Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Skablins, Satellite 4 and Stafford and The Bentz Brothers at Darrells 11-30-12

Darrells always has great live music, tonight was no exception. Dan and Scott always cook up the right menu for a night of fun.

Dan Dyckman is the owner and head chef (no they don't serve much food), and Scott Walker is the Sous chef and sound man. They use their knowledge of the music scene, recommendations from knowledgeable insiders and a little instinct to create the right recipe for the evening's repast.

Here is Scott at work, I love the velvet painting of mom on the wall.

Darrells is a comfy place, I have written extensively about my love for this little slice of adult heaven. Voted best dive bar in Seattle, it is one of the sweetest places to see live music in Seattle. Dan just upgraded the sound system and you can feel the bass in your bones.

See Darrells here:

Here is the festive atmosphere during the holidays at Darrells.

The mix tonight was delicious; two instrumental bands and one rollicking ska band. There was going to be a mix of Surf, Soul and Ska, it worked out to be a super menu.

First up was Stafford and The Bentz Brothers, a local surf band, they are a super fun trio. Phil Bentz is playing lead guitar, his brother Mark plays stand-up bass and Stafford Warner plays percussion. I have written about them before, you can read it here:

Tonight was the first of many stops on their Christmas tour. It was also their unofficial CD Released Party. Stafford and The Benz Brothers planned a bitchin' song list for the evening (sorry, the term seemed appropriate here).

They played some great originals off the CD and then they played Christmas themed surf tunes. They played the entire Ventures Christmas album, a hell of an ambitious endeavor. They did a marvelous job and it was a lot of fun.

Phil plays a killer lead guitar. He carries the load as these tunes are heavily guitar oriented. There are only three of them so there is nowhere to hide. He has marvelous facial expressions; he is in heaven as he brings out the best from one of his guitars. He has four of them by his side.

They are talented and skilled, Stafford is a dynamite on the drums and brother Mark is marvelous on the stand-up bass. I purchased two of their new CD's, always support your local artist!

Their first tune set the pace, they were going to surf all the way to Christmas. By the time they were set to play the Christmas tunes, the crowd was rocking and ready. They killed the Ventures stuff; nailing the feel and sound of the famous surf band of the 60's. It was a lot of fun.

I have been listening to the CD and it is happy and entertaining; a great set of waves. See Stafford and The Bentz Brothers here, buy their CD.

The Satellite 4 were up next, they were billed as soul and again all instrumental. Scott had told me that he was really looking forward to seeing them again. He said they were super tight and played awesome soul.

I recognized Johnny Horn on bass. He is the host for Preaching The Blues on KEXP 90.3, He plays a mix of soul, R&B and blues. You can see him and his show here:

The Satellite 4 is : Jeff Conlin on keyboards, Eric Daw on guitar, Johnny Horn on bass and David Hudson on drums. Scott was correct, they were tight and rocking.

Eric's stellar guitar work was evident on the first tune. He was playing this beautiful wide body, cream colored guitar. Super skilled, he had the crowd hollering after his solos.

They played some Booker T covers, a total gas that had everybody up and moving.

Jeff's strong keys were the springboard for a killer set. He looked like a Marine but played the keyboard like he had been born with it. Playing a bright red Nord synth, he was amazing. His solos were authentic, classic and yet fresh; killer soul.

His fingers were moving lightning fast on a couple of tunes, really great to watch.

They played a awesome funk tune named Under Control; great arranging and a stellar performance.

A tune called Chinese Checkers was fun and got me rocking. The Satellite 4 has a marvelous fresh sound with a vintage ring.

They have a huge sound. At times Jeff's keys sounded like a Hammond, taking advantage of the new sound system. Johny's bass was vibrating me down in my private parts. Not to get too personal here, I found it stimulating.

I didn't sit still during the whole set. I loved this sound and this band. I bought the CD; Call Your Girl, and I grooved on the way home. You can see them here, buy their CD and worship them all at the same place.

I had no idea that we were in for a music explosion, but that is what happened. The Skablins were invading the stage. I should have known we were in for it, their equipment filled the place. You had to climb over huge road cases just to get to the Loo.

I caught one of them warming up at the bar with a chum. Here is Buster flashing his beautiful smile.

Buster proved to be a madman on stage. Well, he really didn't spend much time onstage. He performed with incredible passion and stomped all over the bar. He was the only one who didn't have his instrument amplified. He didn't need it. Here he is performing with this great band.

This was an absolute tsunami of sound, they filled Darrells with horns, keys, percussion and super fun vocals. The Skablins were more of a happening than a band. A performance worthy of a Rio street band with the energy of a hurricane.

The Skablins are: Gordy on lead vocals and calesthetic instructor, Jacob on guitar, Heather on baritone sax, Michael on tenor sax, Buster plays trombone, Chris on trumpet, Jake on keys, Anton on bass and Ken on keys.

They did a sweet version of Come Dancing, The Kinks classic. It was screaming fun and the whole place was singing along. Michael was jumping up and down like a pogo stick. Buster was on the dance floor blasting his brand of ska.

I was particularly taken with Heather. I mean come on, what red-blooded american man could resist a beautiful girl, covered in tattoos and blowing into a baritone sax? She also added vocal, singing harmony on may tunes.

One more of my new goddess, Heather. She could really blow that big hole.

The energy created here was a sum greater than the parts. Remember how the magic stones in Indiana Jones Temple of Doom glowed when they got together? I think that is what happens here. These folks have an awesome synergy onstage.

Gordy had a cool rapport with the crowd and his humor added to the fun. He had great vocals while bouncing around like pinball. He and Buster could not hold still, neither could anybody in the place, we were all up and dancing.

They did some hilarious vocals, you can see by the following pic that it was a lot of fun. I loved their cover of an Oingo Boingo tune. They followed that with a song that had a Klesmer style riff. This was a  really memorable set.

Oh and then there was Heather, she had a great voice and added a lot to the harmony (and the view).

This was a lot of fun, The Skablins are a total gas; a marvelous party band, a dance band extraordinaire. They are great musicians and performers. As fun to watch a they are good to hear. They even had a guest play trumpet and sing vocals. I have seen him play before, Adam Bruno is entertaining and added a lot of humor to the performance.

You can see them here. They have new CD coming out soon, they hope.

Oh look, there is Heather again.

This was another wonderful night of live music. Take advantage of your local resource, there could be the next big band lurking in the little bar around the corner. I once saw Motely Crue in a tiny little bar in Pasadena. It was just before they made it big and the venue was a dingy depressing dive. The music however, was extraordinary.

Roll the dice, drop the dime and see some live music soon. You are bound to discover something you will like. You might get to see Heather too!

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