Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nigel Mustafa, Banzai Surf, Originalites, and Los Caminos at Darrells, 10-19-12

I am back on the job. After 6 months of relative inactivity I have returned to my passion: seeing live music and blogging about the experience.

This evening was everything I needed to get the season off to a great start. Some of my favorite music in one of my favorite places. Surf and Ska at Darrells Tavern. My front room is how I like to refer to Darrells, I love the ambiance, people and the sound. Last night was a perfect balance of all those things. See Darrells here:

Scott, the sound tech and booking agent told me that this would be a fun show. He told me to bring my Liver Shield as the members of Los Caminos partied hard and would be doing that all night. Sure enough, even though they were on first they were still there at 1:30, grooving to the tunes and having a blast:

Greg Gibson produced the event last night, he had a good buzz going and while he used a few too many f-words to describe the bands, he did put together a great bill.

Los Caminos were up first, I had been looking forward to seeing them. I had heard some of their music on Shake the Shack KEXP 90.3, Fridays 6pm to 9pm.

They are excellent musicians who crank out the killer surf. They have some major obvious influences, I heard Dick Dale, Link Wray and the Ventures. But I also heard something else, down deep...some roots that came to the surface as they progressed through their set; Twang. I love twang, Los Straitjackets are one of my favorite Cow-Surf bands, now Los Caminos joins them in my estimation.

The roster for this driving surf sound is: Dave "Shaky" Shaw, Tom O'Riordan, Mike Moy and Craig Wardle. I loved their stuff and made sure to buy all their swag; 3 CD's and a t-shirt. I always try to support the visiting artists as best I can. If they are willing to travel to rainy Seattle for a show I will spread the dead presidents around as much as I can. See Los Caminos here:

Dave played a screaming lead guitar, he performed the best surf version of The Good, Bad and Ugly theme I have ever heard. We have all heard a surf version of this tune, every band does it, Dave nailed the lead line playing it really quick and very high. Loved!

Mike played a lovely Gretsch Bigsby model guitar, backing the band with a steady rhythm. I talked with him extensively; sweet, talented man.

Dave's boots were cool:

This evening was memorable for many things. One outstanding characteristic of every band is that they have a killer drummer. In Los Caminos' case it was the very creative percussion that Craig was laying down. Driving the band, many times starting a song with incredible raw energy, he set the tone and beat for this marvelous set of musicians.

I always try to get a pic of the bands playlist, here Craig mugged with the list for me:

Tim was laying down the bottom, dynamite bass licks from a talented artist.  The chemistry of the band was magic and the crowd was shaking to Tim's beat from the first note.

I loved these guys and have been listening to the CD's I purchased non-stop since I got up this am. The real joy, and a not-so kinda secret is that they also form the basis for another group. The bass drum gave it up.

The red-eyed skull and the words Six Gun Romeo betrayed their roots. They will add a vocalist and play on the same stage they inhabited tonight. Of course, I will be there. Look for those pics and that post tomorrow. Can't get enough of these guys.

The next band promised something totally different, I could tell just by watching them set-up that we were in for some big fun. The members of this band had distinctive persona's, watching the drummer lay out his carpet, set up his extensive drum ensemble and finally see him taking the stage in a Sari was enough to get me psyched.

I am going to post one of the last shots I took of the band first, here is Peter taking down his set:

and here he is at work/play:

As I said, the rest of the band was just as fun and distinctive. They have been on the road for months and looked a little tired, but you would have never known it by their set. They were fantastic. They played a wonderful mix of Ska and punk. As their name states, this was original and fresh music.

I don't have a great grasp on this genre, but I know what I like. I liked the energy, presence and fun these guys brought to the stage. They were reminiscent of Burning Spear, English Beat, and The Police with a little Black Flag thrown in for good measure.

The Originalites are Daniel Tello on guitar and vocals, Michael Belk on saxophone and vocals, Peter Fontes on drums and Tim Frankeny on bass. They are based out of Huntington Beach California. I am always grateful when a band of this caliber plays our local venues. I made sure to support them by purchasing a CD and some posters.

One of my bar-stool buddies asked me if the band stopped by some college and picked up this straight, fresh,  young kid on the way up from California. Daniel did not quite fit in visually, but he played a killer lead and sang vocals to some great tunes.

I loved the sax, Michael played with talent and passion; many times not being able to let the stage contain him, he played and danced with the crowd the whole set. His energy was contagious and we all participated in his artistic joy.

This was the first time I smelled pot actively being smoked in the house during a show. These guys brought out the stoners, but the pace of their show was anything but. Driving, rocking, moving; Ska with a punky attitude.

