friday Sept 4 - Big Daddy's Hayride at Triple B with Eddy Bear and the Cubs, the Yawpers, King vs Cash and Yosemite Slam

Sunday Sept 27 - Shannon and the Clams at the Beauty Bar
Sunday Sept 27 - The Insect Surfers (from LA), the Swank Bastards and the Nu Waves at Artifice

Friday Oct 9 - Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar
Friday Oct 9 - Sham 69 with the Psyatics at the Dive Bar

Sunday Oct 11 - the Riverboat Gamblers at the Beauty Bar

Saturday Oct 17 - Goddam Gallows and the Scoundrels at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 23 - GWAR at Fremont Country Club

Wednesday Oct 28 - The Swamp Gospel at HellKat Car Club's Trunk or Treat

Saturday Oct 31 - Wanda Jackson with the Delta Bombers, Eddy Bear and the Cubs and the Yawpers at Triple B

Wednesday Nov 11 - the Briefs at the Fremont Country Club - with Lagwagon

Wednesday Nov 25 - Public Imagine Ltd at Brooklyn Bowl

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Renfield - Slave of Dracula - Barbara Hambly

I've always been fascinated by the Dracula mythos - as have so many others - and always enjoy variations of the original Bram Stoker theme. There was an especially good one that was told from Dracula's perspective, whose name escapes me. This one is, as is obvious from the title, told from Renfield's perspective.

Renfield is a particularly creepy and crafty character in Stoker's story (which led Alice Cooper to write "Ballad of Dwight Frye" based on the actor who played him) and here his tale is fleshed out, so to speak. It has been a while since I read the original story, but here we find out why he was imprisoned in the asylum and what became of him after Dracula escaped the clutches of Van Helsing and his crew and fled to his home of Transylvania.

While I enjoyed the premise, the story was a bit slow going until - spoiler alert - Renfield himself becomes a vampire and he interacts with the Count's brides. He becomes a pawn to many throughout the story but as sanity returns to him as a vampire, his cunning and resourcefulness enables him to survive where others do not.

Not essential, but an entertaining read - I would say get it if you find it at a reasonable price.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - the Onyx Theatre, Saturday August 22, 2015

 
We first saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch as John Cameron Mitchell's movie due to friends ravin' about the live performance play that had run in Los Angeles. The flick is a fun, comedic take on Glitter Rock, drag queens, transsexuals, and lots more as it tells the tale of an East Berliner who was the victim of a botched sex-change surgery before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not exactly standard comedic fare, but it is pulled off with great performances and some nice Bowie-esque rock'n'roll.





We saw one other live performance of this years ago here in Vegas (and can't remember what theater it was) with our friend Amy as Yitzhak, Hedwig's back-up singer and "husband". This evening Cory Benway was Hedwig, Jamie Riviere was Yitzhak, and the band consisted of Tom Chrastka on guitar, John Juhlman on bass, Jeremy Gill on drums and the program lists both Jonathan Tuala and Halsey Harkins on keys, though just one female was on stage playing.

Cory is fine actor as well as comedic drag queen and showed a terrific dramatic side as he told the story of Hedwig's life and loves and deftly moved back and forth into the other characters of the tale with different accents and gestures. He interacted with the audience, was quick with one-liners and had many topical quips that were certainly not part of the original production. There is definitely a Tim Curry influence in his performance and we later found out that he has played Frank N. Furter in the Rocky Horror Show.


Back-up singer Jamie has a spectacular voice and, although her part is much smaller than Benway's, she damn near stole the show with her talent. If she is not a professional performer already, she certainly should be. The band were all solid players, as well, and the songs were all given energetic readings, without getting too crazy for the theater crowd (the audience were mostly older folks, not a typical r'n'r crowd [though what is these days, I suppose] but they all appeared to enjoy the performance). I believe that the group purposely dressed down a bit to not detract from Benway, except for the huge feather piece that the drummer wore.

All in all, a good time and well worth checking out before the run ends next weekend.



