Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jackrabbit, Truckstop Darlin', and I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House at The High Dive 6-812

It had been way too long. I haven't seen any live music for a month and was I ever jonesen. I also was really missing writing, one of my major creative outlets of late.

I have a lake cabin in Eastern Washington and spend a lot of time there during the summer. It is a long drive but it is heaven once I get there. Here is a shot of the lake, I think you will agree, this is a beautiful place.

But being at the cabin and seeing live music are mutually exclusive. I love being on the water, fishing pole in hand, Osprey circling above...there is nothing like it. But on Monday night I found that I needed live music, a lot more than I thought.

My sweet wife and I went to Mr. Villa's in Lake City for dinner. It just so happened that Jerry Battista and his brother Jeff were performing their brand of happiness. They are a sweet combo; kin that has been playing together forever. I have reviewed them before, see that here:

They were 4 songs into their set when it hit me. Covering I'm on Fire, the beautiful Bruce Springsteen tune, they absolutely floored me. As Jerry and Jeff made their way through the song, Jerry's sweet vocals wafting through the restaurant, I lost it. My eyes closed, I was transported to another place, when I came to, tears were streaming down my face. I tried to focus through the tears, trying to keep it together. Cathie turned to me to say something and noticed my pitiful state. She knows me so well, she knew I was helpless, in the clutches of the music.

She waited til the song was over then asked me if I was OK. I nodded yes, then she said "you are not going to the lake this weekend, you are going to stay home and see some live music". I mumbled a feebled OK.

As soon as we got home she hopped on her pad and found some great shows. It turns out there were some of my favorites playing in town, I wasn't going to miss the lake at all. My wife of 30 years, best friend for over 40 really knows how to make me happy, I am a very lucky man.

When I saw that I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House was playing at the High Dive, I knew were I was going on Friday night. I called my buddy Mark and told him to be at the crib at 8:30. We arrived in Fremont at 9 ready to be entertained.

Dive, Dive!

I like the High Dive, long and skinny it has a great dance floor, high stage and a nice bar. They have a good mix of micro-brews and a bunch of high end booze. We settled in with an Elysian Porter and waited for the first band. The crowd was good and I was psyched.

Jackrabbit was first up, a Seattle based group that bills themselves as Indie Americana. Tony Fulgham, originally from Houston is the lead vocal and main voice for the band. He had a great voice and a killer stage presence,  big man with big hair he was obviously having fun.

The core band consists of Tony, Aimee Zoe Tubbs, and Moe Provencher, but they add other artists. Last night they added Jason Montgomery on lead electric 6 string, lap steel and pedal steel, he was a stellar musician. As noted, he had an array of tools to work with. My regular readers know I am a sucker for the pedal steel. But last night it was a tiny little lap steel guitar that stole the show. He made a mighty big sound with that pint-sized almost toy-like guitar. That little thing became a monster, soaring twang that commanded the whole bar's attention.

They got big applause after every tune. They had a faithful following and I became a fan myself.

Aimee was the percussionist for the band, with a rock glass of whiskey just in reach, she played a killer set and had a smile on her face the whole time. No fun here.

Moe played bass and sang vocals. She did a stellar job of laying down the bottom, driving the band and keeping them honest. Here was another happy soul doing what she loves, made me smile.

They played 45 minutes of dynamite originals ranging from classic country licks, alt. country, and blues. A very tight band, they put on a marvelous show and I knew I needed some of this music for myself. I purchased their new CD, simply titled Jackrabbit. Buy their CD and see them here:

Next up was Truckstop Darlin' out of Portland, 4 guys on a mission. Playing original hard driving rock and roll with a touch of country. I only mention the country as the pedal steel just gives the hint of that feeling.

Having said that, Michael on pedal steel played that thing in the most unusual ways, at least to my ear. At times it sounded like a synthesizer, sometimes he played it like it was a keyboard, sometimes it was used as percussion. I found them to be a refreshing twist on some classic rock.

Truckstop Darlin' is John Phelan on lead vocals and guitar, Nick Foltz on bass and vocals, Michael Winter on pedal steel and Ben Blankenship on drums. They make a killer combo; hard driving, hard rocking, lots of energy and talent. They compare to the Drive-By Truckers, but with a northwest twist.

Strong vocals, driving bass, and the ever changing sounds of the pedal steel made for some marvelous music. The crowd had thinned a bit but those of us who were paying attention got treated to some fresh and killer original music.

A few tunes stood out; Don't Walk Away was killer and Miss You More had psychedelic as well as grunge influences. Both had the crowd rocking, heads moving up and down in unison, this was the good stuff.

The real memorable song of their set was Dead Roses. Again, Michael is using his fingers to pick on that steel in an usual manner, laying down a set of guitar licks that was not steel-like in its effect. Dynamite stuff that had me riveted to his keyboard, er I mean guitar.

See them here:
and here:

I bought a t-shirt and both CD's offered (listening now, killer music). This is a great way to support the artist, no middleman and the money goes straight to them. I always purchase swag from the musicians, tonight I purchased 3 CD's, and 3 t-shirts in total, money well spent.

I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House had been enjoying the show from in front of the stage all evening. I talked with Handsome Jon earlier, he is the merch guy for the band. I had seen him, Mole and Mike catching all the talent that was coming on before them. We are all lovers of live music, a brotherhood of seekers.

ICLASOBITH is Michael Damron on lead vocals and guitar, Handsome Jon Burbank on lead guitar, David Lipkind on harp (sadly missing tonight), Mole Harris on bass and Flapjack Texas on drums. This is a collection of marvelous entertainers who have been at it for years.

Michael is a foul-mouthed, high energy madman who knows how to get the crowd moving and grooving. He has an opinion and he is going to impart that info to you one way or another. It usually involves a growly mumbled vocal that morphs into a scream. And if you didn't get it the first time he will give you a little prodding; can I get an Amen?

Handsome Jon is a pro and really puts it all into his performance. Eyes closed, mouthing the words and jamming on his well worn Les Paul, Jon is a consummate performer. I love watching him work/play.

Mole is driving the band with his huge bass. The guy is so slight that I think he could hide behind the damn thing. But he knows how to make it sing, he is having a blast laying down the bottom for this hard rocking band.

Flapjack is the hardest working man in the band, he is as red as a beet as he beats the crap out of his drum set, in a controlled and professional manner of course. He and Mole conspire to keep the grove moving. I have seen these guys several times, I never get tired of their music.

I have all 4 of their CD's and listen when I am feeling blue. Their brand of rock leaves no room for the blues in my head. If you want some of their electricity see them here:

I am headed to the Georgetown Carnival right now, there is a stage full of my favorites this afternoon. Banzai Surf, The Black Crabs, Knut Bell and Blue Collars and Dragstrip Riot will be performing back to back. I will report back on that scene.

Til then, see some live music soon, you will not regret it. You may get hooked like I did...

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