Saturday, September 23, 2006

Double Crown....ON THE ROCKS - Night Two Review

Whew - it's 2 days after the show and I have finally recovered from night two of Double Crown "On The Rocks". Wow, what a fun evening it turned out to be! Personally, it was a rather draining event, since I had to work at my day job in the morning, practice with the Toga Kings in the afternoon, set up the merch table prior to the show, and greet the bands and prepare for the evening at the venue.

The evening kicked off with a 25 minute set from local duo Chris Con Carne. It was only 8:30, so there weren't too many people yet, but Chris played a haunting set of gritty, emotional blues. After a few songs he was joined on stage on drums by Dan Lowinger of Footstompin' Trio. The remainder of their set was more upbeat, energetic blues that rocked right on through to the finish.

Next up were the Footstompin' Trio (which actually has 4 members). The crowd was still a bit sparse, which made their rockin' set a little awkward. I'm just so used to seeing them play in front of a large crowd of drunken bastards throwing beer at them. It was just a little weird to see them playing the same music in front of 40-50 was just a too subdued for what they do. Musically they sounded just as good, if not better, than their recent performances. They kinda broke up a few years ago, but all members are still in town and they got together specially for this show. Most of their set was songs from the CD that they did for Double Crown, a fine mix of vocals and instrumentals.

They're a tough act to follow, but with over 20 years of experience Girl Trouble was just the band to do it. The crowd was bigger by this point and we were all treated to a fine set of T-town faves from throughout their long career. I was especially stoked to hear them play Elvis' "Girls, Girls, Girls", a song that they do better than the King - just so much energy, and heck, I'm a sucker for any GT song that has KP wailing on the sax!

Following them was a short set from the reunited Toga Kings. I play organ in the band, with the other members coming from Bellingham, Seattle and Spokane. It was tough to find everyone and coordinate a couple of practice sessions, but we finally got a 4 song set ready for the show. We played "Rumble", an original called "You're Outta Your Head", "Cinderella" and "Louie Louie". The main inspiration for the set was The Sonics and we ripped and wailed through the set in less than 10 minutes. Of course, a bunch of beer was tossed our way when we played - a reminder of our shows at the 3-B Tavern nearly a decade ago. The highlight was Johnny Bartlett joining us on sax to play on "Louie Louie". Man, if you told me 12 years ago that someday I'd be on stage playing we Johnny Bartlett I absolutely would not have believed you. Being back on stage was awesome - that may end up being the final show of the Toga Kings, but heck, what a way to go!

After the beer was cleaned off the stage it was time for the Barbary Coasters to play. They played a solid 45 minute set of songs from their CD's, including "The Hip", "Honey For Sale", "House Of Bamboo", "The Flirt" and others, including a few very cool instros. They also played a happy anniversary song for Double Crown done to the tune of the "Happy Birthday" song - it took my wife and I by surprise and was very cool - thank guys! They are a very entertaining band - not only with their music, but their between song banter. If they ever play in your region do not miss them - they put on an excellent show!

The Kilaueas capped off the evening with a fun, solid set of instrumental mayhem. They played songs from each of their CD's, along with a few crowd-pleasing cover tunes. This was their third show of the tour with the Barbary Coasters, and it was entertaining to watch the two bands interact with each other. When Johnny Bartlett introduced the Kilaueas, he said "Third time's a charm, boys - maybe you'll get it right this time". The Kilaueas got their revenge during their set by calling the Barbary Coasters the "Bavarian Toasters". They played a 10 minute version of "Caravan" with a fine drum solo by Oli. In the middle Pat, the organ player of the Barbary Coasters, came on stage to play Ralf's Hallmark Swept-Wing guitar. After standing there with it for a minute or so he walked up to the mic and said "I can't play guitar". The band responded by cranking up Guitar 101 fave "Iron Man". It was also funny to watch the band respond to a variety of equipment failures - the stuff made it through the whole tour, but was finally giving out at the last show. Tom's bass guitar strap broke, the sole of his shoe started falling off, and Ralf broke a string during the last song. He kept the dead guitar around his neck while Johnny Bartlett brought up his guitar and put it around Ralf's neck to finish the song. At 1:45 am it was closing time and the evening had to come to an end.

