Saturday, March 10, 2012

The 1Uppers, The Rainieros and Deception Past at the Sunset Tavern 3-9-12

It was three songs into the 1Uppers set that I realized how weird I am getting. I know the band sees it, I don't know if anybody else notices.

The band sees it as I am in their face watching every move. I maneuver to catch the killer solos, I walk around the stage taking pics and I am always rocking. Head bobbing, big butt moving, I get lost in every tune. Nobody has called security on me yet so it must not be that bad but understand...these moments are sacred to me.

The wall paper at the Sunset:

I was really looking forward to writing this particular post for a host of reasons. I am finding it really rewarding to pen this. I got an email from Justin Rosner of The D.evolution.Aires. He said he had used one of my posts as a guide for his music plans. So cool! He went to see The Mothers Anger after reading the post from last week. Made my week...Thanks Justin.

I also was excited to write about the bands and a couple new friends.

Things to come:

I let my subscription to Blue Suede News expire. I get so many magazines and books and I just can't find time to read them all. I judge a man's wealth by the amount of time he has to read for pleasure; I am a very poor man. Marc Bristol is the writer, editor, interviewer, scribe, translator and artist behind this great magazine. His wife Gaby is co-conspirator. The latest edition was covered in ink, so much copy jammed into this mag that it came in at an easy 3 pounds, weighed it with my bass scale.

He and I had emailed a bit and I was unaware of his musical background. I had seen him listed in a couple shows, one lately that I wanted to get to but had other plans. Marc as it turns out is a veteran country, bluegrass, rockabilly blues and zydeco legend. He has been around the block and back having spent a couple decades touring with his various bands. I know, many of you are saying where have you been? I was privileged to spend some time with him, he even hand delivered some cds.

I am now listening to one of 13 discs. On some he plays guitar, some with his zydeco he plays washboard. On all of the cuts he sings great vocals. Give him a listen and support our local artists, here is a link to his page:

I was also lucky to get to meet Liam of the Rainieros. I usually don't approach any of the artist off-stage. I am invasive enough, I don't want to be that fan you know? I feel lucky enough to watch this animal up close in it's natural surroundings, I don't need to poke it. At most I will say good words as they walk by or give them a thumbs up if I catch their eye. Liam introduced himself after his set. He was as friendly in person as he is on stage (more on that below). He wondered if I had been to their shows before (I had, Rockabilly Ball car show at The Shanty, once more at The Shanty later, Liam alone with the Crabs about 2 months ago) and he gave me a cd. I like Liam, he is a happy guy. A quote I know of describes Liam well: Some pursue happiness, other create it.

The sacred time was at hand; the solar storm had passed, the full moon waned and the 1Uppers were on stage. One of my favorite bands, I was up close watching the action. Why sacred? I hadn't been able to see them for at least a month, they were going to be on stage for less than an hour and I was going to enjoy every second of the show.

They didn't disappoint, playing all my favorites and then some. I am not going to slobber all over them like I usually do, if you want to see slobber, read the previous posts. I do want to give a nod to each guy real quick...ok I am going to slobber.

Dave the lead singer has a great voice and stage presence. He is a shy guy off stage, a tour de force on. Jon playing pedal steel is my friend and I am his biggest fan; he is so talented, love his sound. He and Dave write some tunes together, others are all his. Caben has a quiet composure all the while he is laying down his usual killer performance. He rocks back and forth with a slight smile and playing the bass with confidence.

I caught Andy having big fun on the Surf tune the band did at the last part of their set. He was really rocking as he made the most of the minimal drum set he plays. John looks like he is waiting for a bus as he caresses out the most beautiful music from his guitar. He doesn't break a sweat and you would barely notice he was so talented unless you were paying attention. Kris plays a beautiful pinstriped guitar and it is appropriate that he would play some of the most lovely licks a guy can play. His eyes closed, he stokes, strums, plucks and glides over the guitar.

Did I mention that I love this band, ok I'm done, oh, one more pic:

The changeover was fast, Liam and the Rainieros were getting up on stage. The sound tonight was excellent. The sound board was by far nicer than anything I had seen in a small club. I know nothing right? This was an amazing piece of technology and the guy that was running the show was all business. I could hear every instrument in each band this evening. Even the washboard in the final band sounded like was he was standing next to me (more later). He was a pro and I told him I liked the mix as I was getting ready to leave.

