Sunday, November 19, 2017

Daikaiju, The Viking Surfers and Via Combusta at Lucky Liquor. 11-18-17

As I walked out of Lucky Liquor, I was trying to process what I had just seen. My head was buzzing and the feeling I had was of amazement and confusion. I walked around back to where the rig was parked and the drummer of Daikaiju was having an apres show smoke. I said, what the hell just happened? He looked at me with a inquisitive look, I said that was devastating! He smiled sheepishly.

Here is what I had just witnessed, these pics tell some of the story.

This was a hastily assembled show. In talking with Gabe the drummer of Daikaiju, he said that he is from B-Ham while the rest of the band is from Texas. He told me that they had some business in the Northwest so why not arrange some gigs, with 2 weeks notice. Most of the venues are long booked out and I was so pleased when I saw that they had found several bars locally that still had room.

These guys set the bar for surf theater. I asked Gabe how many shows they can do this impossible performance and he mentioned that they tour 6-8 months out of the year. They played 2 shows this evening. They are tour animals.

But they were the icing on a very yummy surf cake this evening. Via Combusta, a relatively new band (this was their 2nd performance) opened and were surprisingly good.

I have an unfortunate situation. I am in what is basically an ankle to crotch cast. It is hard to stand without a cane and that is very impractical in the mosh pit. I had a hard time getting decent pics.

They played a mix of covers and originals with skill and gusto. They also played in cool mix-match suits with the bottom (the bass and the drum) in stylish dark burgundy and the lead and rhythm were in the same cool suits in a dark blue. This was a nice touch.

Via Combusta is: Shay Childress, bass, John Healy, guitar, Jordan Lock, drums and Michael Tyler, guitar. They are all skilled musicians and played a great mixed set.

I am looking forward to see the progression of this band, they have the tools and produced some great arrangements already. I see good things for them and look forward to their next performance. I have played a couple of their tunes on my Surf radio show on Space 101. You can connect with them here:

Next up was one of my favorite local bands, The Viking Surfers. They have progressed so much, you can tell they have been practicing, but you also can tell they are having a blast. It was an all ages event and they brought their kids. I loved seeing their kids watch mom and dad rock.

I think I got 2 pics. As I cannot get into the crowd easily, I couldn't get to a place to get good pics. Too bad because this was a screaming great performance. They had quite the crowd for their show. There were a lot of kids with their parents. I commend the folks for opening the kids to live music.

I swear Paul just gets better with every performance but I really think he is just that good all the time. I especially love when they take some of his native folk music and surf-ize it. Everything about this show was memorable and fun.

Horrible shots I know, I am really bummed. Marcy is really great on drums. She is a pretty amazing person; she is in at least 3 bands that I know of, is producing solo work, is mom to 2 kids and is working in the Aerospace industry.

The Viking Surfers are: Paul Rugland-Gitar, Marcy Rugland-Trommer and Kate Lint-Bassgitar. They were spot on tonight and I love their music. You can find them on Bandcamp. I have played all their tunes on my show. I can't pronounce the titles, but I can listen, share and enjoy.
You can connect with them here:

Lucky Liquor had a great selection of excellent adult beverages as well as good viddles.

And then Daikaiju happened.

They came on like a natural disaster; it had it's phases. It started with a hurricane that only got stronger with time.

Then it changed to an earthquake; the floor was shaking, the pictures and signs on the walls started vibrating and the walls were wiggly. The poor guitarist had to be carried on his way through the crowd.

And it finally ended with a volcano and resulting fire and flame.

I hadn't caught a breath from the first note, this was surf war. A suupaa-mecha-kingu rock experience. I had seen the videos, listened to the music, knew their reputation, but none of that prepares you for the real thing.

I had watched them set up then disappear out the back boor. When they reappeared they were bare chested and wore what I am going to guess were Kabuki (Japanese dance-drama) masks.

5 notes and the place was shaking. They had so much freaking energy that it made you feel that you wanted part of it. Then they gave that too with the guitarist jumping all over the dance floor, bar-top, mugging for the camera, hanging out with the common folk while he shredded the guitar. He even shared drinks with us at the bar.