Thursday, August 20, 2015

recommended gigs

Friday Aug 21 - Motorhead at House of Blues

Saturday Aug 22 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Sunday Aug 23 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Double Down

Monday Aug 24 - the Reverberations and Astaires at the Double Down

Saturday August 29 - The Swamp Gospel, the gentlemen of four outs and the Swank Bastards at the Huntridge Tavern for their 53-1/2 birthday celebration!
Saturday August 29 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Wednesday Sept 2 - the All Togethers at Franks and Dean's Weinie Roast at the Double Down

Friday Sept 4 - Water Landing record release show at the Double Down with the All Togethers, 3d6 and Steady Extras
Friday Sept 4 - Big Daddy's Hayride at Triple B with Eddy Bear and the Cubs, the Yawpers, King vs Cash and Yosemite Slam

Sunday Sept 27 - Shannon and the Clams at the Beauty Bar
Sunday Sept 27 - The Insect Surfers (from LA), the Swank Bastards and the Nu Waves at Artifice

Friday Oct 9 - Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar
Friday Oct 9 - Sham 69 with the Psyatics at the Dive Bar

Sunday Oct 11 - the Riverboat Gamblers at the Beauty Bar

Saturday Oct 17 - Goddam Gallows and the Scoundrels at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 23 - GWAR at Fremont Country Club

Wednesday Oct 28 - The Swamp Gospel at HellKat Car Club's Trunk or Treat

Saturday Oct 31 - Wanda Jackson with the Delta Bombers, Eddy Bear and the Cubs and the Yawpers at Triple B

Wednesday Nov 11 - the Briefs at the Fremont Country Club - with Lagwagon

Wednesday Nov 25 - Public Imagine Ltd at Brooklyn Bowl

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Eddy Bear and the Cubs / White Mystery - The Griffin, Wednesday August 19, 2015

It takes a lot to get me out on a weeknight, but this seemed like a cool'n'different kinda night, so I made the effort and the exception, drank an energy drink and headed downtown.


Opening the evening at the Griffin were my pals, Eddy Bear and the Cubs, who I have ranted'n'raved about innumerable times on this blog. This night they were joined by special guest drummer Danny (hmm, didn't get his last night - sorry!), an old friend of guitarist Wade's, who now lives in Nashville and makes his living playing C&W, so a fitting choice!


Even though Danny was jet-lagged and only had one practice the night before, after which the guys got him liquored up, he blasted through their set of catchy country tunes like "Got You On My Mind", "Lost and Found", "Ooh Las Vegas" (practically punk rock speed!), "You Won't Let Me Love You" (nice dual guitars), "I Lie When I Drink", "Too Late For Love", "Bulge in Satan's Pants", "Hair Trigger" and more as if he had been playing them for ages.


As I always say, I'm a sucker for Wade's guitar pickin' and tonight was certainly no exception - I especially dug the blues slide break in one of the new songs, but his mix of blues and C&W licks throughout are always entertaining.


Cool set all around - invariably a good time with these cats!


I'm not sure when I first became aware of White Mystery, but I have been following them on Facebook for a while now and was impressed that the Griffin managed to bring these Chicago natives to town. A two piece brother'n'sister act made up of Alex White on guitar and lead vocals and younger brother Francis Scott Key White on drums and vocals, the duo bashes out a wall of noise sounding like a mix of the Velvets, Monks (the tom-centric drumming - only one cymbal in the entire kit - reminding me of these acts), Cramps, garage-rock-mania and 70's punk.


Alex has a wild, over-driven guitar tone - don't let the Rickenbacker fool you, this is fierce'n'heavy - with tons of feedback emanating from her Orange amp, as she sings with a surprisingly melodic voice (kinda similar to Poly Styrene at times). Francis' drumming is monstrous yet intricate, with lots of finesse'n'power'n'time changes, and he provides harmony vocals as well as counter-point singing.


I do kinda miss the bass - there was no attempt to emulate a bass, as some duos do with a signal splitter - but Alex is a fine player who comes up with interesting riffs and even manages some cool leads.


Towards the end of the set, Alex took over the drums mid-song, while still playing guitar, and Francis moved up front to sing lead for a while, before returning to the drum stool without missing a beat!




