Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Rugcutters Bash at Darrells Tavern 2-1-13

The first Rugcutters Bash of the year was upon us and most of the rockabilly community was there. It felt like family, and since it was at Darrells, it was like it was in my front room.

I settled in to my usual perch along the back of the horseshoe bar and got comfy. We ordered a pitcher of one of the region's finest ales.  Elysian Brewery Company in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle produces a whole line of excellent beers. Men's Room Original Red Ale is an outstanding medium body ale. Not too heavy with a decent kick and a nice finish. You can see the beer here:

The ale is named after an irreverent radio show hosted by Miles, Steve "the Thrill" Hill, Thee Ted Smith, and Ben the Psycho Muppet on 99.9FM. Nobody has more fun on the air than these guys. At 5 o'clock everyday they toast some poor schmuck that has earned their derision. The stories are hilarious. "Down the hole-la Bitchola!" My wife loves these guys even though she is obviously not in their demographic. You can see the wackos on The Men's Room Radio Show here: 

SweetPea was there with some of her friends. She is a great supporter of Rockabilly and a super sweet person. Here she is flashing her ivories.

The Western Bluebirds were on first playing their wonderful version of Western Swing. The dancers hit the dance floor on the first note. The peeps had been waiting for this moment. It was worth the wait. The Bluebirds are tight and skilled, the members are some of the finest musicians in the northwest.

Kevin Campion directs the band, plays a beautiful steel guitar and sings vocals.

Nick Streeter gets around and plays lead guitar and adds vocals.

Nick plays a gorgeous custom guitar.

I appreciate Nick's talent more every time I see him, this is his Clark Kent persona. I am sure he has a cape under his plain dress.

Tony LaBorie was playing Kirsten's (The Black Crabs) beautiful blond stand-up bass. He also adds vocals and a great bottom for the band.

I caught him fueling up for the show. Don't you just love the decor at Darrells?

Liam Fitzgerald from The Rainieros plays acoustic guitar and adds vocals.

Dave Bush is on the drums in back.

Bill Jones plays trumpet, he adds an authentic old timey sound with his brass lips.

 The Western Bluebirds play many of the western swing favorites from the 40's like Blue Skies, On the Beach at Waikiki and Safronia B. They have been playing a lot locally lately. It is nice to see them gaining popularity. All of these artists play in other bands and have full time jobs so this is something that they make room for, something they love.

The dance floor was packed for every tune. These guys know how to swing, and please a crowd.

Cottonwood Trail is a marvelous swing tune. They have a new CD with the same name as the title. Cottonwood Trail is a sweet collection of classic tunes arranged and lovingly rendered by The Bluebirds. You can see them here:

I love the steel guitar, Kevin has a beauty; a custom Clinesmith double neck.

It was great to see the boys opening for the Bash. They were following in the footsteps of many other great bands. Johnny (The Black Crabs lead and head chef of music for the Bash) has surrounded his band with great performers and billed it as The Rugcutters Bash.

He was kind enough to allow my wife and me to piggyback our 30th anniversary party on a Rugcutters Bash. It is always one of my favorite events. It is always at my favorite venue too, Darrells. Here is a review of the last Bash:

The Western Bluebirds were the perfect partners tonight, everybody was moving and loving it.
They had a great addition to the mix tonight, Marieke Benner sang a few tunes with the band.

Besides her stunning visual beauty, her voice is gorgeous as she sang some of the classic western swing tunes with the band.

Marieke was a great addition to The Western Bluebirds tonight. Huge applause, many hoots and few hollers after each of her songs.

While Marieke and the Bluebirds had to move off at some point, the good news was that the Black Crabs were up next.

One more pic of the Western Bluebirds in action.

Johnny, Kirsten and Tom were up next. Collectively known as The Black Crabs, they are one of the favorite rockabilly bands in the area. Johnny had cooked up a perfect evening and the place was jammed.

Damian is one of my favorite servers. Talk about attentive; he is on an empty glass before it hits the bar. He didn't have time to stop for a pic but he flashed a smile as he motored by.

Got Crabs? asked Johnnies t-shirt. Why yes, yes I do. And here are the pics to prove it.

It was Tom Forster's birthday, a big one at that. This kid does not look 40. A super nice guy, we exchanged pleasantries before the show.  He plays drums, sings vocals and provides humorous comments throughout the performance.

Here is Tom's birthday cake, I found it disturbing, couldn't eat a bite.

Kirsten woman-handles this huge stand up bass. She plays the awesome bottom that drives the band. It is always fun to watch her perform. She and Johnny work so well together. I especially love the call and response type vocals they do on songs like Messin' Around.

Her fingers must have a leather covering given the rapid rate of strumming and plucking.

The Crabs play marvelous rockabilly, swing, rock and/or roll and other tunes that keep you moving and smiling. They have been a big part of the community for several years.

They are one of the go-to bands for quality and energetic performances. They always please and this was no exception. The place was sweaty from moving bodies. I had come in from a breath of stale air and this is what happened to my glasses.

