Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Rainieros, Casey Ruff and the Mayors of Ballard, and The Georgetown Orbits at Darrell's 6-9-12

I had an epiphany this weekend, actually 2. It became clear as I got deeper into Saturday evening that this was one of the best weekend musical experiences I have ever had. It ranked right up there with the Rockabilly Ball; I had seen 16 killer bands in just over 54 hours. Here I was lucky enough to catch 10 bands in just over 29 hours. An incredible weekend of talented musicians, adult beverages and cool people.

The second fact that I came to realize is that Darrell's is the best place to see live music in Seattle. It rates a 10 in all the categories. It is easily accessed, it is in a small neighborhood and you can park feet from the front door. It is a warm and welcoming place, all the peeps are friendly and work hard to please. The bar is close to the stage and almost all the seats have a great view. The stage is small and intimate, there is no riser so you are on the same level as the talent. And speaking of talent, the bills are always top notch, every talented musician in the Seattle has had a spin at Darrell's.

This Saturday evening proved to be one of the funnest nights of the year. It started with one of the best western swing bands in Seattle, The Rainieros.

Liam Fitzgerald is the lead singer and head man of the talented collection of musicians. He always surrounds himself with great artists and tonight was no exception. This was the same band I had seen at The Sunset a few months ago. I reviewed the here:

Liam plays guitar and sings vocals, Nick Streeter plays lead guitar, Tyler plays a mean doghouse bass and Donnie is keeping the beats in back. They had us moving from the first lick. A couple hit the dance floor at the bell, Liam made sure to acknowledge them and even asked if the tempo was right for dancing. You gotta love a man that loves his peeps.

They played all my favorites and more. The Rainieros just came out with a new CD and it is filled with the great swing that Liam is known for, buy his CD or down load it here:

The whole placed seemed to be moving as one, Scott had the sound dialed-in and the dance floor was packed. Liam had us in his clutches and he and his mates were swinging.

Liam's wife Emily was sitting with friends and enjoying the show. Liam dedicated a song to her, she beamed as her honey sang for her. Later, in the second band's set, Casey Ruff had also sent a song out to her.

This must have lit a fire under her and she couldn't sit still. After Liam's set, if she wasn't dancing she was trying to get Liam up and dancing with her. Once I looked over to see Liam sitting down, one hand wrapped around a beer and Emily on the other hand dancing around him. I saw him try to distract her with a toy. There was a internally lit hula-hoop making it's way around the dance floor, he grabbed it and handed it to her. Thinking he had been successful he turned away only to be followed close behind by his tireless wife. He solved the problem by ducking in to the men's room.

A super cute couple, watching them was one of the side-stories to an awesome evening. This was as much fun as I have had in a long time and we were just getting started.

My friend Kevin joined me as his in-laws live just around the corner. He walked up around 10. Kevin had always wondered what lived behind the dingy exterior of Darrell's. Man did he get a face full of it tonight. He was amazed at the crazed scene, watching him rocking away with Casey and his band I knew he would be back.

We went to the car during one of the breaks and he played some tunes from a live concert performed by Robert Earl Keen. Kevin is from Texas and Keen is one of the musicians that he said best represents what he listened to as a kid. Keen is quite the story teller and funnier than crap, we were in tears laughing so hard. Another side story, but just one more layer in the killer evening of fun.

Casey Ruff was up next and he and his mates were amazing. Billed as alt. country, they had all the elements of a great band. Casey is from Custer, Montana and has joined up with a group of talented musicians.

Here is what I have for personnel, please leave a comment if I am incorrect; Casey Ruff lead singer, guitar, Kate Voss on vocals and electric piano, Dan Walker on guitar, DJ Busby on bass and Kubby Casual on drums. Then of course there was the additional volunteer band members who joined the fun from the dance floor. Donnie from Liam's band and another jovial gent were having a blast adding to the fun. Here is just a small representation of what transpired last night.

This was not an unusual scene this wonderful evening. Again, I can't remember having a better time in the recent past.

Casey and his band got everybody in the place up on the dance floor and moving. If it was possible,  they turned the heat up a notch on this rhythm-soaked evening. I loved their brand of country, if you were not dancing you were dead.

I cannot do justice to Casey and the set they performed last night. After his show I asked him where he had been all my life. I have had my head buried to have missed him. I am looking forward to seeing him again. See and hear him here: and connect with him here:

As if we weren't sweaty enough, the next band promised more killer music. I knew we were in for some fun when I saw the horns come out. The Georgetown Orbits are a reggae band and as the kiddies got situated on stage I watched as Scott made sure each one had what they wanted. A couple of tunes into the set, he again checked with each individual band member to make sure they could hear themselves. Did I mention that Darrell's is the best place to play as well as see live music?

It just so happened that the lead singer and front-man for this awesome collection of musicians was named Darryl. And since he had the same name of the place where he was performing, he decided that he had special privileges. His self appointed title was to be King! And there was no one to argue that fact. We, his loyal subjects were at his command. He made sure that we were happy in our situation, constantly checking with us, how is everybody at Darrell's?

King Cole (Darryl) was a merry old soul...a short message from the King, get up and dance!

A benevolent master, he commanded us to get up and dance. He got up close and personal charging into the crowd and chiding those who stubbornly were still seated. Imagine this electric personality exhorting the kiddies to move; all while the killer horn section was thumping, the keys were rocking, the bass was driving and the drums were pacing a dynamite reggae beat.

Oh mighty Lord Darryl, what can we, your people do for you? Get up and dance was the order; so we danced, and we danced. It was 1AM and we danced. Roosters were crowing outside, the guy who cleans the toilets was almost done, and the bartender was waiting impatiently at the backdoor with her coat in her hand and we danced.

The Georgetown Orbits are Darryl Grandison on lead vocals, Orion Anderson on guitar, Cale Wilcox on bass, David "Ozzie" Giles on Hammond Organ, Jared Fanning-Lytle on drums, Dan Loren on Flugelhorn, Adam Bruno on trombone,/trumpet and Sean Jensen on tenor and baritone saxophone.

The horn section was stellar, each artist getting a lot of solo time. Dan killed the Flugelhorn. I played the trumpet in high-school and I found my fingers were moving as he played his sweet solos. Adam was rocking the trombone, his sound gave the band so much depth. Again, the solos from mainly his trombone and one great trumpet solo were killer. Sean was awesome on both the tenor and baritone sax. I looked forward to his solos and loved when he brought out the big artillery for the heavy-duty action.

David was totally dynamite on keyboards. He must have been classically schooled as his skilled fingers played some of the best stuff of the evening. It helps to have that Hammond speaker translating your art, the sound was amazing.

They had a lovely young lady join them for a few tunes, she had a beautiful voice and a great stage presence. She later grabbed the hula-hoop and I got some cool pics. Bridgid Roney was a great addition tonight..

Orion was blazing on the 6 string, and along with Jared on percussion and Cale on bass, added the layers that make a rocking reggae band. The driving beat was infectious. The crowd was thin by now as it was half past witching time but no one dared leave. The King would not be pleased.

I had been talking with Scott earlier in the day and he was apprehensive about the bill tonight. Would his menu of differing genres work, would the babies get up and rock? The answer was a emphatic yes! Another triumph at Darrell's; this was one evening I would not soon forget.

See The Georgetown Orbits here:

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