Almost at the very beginning they moved into the crowd on the dance floor. They wanted no separation from the peeps. This is where it started to get crazy.

After Gabe got out his magic squirt bottle, the place lit up. It seemed well controlled and I didn't feel uncomfortable. I did get a warming sensation.

It had a great effect and everybody was howling and clapping and the band didn't miss a lick. This was a normal performance for them. Just when you thought they had played everything in their playlist the started a whole new surge.

The guitarist (none of the guys list their names on their FB page) started interacting with the crowd, alternately getting carried on the shoulders of the fans to laying down using a fan as a pillow. One big love-in.

Just amazing theater; every eye was on them and most fans were interacting in some fashion. Then of course, another surge of entertainment and interactivity. They moved farther into the crowd and higher. The drummer passed 4 of his most used percussion pieces to the crowd, had them hold them high, then he played from atop a barstool.

The guitar kabuki performer walked all over the place on these chairs.

Then he got on the shoulders of the bass man.

I half expect them to collapse at any time but they just kept cranking, really great music performed in a unique and awesome way!

At the end instead of putting down their instruments and walking away, they handed them out to the audience to keep the craziness going. It was epic. The fans went crazy on 2 sets of drums and a guitar as Diakaiju encouraged them on, and slowly slinked out the back door. Phenomenal performance.

Big thanks to Lucky Liquor for hosting this show and to Brian Foss who set this up. Thanks to all the marvelous surf bands that are being created and making great music.

You can hear my surf show; Head's Up! with your host Carmen Ghia on Space 101 KMGP 101.1-LP FM on Saturdays at 5. Go to my FB webpage to find the stream on Mixcloud here:

And as always:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Aloha Screwdriver, The 'Verb and The Fentons at Darrells 9-2-17

As a small-time music producer, I have these wonderful moments when the worlds align and magic is in the air. Some groups can produce these moments easier than others. The combination of bands at this show was as good as it gets. There were so many special moments this evening that I had a tear in my eye at one time.

I am fortunate that I have great friends that are in high places. Dan Dyckman is the proprietor of Darrells Tavern and is always open to my shows. Together we bring in good crowds that enjoy live music and love an occasional adult beverage. Darrells is the bomb for live music.

I also am lucky enough to be the go-to surf guy in town. I am not a musician, but I am obsessive about surf music, especially live surf music. I have been trying my best to start a surf scene here in the Pacific Northwest. I have had some success and now the word is out.

Aloha Screwdriver is one of my perennial favorites. A talented band from Alameda California, they had told me they would be touring on Laborl day weekend and so we built a show around them.

Steve Slater of Aloha Screwdriver.

A.S. played in the Pacific Northwest several times and we open our arms to them every time they visit.

They bring a special kind of entertainment to the stage. Not content to play their killer original music, they feel compelled to add the most marvelous theater. More on that later.

The 'Verb.

We are quite lucky to have some killer local surf bands in the area, and The 'Verb is one of the best. They were founded in 2003 and are the youngest old timers in the business. The 'Verb is Eric Cranfield, Jacob Dobner, Jason Aumann, Matthew Beck, and Michael Ball. Buy their killer music here:

We are always privileged to have The 'Verb play for us, they prefer to open.

The 'Verb has a sound all their own. Playing mostly originals, they perform a hell of a show. They have a mix of instruments; all lovely vintage stuff. They have a sweet vintage Continental keyboard, a tarnished trumpet, many gorgeous Fender Jaguars, Bassman and Stratocasters and the Fender reverb units and amps that make their sound unique.

We were lucky enough to snag Brandon Eller and his old school light show. His Liquid Light Wizard experience was straight out of the 60's. Based on the principle that oil (or whatever he was using) doesn't mix with water. Add pretty colors and you have a thing of beauty.

Brandon was the hardest working man in the building this evening. He was constantly tending his instruments, adding new colors, new visual sensations.

I am a hippy at heart, cut my visual teeth on The Retina Circus of the mid-late 60's. This made me very happy. I will have him back again. Connect with Brandon here:

But back to one of the finest surf bands on the globe. The 'Verb is playing more and more and I will beg them to play as long as they continue to say yes. Connect with the Ryan Goslings of Surf Music here:

Here is my buddy Tien assuming his usual position; within feet of the band, beer in hand.

