Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Graceland 5, John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band, and Stafford and the Bentz Brothers at Slims 12-14-12

I witnessed a rare Elvis sighting this last Friday night. At first I wasn't sure, I saw something through the window. A figure in white with an American flag, blowing kisses to the crowd inside.

The band started cranking out the killer punk. I recognized the tune, there was Elvis DNA all over it. Everybody had their eyes on the door, they apparently knew what to expect. They were frothing at the mouth, ready for what was on the other side of the door. I was right next to it and got this shot...

I still wasn't sure what we were going to see. Then this:

Oh yes, this was fun, but I am getting ahead of myself. This was the last band of three. Let us start from the beginning of the excursion to Slims, one of the great venues for live music in Seattle.

They have a great bar, full of delightful beers including two of my favorites; Choppers and Manny's. Both are from The Georgetown Brewing Company just a stone's throw from the bar. See them here: I love the saying on their home page; Beer. Now there is a temporary solution. Muttered by none other than one of my heros, Homer Simpson.

Slim's also have Jim, the sound tech. Jim is well regarded by artists and audiences all over the damn world. The artist can hear what their mates are playing and the audience hears what the artist wants them to hear. A win-win.

Check out Slims Last Chance and Chili Shack here:

There were a few good shows tonight but out of expediency I choose Slims. I had seen Stafford and the Bentz Brothers a couple weeks ago but I could do them again, they are fun and talented. The other bands I knew less about but any band named The Rooster Run Band was going to be OK with me.

My buddy Mark and I got there right after 9 and settled into a couple stools near the door to the patio. A strategic spot, I met all the smokers...a jovial crowd.

So the brothers plus one came on at 9:30 and played their usual great set. I had seen this same show two weeks ago at Darrells so I am not going to write too much about this one. I do have some good photos.

You can read my last post about them here:

Stafford and the Bentz Brothers are: Phil Bentz on lead guitar and marketing, his brother Mark plays stand up bass and Stafford plays drums. They play mostly surf, all instrumentals that take you back to another time.

Phil has some nice guitars, he was playing his beautiful 12 string for part of the evening. It has a distinctive sound and he has effects that make it sound really cool.

Stafford is a skilled percussionist and a fun entertainer. He had on his Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer costume on for a couple tunes tonight. They played the whole Venture Christmas album tonight along with many of their original surf tunes.

They have a new CD that Phil was pimping throughout the show. I have had it in my car deck for a week, it is good stuff. See them here:

Here is a video of them playing their brand of surf:

Mark plays a gorgeous orange metal-flake doghouse.

Good stuff from a fun band, they are very creative and ambitious. I appreciate a hard working band.

Up next was John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band. I had seen them in the crowd and was looking forward to hearing them. I have been leaning country lately and they were decidedly on that side.
Here is a pic of Jim helping them mount up, that's him in the middle.

Now just to dispel any thoughts about a last name of Hamhock, not to worry. I was a little concerned about the implications too, but thankfully, it is a nickname.

John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band is: John "Hamhock" Hagan on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Schuppe plays lead guitar, Uncle Dave Russell on vocals and acoustic guitar, Slim Chance on bass and a yet to be identified drummer.

They play music just like you would think they would by their appearance; Outlaw country with a whiskey filter. Playing original tunes, they rocked the house with killer vocals and tasty licks from the lead guitar. Mike had the place loving his solos.

John is a great front-man and lead vocalist. He writes what he calls Moonshine country with Waylon and Willie overtones. This is original country music, the kind I love. They have a distinctive smokey and boozy flavor for sure.

Uncle Dave played an acoustic guitar that had the hole taped over. Between that, the customized leather hat and the dangling pocket chains, he had a great look. His guitar had that ring that only an acoustic can bring. I love the layer it adds.

Slim was in back quietly driving the band with his stellar bass. The mix was great tonight so the bass wasn't over powering, I could distinguish every instrument.

Here is a side shot of Slim rocking, that is him in the middle right past the Hamm's bear.

They produced big applause and hoots and hollers from the crowd. It wasn't the best attendance last night, I am sure many people were going to holiday parties. I had mine earlier in the day. But the folks that were there were loving John and the Roosters.

You can see them here and read more about their fun music.

It was time for the Graceland 5, I was amazed at what I saw. You got the introduction, the rest of the show was just as entertaining. I have never seen Elvis look so animated!

Here is a pic of Phil Bentz who was also in this band setting up his massive wall of sound. Yikes, we were in for it.

His mate on the other side had a great set-up too.

Graceland 5 is fronted by Chachee Morrokin who played, sang and performed Elvis. He is a blur of motion and madness, an absolute headcase.

He didn't sit still all night. He strutted and paced. He sang in both bathrooms and at the bar.  He sat in the audience and sipped beer during some tunes.

Nobody in the place had more fun than Chachee. He was most excellent.

The band was great too. Knuck was a force of nature, a fire-plug with spark on lead guitar. He had a cool guitar too: baby blue with a split head-stock.

These guys played Elvis tunes speed-punk style.  Cranking guitars, wailing bass and killer percussion was the background so having this up front made it even funner:

Phil was on the other 6 string, he was having a blast. I was standing next to Stafford from Phil's surf band (first on tonight), and he was commenting on how the Graceland 5 was having fun tonight. He was so right, they were having a blast and so was the audience.

SweetWillyP was on bass, a rocking musician who laid the bottom. Jerry Jeff was playing dynamite percussion, driving the band. He was filling in this eve, but had years of experience with them in a previous (non-family) life.

 Did I mention that Chachee was highly active?

He was also curious, here he is looking at somebody's personal biggie, he was Elvis.

I had seen Chachee in the crowd before the his set. He looked like a good time party guy, big smile as he greeted his buds. But once he donned his wig, the shades and the outfit, he was transformed. He was temporarily insane. He could be forgiven for minor, well even major crimes. He was Elvis.

It is tough to put into words the impact punk had on Chachee/Elvis. He became what we all wanted the real Elvis to become. Elvis had his rockabilly period, he had his gospel period, he grooved through his movies, and he even was great during his fat period. But didn't we all want him to go through a punk period? Here is it was.

What a blast! A really cool bill that lead up to Elvis. Surf, country and then punk, a hell of a way to end the day.

The Graceland 5 was a total happening, a mind-blowing experience. I cannot wait to see them again. You can see them here:

They had a great logo too. Here is Jerry Jeff's drum head.

I visited the men's room and got this pic of the sanitary cover for the toilet.

A good time was had by all, thanks to all the bands and Slims for presenting a great show.

See some live music soon.

1 comment:

  1. Love the write-up, man. Thanks for coming to see all the bands. -Knuck-


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