Highly entertaining and different and well worth checking out! I was intrigued enough to buy a t-shirt and CD, so support mid-west music on the road and see these siblings when you can!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tiki Oasis 2015, Crowne Plaza, San Diego, Part 5, Sunday August 16 - evening finale show

I initially had planned to leave Tiki Oasis on Sunday so I could return to work on Monday, but am certainly glad I stuck around for what was really the main event of the weekend! My fears of a sparsely attended show (as we saw many people packing up and taking off on Sunday) were soon allayed as the indoor ballroom filled up with a big crowd of all ages ready for some fantastic garage rock'n'roll!

The room had a huge dance floor - which was packed all evening - along with plenty of seating on the outskirts, which was greatly appreciated as the weekend wound down - some of us could barely stay on our feet at this point! Unfortunately, someone thought it was a good idea to have the a/c temperature set at 60 degrees, which meant that everyone except the performers were frost-bit by the end of the night, but a small price to pay.

First off was the wild ones, the Diddley Daddies, featuring the legendary Mike Stax (the Loons, the Tell Tale Hearts, the Crawdaddies and much more) on bass and vocals (nice to see him playing his old Harmony again), Brian Reilly (New Kinetics) pounding out the Bo Diddley beat and the ubiquitous Pat Beers (Schizophonics / Little Richards) on guitar and vocals. Besides covering Bo, of course, they did a number of great garage tunes, the Who's "It's Not True" (with Mike and Pat trading vocals), "I'm Your Witch Doctor" (Mike on harp as well as bass), some other Pretty Things, Outsiders, "Roadrunner" and concluding with stompin' "Cadillac". Truly wild and superb - made me wish I was living in San Diego!




The intermission was provided by the Devil-ettes, a group of innumerable female go-go dancers of all shapes and sizes shimmin'n'shakin' to numbers like "Devil With a Blue Dress" and other 60's fringe-movers.


From there we got the Rosalyns, San Diego's premier all-female garage rock queens that I have written about a few times before due to their forays to Las Vegas. Amy Gore (guitar / vocals) was able to come out from Detroit and new woman Lori (guitar/vocals) is now joining Lety (drummer for the Schizophonics / Little Richards), Anja (bass) and Birdy (keys/vocals). Opening with Lori and another young woman providing a horn section, they then moved on to many of their signature numbers like their namesake "Rosalyn", "Der Hund Von Baskerville" ("Paranoid" in German), the female "Gloria" - "Melvin" - that the Pandoras used to cover, the Easybeats' "Gonna Have a Good Time", "Go-Go-Gorilla" (with a male go-go dancer - Kyle of the Schizophonics) and ending with "Diddley Daddy", bringing up the namesake band to sing, dance, play harp and create chaos with the ladies.








Another proverbial "back from the grave" band is the now touring Chocolate Watchband! Those of us who studied their moves and general coolness from the movie Riot on Sunset Strip (singer Dave Aguilar has a couple of good stories about the movie and their career in general) will attest to their influence on the entire 80's (and beyond) garage scene. They were pretty much the epitome of what we all wanted to be. While the only original members now are Aguilar and drummer Gary Andrijasevich, they are ably abetted by multi-talented guitarist Tim Abbott, bassist Alec Palao and special guest keyboardist/guitarist, Darryl Hooper from the Seeds!


The set combined some of he Watchband's more psychedelic numbers (giving Abbott a chance to play an electric sitar live!), 12-string-dominated "It's All Over Now Baby Blue", "One Way Out", covers like "Mr. You're a Better Man Than I" and the Mothers' "Trouble Every Day" (the groups played together at the Fillmore). Hooper got to show off his keyboard prowess on the Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard" (of course!), "Mr. Farmer" and "Can't Seem to Make You Mine", to terrific response. He still has the sound and the chops!


They showed off a new original ("Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll" with some nice slide guitar work), and acoustic take on Dylan's "Desolation Row" and then blasted out the raw hits that everyone wanted to hear - "Sitting Here Standing", "Are You Gonna Be There", "Sweet Young Thing", "Don't Need Your Loving" and "Let's Talk About Girls" - Whew! Was it as wild as the old days? Of course not. Was it pretty damn special regardless? Of course it was!

For their encore they chose an anthem for the scene - the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" - and the Diddley Daddies and Rosalyns all crammed on stage to end the bash on a true high.