The place was rocking, another successful Rugcutters Bash Johnny!

I saw Roy Kay and John Hyde in the audience. My friends Cass and Johnny were here. Johnny is healing nicely after a bad bike accident. It was nice to see him up and out...stout fellow!

The Crabs always bring out the crowds. One reason is because of Johnny and his passion for this music.

Photos cannot do justice to this super fun performance, but I will try. Johnny is so expressive and easy to photograph.

The Crabs were spot-on tonight, the place was crazy with motion, it was tough to get decent pics. Marieke joined for a couple tunes. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, it did.

Once again, she added a great vibe to the mix. A beautiful voice and marvelous delivery.

This was a super fun Bash, there were smiles all the way around. Many adult beverages were being consumed and the crowd was up and moving.

You can connect with Tom, Kirsten and Johnny here:

I had purchased several of the new CD's from The Western Bluebirds that evening. I mentioned Cottonwood Trail earlier; it was produced and mixed at Johnny's recording studio. You can see Johnny's other side here at the Cleopatra Studios:

I got to talk with Dan, the owner of Darrells. It was nice to hear his take on presenting live music. He is an artist's friend, as he is aware there are a lot of bands out there that would love to play live. He opens his stage to all kinds of music 5 nights a week. The community is lucky to have him.

It was foggy tonight in Shoreline.

Dan has created (maintained) a wonderful vintage environment that is welcoming and comfortable. It is one of my favorite places on earth. Here is one of the regulars, Chief loves to shake your hand. How you doing buddy? he asks every time you walk by...

You can connect with Dan and his marvelous institution here:  and look for them on Facebook here:

DJ Hubba Hubba played some great tunes between sets. He was quite the character with a handlebar moustach and a big smile. He had greeted me in the parking lot, a super friendly guy. Scott (Dan's other half of the booking duo in this great venue) told me this about DJ Hubba Hubba: "He had some very unique tunes, I was diggin' them. Some cracked me up with a 10 star Scott rating for double entendre crassness".

That is Scott on the right, he is also the most excellent Sound Tech.

Apparently Hubba Hubba performed a special burlesque act at the end of the evening that involved his huge belly and tattoo. I am sorry I missed it.

Next up was Audios Amigos from Portland. I had recognized Dan Lowinger, one of my all-time favorite musicians in the northwest as he mounted up. He is in The Barn Door Slammers, a great western swing band from the City of Roses.I have reviewed them several times, you can see how I have slobbered all over them here, there are more in the archives:

I had not seen this side of Dan though. He plays bass in The Slammers. I have seen him play lead 6-string before but this was ridiculous, a monster unleashed. Apparently this music also suits him just fine, he was blazing!

I am getting ahead of myself though, here are the members of Audios Amigos:  Dan is on twang and pickin, JT Halmfilst on the other twang, Eric Baldoni on the bass and Andrew "Sonny Bacon" Simard on percussion. This was a hard-driving, high-energy instrumental band.

They describe themselves this way: Audios Amigos is an instrumental muscle car filled with guitars and hot sauce. I really couldn't say it any better. They play covers and original instrumental of funk, surf, and country. Always with a driving beat. I heard a lot of Los Straitjackets, The Langhorns and El Camino. Great cow surf.

As I said earlier, I was amazed at Dan's pickin'. But his buddy JT was no slouch either. They took turns blowing the kiddies minds with explosive guitar solos and duets.

I was absolutely ready for this, Audios Amigos was firing on all cylinders. I love this brand of music. While rocking and driving, it was not dance music and few of the dancing peeps made their way to the door.

Eric was rocking the bass, driving the band with his manic beat.

They performed a killer version of El Cumbanchero. Maybe the swing dancers were gone, but the fans of great surf were just getting going. They did creative arrangements of some classic tunes.

Sonny Bacon was killing the skins. He was a blur, I had to switch on the fire to get a decent pic.

And Dan was blazing tonight, really fun to watch and hear. I love him when he was rocks the bass, but here he was showing off and having fun. He has great mastery over the 6-string guitar.

I wasn't able to stay for the whole set but I loved what I heard. For all I know they had Marieke join them for a tune, she was everywhere tonight.

SweetPea and Kim Dogluv found a friend in the parking lot. I had a Malumutt mix that looked exactly like this one, Magoo was a great dog. I have a shorter version of this one right now, he is a handful at 10 months.

This was another awesome Rugcutters Bash. Thanks to Johnny and The Crabs for putting this show together. Thanks to Scott and Dan for providing the great venue for this music.

I do want to put out an question to the attendees of the show. I had a small recording device (a Roland R-5) that was sitting above the tables on the post directly in front of the stage. It got jostled and landed on the table below. A girl sitting close by said that she saw someone with it. It didn't get turned in to the bar so it walked. If you have it or know where it might be I would appreciate getting it back. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Wish we could have attended this one. Love The Black Crabs. Sorry you lost your recorder, though. Bummer.


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