Liam and the Rainieros play happy music, a mix of country and rockabilly with some blues tossed in for good measure. I would also add a side of swing. They play mostly original material and they make you move. Liam was talking with all his buds and budettes in the crowd between tunes, he always has a smile on his face. He has a beautiful voice and plays a gorgeous guitar.

His lead guitarist plays a Bigsby Vibrato guitar, customized with his name. A very beautiful instrument; Nicolas played a total different style than John or Kris had done before him. Again I know nothing. I liked his approach; classic and still unique to Nick. He had a stubble of a beard and wore coveralls as he strummed that gorgeous guitar.

The bass guitar went about his business with a determined look. Many times with his eyes closed, he played the doghouse with passion. I have to think Tyler had to have callouses on his fingers a quarter inch deep, a marvelous bass player.

Donnie was playing very creative percussion on a very minimal set. A snare, pedal bass, high hat and a cymbal was all he needed to produce beautiful music. I watched as he played the rim with his stick while the other tapped the skin, all the while mouthing Liam's words. He was having fun.

See Liam and The Rainieros here:

I am so looking forward to seeing Liam and his cohorts again, we are already friends on Facebook. He has tagged some of the photos on my home page. I like the Rainieros as much as anything I have seen in the recent past. Here is a dream show; Black Crabs, Rainieros and oh maybe the 1Uppers, or Marc Bristol or Roy Kay, Knut?...shoot so many choices!

The next up was Deception Past; this was not just a band, this was an orchestra. I was amazed as I counted 9, 10, 11 musicians on stage. Whoops, is that someone at the drum set? 12. They were on top of one another as they tried to fit onto Sunset's tiny stage, The squeeze box player had his butt right in the lead guitars face who was sitting, no wonder he grimaced as he played. The lap steel was behind the banjo player, the bass player and the speakers. Like I said, I didn't know there was a drummer until I heard her. I sure couldn't see her and I was right on top of them (and I am 6'-3", I usually tower over the throngs).

I am going to list the band members here but cannot match to instruments; Andrew, Christina, Edan, Nick, Kasi, Tim, Renee, Joey, AJ, Alice and Connor. And here are the instruments: there was a drum set, tambourine, solid body bass player, keyboard, lap steel, squeeze box, mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar and a solid body lead guitar. Oh yeah and a banjo player...lets see that's 11, oh yeah a washboard too.

You would think that with this many musicians on stage they might revert to the laws of the jungle; the loudest gets the biggest share. But quite the opposite here; 12 musicians working in perfect harmony; having great fun and entertaining their fans and first timers alike. And because of the great mix; you could hear every note right down to the washboard.

Check out this photo, see the girl in the center, she smiled like this for the whole set. I love that!

This band had a lot of fun. The mandolin player was yucking it up with the banjo and bass player. The lead vocals and acoustic guitar had great stage presence and banter. He kept us all smiling in between tunes.

The poor lap steel was buried I had to go around the corner to catch a shot of him. It didn't seem to phase him as he produced some killer licks. Here is the bass guitarist and lap steel:

The lead guitar was in the same place, buried behind 11 of his peeps; he was content to quietly sit and make beautiful music. He and I had been standing together on the dance floor watching Liam, nice guy.

Here he is with the Keyboard and washboard players. That is the bass guitar in back.

They played a mix of old timey, and country, dare I say alt. country. I know some may hate that country? Ok, no labels, this was high energy fun music. Big sound from a big band, each artist adding to the mix with liberty and justice for all!

I hope you will go to their site and download some of their music. I did this afternoon and love their style. You can find Deception Past here:

The Sunset was a good venue for live music. This was a great bill; three different bands with complimenting sounds. They had the killer sound board, a full bar with good micros and quality booze, Flying Squirrel Pizza (yummy) and a decent stage with good lighting. I hope they continue to have great bills like this.

Off to see White Trash Whiplash at Darrell's tonight, better bring my neck support!

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