Truly the best overall night of the weekend and well worth missing work for! San Diego was well represented throughout the weekend and this evening the bands couldn't be beat! Thank you Tiki Oasis for an excellent night of garage rock'n'roll to end out the festival!



Tiki Oasis 2015, Crowne Plaza, San Diego, Part 4, Sunday August 16 - day time

While staying at the Motel 6 next door to the Crowne Plaza (highly recommended for those who want a chance to get out of the thick of the Tiki mayhem and have a bit of quiet now and again - as well as a clean pool! - while still in stumbling distance of the fray), we could tell when the bands at the car show would gear up, so we "Ventured" over on Sunday morning to check out the youngest band of the weekend, the 12 - 14 year old Millionaire Beach Bums! All of these pre-adolescent gents were quite proficient at their instruments and gave killer versions of standards like "Pipeline", "Miserlou", "Mr. Moto", etc., along with some of their own vocal originals while the audience enthusiastically encouraged them and took copious pictures. Really fine stuff and scary to think how good they will be when they grow up!




Over in the pool area, Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides were "ripping" it up in the DJ area (the main stage area was overtaken by vendors during the day and Saturday was the last night for outdoor concerts) overlooking the packed pool with their own brand of mostly original surf tones. Jason is known for giving surf guitar tutorials and gave one symposium at the Oasis, so you know that he knows how to play! His rhythm section were smokin', as well, and he gave the accompanying go-go dancers plenty of rhythms to shake their tail feathers to!






Tiki Oasis 2015, Crowne Plaza, San Diego, Part 3, Saturday August 15

Saturday seemed like the biggest day for the Oasis, which makes sense, of course. The pool was jammed at the Crowne Plaza right from the start, as were all of the events and vendor booths.


Starting the music off for the day were the fabulous Little Richards, featuring all of the Schizophonics in their regular capacities, as well as Robert (El Vez/the Zeroes on guitar and vocals), Diana (keys, guitar, vocals) and Brian (guitar, vocals). The band does super-charged versions of Little Richard tunes, from "Miss Anne" to "Tutti Frutti" to "Long Tall Sally" and plenty others, as well as AC/DC's "Rocker"! Everyone gets a chance to sing a number (except Lety, I believe) and all do it well and give it their all and Diana and Pat trade instruments when she takes lead vocals. Punk rock energy, frantic visuals and proper respect given to the material (and a love of polka dots!) makes for a fantastic set of pure rock'n'roll! Absolutely excellent!










Next up were the Phantom Surfers, mixing all sorts of themes with their regular costumes, from aliens to spacemen to cowboys to Anime characters (?!), while putting on a Phantom Surfers-styled show with bad jokes, balancing basses (their bassist does not use a strap so that he can throw around his instrument as much as possible) and rollickin' surf licks. I can't keep track of who is in the band "normally" but this day Russell Quan (Mummies, Bobbyteens and much more) was sitting in on third guitar. Wacky, irreverent surf psychosis fun!






Headlining Saturday night were the other-worldly Man or Astroman? Their high-tech live show provided lots of audience visuals, but did make it difficult to photograph. The band - for this show the group included a female keyboardist/guitarist - performed primarily in the dark with large screens behind them projecting all sorts of images, along with various other light shows. They also incorporated backing tapes for in-between song "banter", but unfortunately, everything seemed to break down during their set, which was distracting and kept things from running smoothly. But the lead singer did run through the crowd and jump in the pool during one song and played a mean theremin, which he proceeded to set on fire! While things were working, the people truly dug their space-age surf sound.




We wanted to do some more room party bouncing that evening, but the line to the "Lost in Space" room traversed the entire hotel floor, so we gave up on that, and were never able to find the other bands we were interested in. So, we hung out with the other Las Vegans at the Frankie's Tiki Room and dug another set by the Swank Bastards (Courtney Carroll played the entire night this evening [still no good pix of her - sorry!], as Clay proceeded to drink copious amounts of alcohol and Gerry played with his other band, the New Waves later). The room became jam-packed immediately upon opening the door and much rum was imbibed while surf licks filled the air and Szandora and Ivana once again danced the night away! Las Vegas debauchery was well represented!