They played complicated beats, Peter driving the band ever forward with his manic and most excellent percussion. This was the stuff, the kind of music that moves your feet and feeds your soul. I am listening to the CD now...feel good music.

See The Originalites here, buy their music, support this marvelous band in the best way you can:

Banzai Surf was up next, arguably the best surf in Seattle right now. They are playing a ton of gigs,  getting air-play on KEXP and their regular practice shows. They rocked the house tonight.

The band is: Joe Jabon on lead guitar, Joe Anderson on bass, John Mooney on drums and Jim Sadler on keys. I love this band and have reviewed them several times, here is a couple previous posts:

Mike of Los Caminos asked me what to look for in this band as he could tell I was a fan. I told him that they did covers with original and awesome arrangements. They are masters at taking simple and popular tunes and arranging them in fresh but totally rocking sets.

Joe leads the band with his screaming lead guitar, playing the 6 string with skill and drive. He has a way of making the theme from The Munsters sound like the coolest of the surf genre.

I got to talk with John before their set. He is a marvelous musician and puts it all into his drums during his performance. I have seen him moving at light speed, driving the band and as red as a beet!

The previous bands started late and went long leaving the promoter with a tough decision. It was late and he decided to shorten the Banzai Surf set, something that didn't make anybody happy. They took it with humor and left with a little dig at Greg.

If you are a local bloke you can see Banzai Surf here in the Northwest and greater Seattle with some regularity. I highly recommend it, they are tops at driving surf. They have a great stage presence and this night had a wonderful video playing behind them.

They put together a mix of trailers and projected them on a screen behind. I remember seeing titles like "The Astonishing She-Woman" and "Terrifying Thrills" behind John as they rocked. A lot of fun tonight.

See Banzai Surf here, buy their CD, you will love the energy and fun on Surf This!

The last act was Nigel Mustafa. I expected to see dreads and ganga but what we got was a bunch of lilly white (I am of the same said tone) folks playing dance and reggae of the finest type. Immaculate harmonies, excellent musicians and an awesome stage presence had everybody in the place down at the stage dancing.

Nigel Mustafa is: Jake Beck on drums, Anton Beck on bass (there is theme here) Billy Keaton on lead guitar, JB Wilkan on keys, and Stev P Parris on lead vocals, sax and guitar. These kids play well together, look at Steve in any of these he having any fun?

I did recognize the drummer as the bartender's beau, a big guy who as with the other percussionist this evening killed the skins. I will try to get the names of these talented folks, if they want to give them up.

Great lead guitar, wonderful keys, awesome rhythm, driving percussion and a super fun guy leading the madness, what more could you ask for?

It was way past one and the crowd was on the floor and loving the sound Peter and the rest of the band was laying down.

He played guitar and alto sax (?), he bobbed and weaved, grimaced, laughed, smiled and nobody in the place was having more fun than him.

I loved the style of the rhythm guitar player, nice guy too.

 The keyboard player had a lovely voice and added great harmonies along with Peter and the lead guitar.

This was the perfect ending to a great bill. Nigel Mustfa was music to move to and they had many a fan that was singing along with their tunes. The love was leaking out of the building and wafting down the street even as I left at a quarter to 2.

See Nigel Mustafa here, if you can add the names of this awesome band, do so in the comments section below, I would be ever so grateful:

Hats off to Greg and Local Chaos, the promoter for this inspired show, see him here:

Thanks to Darrells for hosting; the happiest place on earth. I will be there again tonight for a rockabilly show with some of the same folks I saw here tonight. Six Gun Romeo is going to kill two birds with one stone so to speak...

I have a lake cabin in eastern Washington and spend my weekends during the summer at the end of a boat with a fishing pole in my hand. It's really not about fishing, it is about beauty, solace and loud music. My pontoon boat has the cranking stereo and I fish at the far end of the lake so I can blast the tunes and not bug anybody. I am very fortunate to have this wonderful place to relax and enjoy. My sweet wife Cathie and my 4 dogs love it like I do, it is our happy place.

Here is Chispa and me in one of our boats, I think you can see the draw here:

But all good things come to an end, I have next year to look forward to, and now I get to do another one of favorite things.

I did review a few shows, most notably The Surf Show at Slim's earlier in the summer, I cannot miss a visit by Aloha Screwdriver. I also just reviewed The 2012 Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball, the last of a long string of excellent shows. But I missed a ton of wonderful music. I was really sad to miss an event produced by my childhood friend Rob in Ellensburg. I still regret that one. You can't be in two places at once (when you are not anywhere at all).

I should be posting reviews of 2 shows a week.  I hope you will take a read and pass it on. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free below.

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