They played an incredible show, the light show was the perfect background for them. They a got huge  response after every song. They were having fun and it showed.

After a brief interlude, Aloha Screwdriver mounted up and started what would be a terrific show with Donald (lead guitar) on stage all alone, playing the rapid double-pic surf call to his mates off stage.

Aloha Screwdriver is; Grant Shellen, Bad-Ass Bass, Steve Slater on drums and whatever he can find to hit, hard, and fast, and Donald Bell the phenomenal lead guitarist of this amazing band. Please pardon my slobber in the descriptions below; as I like to tell the boys, this is MY band.

Soon, the band was cranking at full speed, a tempo that only picked up as the show proceeded.

Aloha Screwdriver brings as much theater to their show as they do music. Never content to sit still Steve Slater, the boy-genius of percussion plays everything within reach, and if it isn't in reach, he will go out and find it.

Here he is playing his remote set while he poured whiskey shots for the adoring fans. He never missed a beat, Emily delivered free booze to the amazed crowd. What a great gag...and they were just getting going.

He stands and plays.

Occasionally he sits.

He moves his set into the audience and jams with the fans.

He can only pull off this schtick because he is such an amazing drummer. Here he is playing a set of crutches I made for him when he was injured. He can play any-freaking-thing and make it sound great. This was a very special moment for me and my wife. Thanks to Steve and all my friends in Aloha Screwdriver.

He can't stand still, jumping from here to there. Constantly moving.

Besides being a talented drummer, he is also a part of the duo The Dilly Dallies, a children's oriented band. They are getting big props, and entertain many happy kids. See The Dilly Dallies here:

Here is a recording of the whole set shot by Rob DeGrado, thanks Rob:

Several of my good friends were here. A lot of musicians and DJ's were in attendance. Here is John Hyde of The 1Uppers and my lovely wife.

Here is my surf brother Tien down with Donald Bell of Aloha Screwdriver. This music has no generational lines. I saw old men rocking and young kids bobbing their heads to the beat. Surf music has no bounds.

While the main motion man is Steve, but make no mistake, Grant has ants in his pants too.

He had the heavy fuzz turned up for one of my favorites. They do a killer version of Paint It Black. They know how I love it; it was over the top theatrical too with Steve moving his set into the audience and Grant mounting the Rock Box.

The Hallmark Bat-Winged guitar slinging sedated surfer is Donald Bell. He has complete power over the six strings and doesn't see the need to follow that crazy drummer around the house.

He does however, shred.

Donald even decided to share his winged beauty with a known trouble-maker. Bruce DeGrado is a local musician and was just testing his sea-legs having busted his ankle.

The combination of these 3 fellows creates a tsunami of sound. The theater is icing on the cake. There is no better show in surf, or in any genre.

Thanks to Aloha Screwdriver for coming up and treating us to a fantastic show. Gong!

Whenever I ask surf bands what kind of music they would like to be paired with it is inevitable that I hear Rockabilly or Alt. Country. This year I invited a killer 4 part harmony country band to join in the fun. The Fentons are a local group that makes me smile every time I hear them.

They got the light treatment too! Bet that is a first for them.

The Fentons are: Chas D. Bronson, IV - Drums. Kent "Snake" Caldwell - Bass, Vocals, Tambourine. Dave Keller - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals. Jim Keller - Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Dobro, Vocals. Steve Pearce - Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals. You can connect with them here:

I have seen and loved them many a time. They have been super busy this summer, playing every music festival in Western Washington. They came on really late, I was bummed that they had to play for less people than the other bands. But they started hard and fast and the spirit of the night was carried forward.

They have the sweetest harmonies...2,3,4 part, they can do it all. They have some catchy original tunes...I have a Fentons ear-worm right now.

Keep smiling!

Thanks to The Fentons for staying late and rocking this show. If you were strong enough to stay up that late, you got a hell of a treat. I left at 1 and they were still cranking, singing songs about BBQ as I drove away.

Thanks to the staff at Darrells. Here is Emily delivering her famous Kamikaze.

Thanks to Dan, the proprietor of Darrells for letting us produce our shows at the best venue in town. See Darrells here:

And as always: