Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Guardians and The Gum at Darells Tavern 2-8-13

I started looking for a target on Monday. I always check my favorite venues first. Darrells is number one on my hit list. I recognized the name of the headliner, not because they are some major well-known band. No, just the opposite. I knew of The Gum just because of the buzz around their shows. No joke, every time I see the Facebook listing for one of their shows there is always evidence of great interest.

Here is Darrells at the height of the madness, 3 servers tonight. They were prepared for the throngs of crazed fans seeking adult beverages and great entertainment.

They had covered both pool tables, I had never seen this before here at Darrells. Usually they leave at least one open for the hard-core billiards fans.

While searching for a Friday gig I happened upon The Gum listing. Scott, the booking gent and sound tech for Darrells always writes a great marketing blurb. Here is what he had to say about this show: "Rob Morgan, Rod Moody, Damon Titus, Casey Allen and Victor Hart- aka THE GUM- return to Darrell's for a second round of Super Boss Madness with new songs and some snappy pants!"

That was a good enough for me, I love a man in snappy pants. But when I checked the guest list I was floored. There were close to 120 peeps that accepted the Facebook invite. That is capacity for Darrells. I had to go.

Here is a sign of good things to come.

The bill listed, The Guardians, The Paul Lynde Fan Club and The Gum. Unfortunately PLFC had to cancel because of a family emergency. I hope all is well.

First up was The Guardians in their debut show. They are a group of experienced musicians who recently formed here in the Seattle area. I will quote their marketing blurb: The Guardians are a new & emerging band from Seattle. Our sole aim is to create strong, memorable songs with engaging lyrics and lasting presence. For us, the song is everything. Melody, arrangement, and lyrics must form a coherent & complementary whole. Only what is essential remains!

Rob Morgan of The Gum (and many other musical experiences) was our outrageous host. He had us all smiling in anticipation of the good stuff to come.

They were most excellent, they were on of the strongest opening acts I have seen recently. They created a buzz along the back bar. We were all digging their brand of original music.

The Guardians are (from Lee of The Guardians): Lauren McLaren... is our invaluable keyboard player/vocalist. She also played flute on one song. Scott Syltebo is our bassist. It was guitarist Erie Jones (on lead guitar and lyrics).  John (aka "Johnny Vinyl") is our other guitarist. Lee Lumsden is the lead vocalist and main lyricist.
This was their first live show, you wouldn't have known it. They sounded like polished pros. They have been practicing.

I would hazard a guess that these folks have been playing, writing and living music all their lives. There was evidence that some in this group have had long lives. The guys, like me were of the older persuasion. As a matter of fact the place was filled with age challenged adults. I looked around and while there are always a few youngens, the bar was mainly populated by folks that were long in the tooth.

I did hear from a fellow at the bar sitting next to us that Erie was a music teacher in the public schools for years. He had gone to high school with him in Chicago last century. He had come out to see his buddy perform.

Lee had a marvelous stage presence and provided sweet vocals. He really reminded me of some of the legends of rock in his delivery. He hung off the microphone in true classic rock style.

They played rock with a pop flavor. They reminded me of The Nazz, Todd Rundgren's first group. Creative pop with strong lyrics, great arrangements and cranking guitars. I loved them immediately.

Here is Johnny Vinyl doing what he loves.

One of my favorite quotes is from the cult classic movie The Magic Christian. Featuring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, it is a hilarious stoned romp about money and influence. "Sometimes it's not enough merely to teach. One has to punish as well". I figure this band has learned from experience to take advantage of technology.

They made extensive use of iPads for their lyrics and set list. Lauren had one on a stand in front of her keys. Her piano and vocals added a great layer to this mix.

I saw three of them in use tonight, smart use of the technology. They had cool mounts too. Here Erie has one piggy-backed on his mike stand, sweet.

I recognized the drummer from another show, another band. Ken always has a smile on his face. He is killing the skins in back.

These folks have great style and play music that has deep roots in classic 60's rock/pop. They impressed me and the rest of the crowd with great original tunes that had vintage pop, rock and even psychedelia dripping off every note.

They should be satisfied knowing they killed on their debut show; marvelous original lyrics and great arrangements set to the music of our (ok, my) youth. I am amazed how polished and well loved they were for their first gig. They did come with their own fan club. The place was jammed.

I am looking forward to seeing them again. They are creative, fresh and have the flavor and passion that makes for great music. You can see them here:

One more of The Guardians and their stellar performance.

I was sad to see them leave but The Gum was up next. I had seen Rob in the crowd all evening. He even reached out and shook my hand when I walked by. I loved his energy and humor. If he was going to be performing, I was going to be loving it.

I took some pics of Scott and his magic fingers working the sound board.

While most of the crowd was of the older generation, I did find a really cute younger girl with a sweet vintage look.

She had a cute purse too, she told me that her mother gave it to her. Thanks for letting me take some pics.

I love Darrells when it is alive like this, it was a blast. The Guardians had set us up, I trusted The Gum to knock us down. Well, at least Rob fell down.

The Gum is a collection of talented and experienced musicians who have come together for a mutual purpose. In their words, "Old Punkers Unite!" They are fun loving and skilled, they put on one hell of a performance.

I am going to quote the list of members that I found on Facebook. THE 2013 FRUITGUM CO. (AKA "THE GUM"): ROB MORGAN (The Squirrels, Pamona Boners, The Pudz, etc.)- Lead vocals, kazoo
ROD MOODY (The Fuzz, Green Handshake, Spike, etc.)- Lead guitar, vocals
DAMON TITUS (The Enemy, Big Fun, The 79ers, etc.)- Guitar, vocals
CASEY ALLEN (The Life, Jimm & The Boxes, The Jess Grant Conspiracy, Wild Debbies, etc.)- Bass, vocals
VICTOR HART (Severhead, The Fakes, Burma Shave, Strange Fruit, etc.)- Drums

Victor was freaking amazing on percussion. Skilled, blazing and a blur for most of the night. I got up close, he was a blast to watch.

I had to fire up the flash to catch him. He played a cool pearl drum set too.

The Gum played some very original arrangements of familiar titles. The titles were familiar but the music was selective, they strayed from the original intent on more than one occasion. I don't think they played any cover the straight way once, every one had a sweet creative twist to it.

They played dynamite versions of tunes from 60's pop bands like The Association, Bread and Deep Purple. Every tune had some surprise, another secret selection hidden in the bowels of the original tune. Super creative stuff, a total blast.

I messaged with Rob a couple times, I had mistaken a tune they played for a Vanilla Fudge song. I told him I was confused. This is what Rob had to say: "You're probably thinking of Deep Purple's "Hush" VS. Herman's Hermits' "Kind Of Hush". And as far as mash-ups, this band isn't NEARLY as confusing as my last band The Squirrels!!! LOL!!!!"

Up till now I have only dabbled around the edges of the character on stage, our new friend Rob Morgan. Nothing could have prepared me for the sickness manifested in his stage show. A sickness that was infectious, the whole place was shaking to his beat.

Rob wasn't content to stay in one place, or even on one plane. Gravity got the better of him sometime, either that or he was just relaxing.

He sang in the can, he sang in the back of the bar, he wandered through the audience. Sometimes I couldn't even tell where he was. The band was blazing and this disembodied voice was wafting over the sound system.

Here he is headed to the back door.

Here is a gallery; the many moods of Rob Morgan with the adoring fans:

Super Boss Rock for the 21st Century.

Sometimes he needed a script, he is mad of course. Totally mad.

What an incredible performance by a talented musician. He had a killer voice. Sometimes he sounded like a baritone from a German Opera, others times like Pee Wee Herman. He had the audience alternately laughing and loving.

Too bad he doesn't have any fun. It helps to have a killer band backing you up.

He just couldn't fight gravity tonight. He gave in to this force of nature and spent a fair amount of time on the floor. There was a puddle in the spots he landed, he was working it baby.

This was great theater, as much fun as I have had in a long time. I was up close and moving with the rest of the fun-loving throngs. The band was stellar, the music originally classic and the front man crazy. A great mix that guaranteed fun.

Victor was killing the skins.

Casey was driving the band with his bass. He also added vocals.

Damon was slaying the 6 string. He was adding sweet solos, blazing fingers playing rock with a capitol R. 

Rod laid down some tasty licks. He does the majority of the lead guitar and adds vocals.

The sum total made for a great experience, performance art at it's best. I now know what the buzz is all about. The Gum is outrageously fun. I will not miss another show. You can connect with them here:

Mad I tell you.

This was one of the most entertaining shows I have seen recently. A ton of energy from the band and reflected back from the audience. It was past midnight before the old folks (and me) stared fading. I left with a big smile from a huge dose of fun.

Thanks to Darrells for hosting great live music, you can see them here: Darrells is one of the best venues for live music in Seattle. You can connect with them on Facebook here:

Bald faced crazy.

Thanks to The Guardians for playing a killer debut set. Thanks to The Gum for a fantastic show. They had as much fun as the rest of us, it made for a memorable experience.


I loved him, couldn't get enough.

I was really happy both Rob of The Gum and Lee of The Guardians contacted me to correct some (obvious and embarrassing) misteaks. They helped make this review factual and more credible. I thank them both for their participation.


  1. Dear Mr. Head,

    *Many thanks* for covering the show. I am so pleased that you enjoyed our music so much, and I hope you'll continue to check out our live events and new recordings to come!

    That said, I would like to provide a few corrections/clarifications:

    1) Lauren McLaren was the unidentified "sixth player." She is our invaluable keyboard player/vocalist. She also played flute on one song.
    2) Scott Syltebo is our bassist. (Though for a very brief period we did have a bassist named Daniel.)
    3) It was guitarist Erie Jones who was a music teacher with Seattle Public Schools and who attended high school in Chicago.
    4) Erie, Lauren, and I were the three Guardians who made use of iPads. It was Erie's iPad that was "piggy-backed on his mike stand."
    5) John (aka "Johnny Vinyl") is our other guitarist. He never uses an iPad at rehearsals or in concert.

    Again, your blog is *great* and your review was engaging & entertaining to read. (It was also stunningly kind!)

    With warm regards,

    The Guardians

  2. Awesome show, fantastic review!

    Can't wait to see you all again!


  3. I was there that night. It was SOOOOOOOOO packed when the Gum played that at one point it was so humid from those there simply breathing I wondered how those preforming were not passing out from either lack of oxygen or too much intake of C O. Great show and though I showed up at 9pm I still hadn't got there early enough :o)

  4. Holy cow, what a show!


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