Overall it was a fun 2 day festival of music from 9 different bands. The first show was just shy of selling out. The second night was only about 1/4 full, but it was a much larger venue. My thanks go out to all of the bands that played the shows and to the staff at the venues that made everything go so smoothly. The second show was recorded, so over the next month or so I'm gonna work out a way to make at least some of the recordings available for those who didn't make it. I'm already working on doing it again next year, probably in October 2007, so start making your travel plans now!

A Toga Kings fan waiting for our set

I'm a little out of practice on organ, so I brought a tamborine in case I forgot what to play!

The Toga Kings in all of their regal glory!

Jake wailing on the Sonics' "Cinderella"

Another Toga Kings fan in the crowd

Whoops - a nip slip!

Johnny Bartlett & The Toga Kings on "Louie Louie"

Tom of the Kilaueas says "This one goes out to YOU!!!"

The Kilaueas in action!

Ralf with his amazing Hallmark Swept-Wing guitar

Tom gets a little help from Stell of the Footstompin' Trio

Ralf likes to rock out with his ____ out!

Double Crown....ON THE ROCKS - Night One Review

I'm going on 2 hours sleep, but here goes....

I started off the day getting ready for a practice session for my old band, The Toga Kings, who are getting together to play for the first time in 8 years. We used to play the 3-B Tavern quite often when we were together, but stopped playing after a really bad, crazy show that we just don't remember much about (what we do remember is alcohol, cupcakes, shaving cream and our bass player playing "Another One Bites The Dust" for 5 minutes solo while standing on stage wearing just his underwear and Chuck Taylors). Anyway, we practiced for 3 hours and caught up on what we've all been doing for the last 8 years and surprisingly, we actually sounded better than we did back when we were playing semi-regularly. We are practicing again for a couple of hours, then playing the big show at the Nightlight tonight.

So after that I headed down to Chirbin's for night one of the Double Crown ON THE ROCKS fest at Chiribin's. The night started off with the only local instro band, The All-Nighters. They were dressed up like a cross between the New York Dolls and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, but their sound was pure surf/instro bliss. These guys are really good, mixing surf standards with a bunch of stuff that could of come off any of the early Sadies albums. The crowd really got into it and although when they started there were only about 50 people in the club, by the time they ended the set the crowd was near capacity (about 150 people).

Next up were The DT's, a local hard soul/garage combo featuring Dave Crider (Estrus Records/Mono Men/Watts). Just like you'd imagine, their sound isn't too far removed from the Mono Men, but with female vocals (provided by Diana Young-Blanchard, who was the singer of Estrus combo Madame X). They were probably the most popular band of the night and their set took the show to another level. The crowd moved from simple cocktails and beer to 40 ouncers (this is the only club I've ever seen that sells 40 ouncers, mainly PBR) and the level of drunkeness definitely kicked up a notch.

To close out the night was The Party Favorites, a band with a sound similar to Chris Con Carne, but done as a trio. They always have a stage gimmick - for this show the theme was the Nintendo game "Duck Hunt". They had a large projector displaying the game, with audience members taking turns playing. The band members were all dressed up in full-body duck costumes. They were the perfect closers for the evening and left the crowd in an exhausted, yet happy mood as they filed into the street at 2am.

Tonight's the big one, at the Nightlight here in town with Chris Con Carne, Footstompin' Trio, Toga Kings, Girl Trouble, Barbary Coasters and Kilaueas. Should be a blast!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Kilaueas West Coast Tour Comes To An Explosive End This Weekend!

The Kilaueas first West Coast tour ends this weekend with two exciting shows. Tonight at the Funhouse in Seattle they play with The Barbary Coasters (from San Francisco) and Seattle's premier surf band The 'Verb. Then tomorrow night they travel up to Bellingham for the Double Crown "On The Rocks" fest at the Nightlight, playing with The Barbary Coasters, Girl Trouble, The Toga Kings, The Footstompin' Trio and Chris Con Carne. Thanks to everyone that has come out to see the band on tour. They have had a really great time and are very happy with how it's all gone. Big thanks also to all of the bands and individuals that have helped book shows, given them a place to stay and everything that has made this tour so successful!!!