Sunday, April 8, 2012

WhiteTrash Whiplash and Blacktop Deceiver at The Horseshoe Tavern in Woodinville 4-7-12

Last week I was reminded of the cultural differences between us Americans and Canadians. It was interesting juxtaposing last Saturday's show with Petunia and the Vipers and this last show at The Horseshoe.

Yes, Petunia rocked but quietly and calmly. He had us all sweating and moving as he cooly tapped his foot and chewed his gum. In vintage style, the lead guitar player Steven sat on his amp, standing only when he played a solo. The band had a wonderful classic vibe, they didn't break a sweat yet they made us all melt. The passion was not missing and neither was the talent. They just rocked in a more genteel way.

This week was the opposite; this was American Music. The names say it all, WhiteTrash Whiplash and Blacktop Deceiver; in your face, in the audience amercun style entertainment.  Prepare to be hit with a big dose of local fun.

Webb O'matic, the drummer of WhiteTrash Whiplash had reminded me of the show via Facebook.  It was in Woodinville at a little road house from the 40's. The Horseshoe Tavern is on the other side of the river from downtown in a little residential neighborhood. I had seen it before but never been in. It is a bit of a throwback. On the revrerbnation website it identified it as a dive bar, capacity 70 persons.

I arrived a little a after 9 and was surprised that there was no cover. I stood in the door like an idiot with a ten in my hand figuring it would just be a matter of time before they got around to absorbing my dollars. Blacktop Deceiver was already on and rocking so after a while I forgot about it and started moving to the music.

The bar was small and would have been comfortable with 70 people in there, as it was there was probably 40 including the bands. This tavern had all the right ingredients; nice long bar, plenty of taps, cocktails, good seating with great views of the band and a friendly and attentive staff. What it lacked was ambiance.

I am a design professional but it wouldn't take a interior designer to know that having two bright kitchen lights in the main part of the bar was a total buzzkill. I spent the night trying to get close to the band and avoid the harsh light. It was the opposite of how it should have been: no light on the band but an awful amount of incandescent light on the drunken bar patrons.

If the bar owners are listening: kill those lights, the neon beer signs will provide enough light to drink by. I think you will find you will sell more drinks if you lose some of the lumens. Then add some simple lighting for the band. Ask one of the bands, they will have a cheap solution.

OK, enough of the lesson. I felt uncomfortable but I wasn't going to leave, there was good music in the air.

Jason on vocals and occasional rhythm guitar, Ron on lead guitar,  Jay on slap bass and Vetala on drums make up Blacktop Deceiver. They play rock, rockabilly with a dose of blues. I had never seen them but heard good things. They had missed the Rugcutters Bash in February because of inclement weather. It snowed like hell and the venue was in North Seattle.

I found that their sound was raw, stripped and naked; classic rockabilly style. Many times it was a sparse but rocking sound that made you move, dance and feel good. Jason sang vocals, he had a rough voice and sang the original lyrics with passion. He did have a guitar hanging around his neck and played rhythm on occasion.

Jason had a good rapport with the audience and there were folks in the crowd who were there just to see them. There was a birthday party and a bunch of rockabilly clad fans were there and trying to have fun in the blaring light. OK, I added that last part, they didn't seem bothered by the lights, they were dancing and carrying on like it didn't matter...

Ron's lead was perfect, he played marvelous solos as Jay banged the doghouse and Vetala grooved on the skins. They all had a chance to add their own touches of talent.

Jay spun his beautiful blonde bass and managed to get the biggest sound out of it. He had huge muscular arms that were decorated with colorful tattoos. He sang vocals and was a source of jokes throughout the set.

Ron was quietly picking, strumming and caressing his gorgeous hollow body guitar. He was happy to sit back and bless us with his wonderful gift. Vetala was in the back keeping the band honest and added some creative beats to the mix.

Blacktop Deceiver was good comfort music that left you smiling and wanting for more. They have a CD coming out in the fall. These are great local musicians that deserve our support. See them here:

After a short break, WhiteTrash Whiplash hit the stage. I loved them before and I knew I would love them again. When I saw that the lead singer had donned a sequined top coat I knew we were in for some fun.

This is a band that knows how to make the audience crazy. The last show I saw, they had the crowd on stage with them from the first lick. They are killer entertainers. I mean this band has a guy who has a whiskey filled gun and knows how to use it.  Top that.

Unfortunately his first shot ended up in his rhythm guitar players have to be prepared when facing the gun.

Matt "Cheeder" is on vocals and the one who had the good taste to wear his formal glitter jacket with tails. It was appropriate dress for the occasion.  He made the most out of it and of course had his custom red-neck cowboy hat; he cut a striking figure. He is constantly moving and if you didn't know it you would think he had St. Vitus use of a life-threatening illness ever. "I can't stop my leg" he seems to sing.

He had a great voice and singing all original lyrics is the killer front-man for this great local band. Buc is playing lead and singing vocals, Billyclub is also adding vocals and playing bass, Ronnie is mugging and playing rhythm guitar, they make beautiful music together.

Let's get back to the Whiskey gun. I am anxious to discuss innovative ways to deliver adult beverages. The fillings were provided by the bar, we thank the owners for their kind contribution. Next time turn off the lights so we could enjoy it and could you make it single malt Scotch? I will throw you a fiver.

Cheeder circulated among the rockers in the crowd with his power-packed pistol, warning the kiddies to signal if they didn't want the shot. Ronnie was still trying to get the booze out of his ear...let this be a lesson! There is just something about a crazed rocker in a cowboy hat that has been manipulated to what appears to be something out of the revolutionary war, in a golder glitter top coat with a multicolored squirt gun in his hand. Why yes, yes I will have a squirt!

The talent of the band shines on the original tunes they crank out with passion and energy.  Webb is in the back performing his brand of magic on percussion. He effortlessly plays creative and original beats keeping the band steady. I love to watch him work/play.

Ronnie is having a blast on rhythm; he is always moving and rocking. He reminds me why I love coming to see this band play. He isn't getting squat to do this, he is doing this to have fun and for the love of live music.

Billyclub plays the bass, anchoring the band, laying the ground work but with a creative bend. He adds vocals and a lot of humor. This is another fun guy having a good time. Lucky us that he is willing to share.

Buc plays lead and well, never stops moving. Not content to stay on stage with his mates, he melts his guitar in the aisle, on the tables and in your face. A talented artist, he moves, bobs, weaves and stomps his way through these great tunes. Buc provides wonderful theater and his solos are the best; the boy knows his way around six strings. He towered over us while standing on the tables, we were sure to pay attention.

I was just getting a groove around 11:30 when they announced that the next song was their last. I was sick, going on two, shit three weeks now. I was taking medications and I was really spaced. The bright lights didn't help the funk (oh I know, get over it) but I was over the worst (I hope) and ready for more.

Luckily they had CD's for sale. Regular readers will know I am a big supporter of local music and I will always buy the music from the band. It is the best way to support the artist and I had the benefit of listening a to WTW all the way home.

See WhiteTrash Whiplash and buy their music. Here is a link to their website:

This was a great night, super upfront and personal experience with the musicians. Webb tells me there are more shows in the near future. When I need an atta boy, I will look for the WhiteTrash Whiplash brand of energy.

I came out of the bar and looked down the street. There was what appeared to be a very large street light. I did a double-take, it turned out to be the moon low and full. Pretty cool.

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