Saturday, March 16, 2013

Johnny Astro, Soul Senate and Dj Alpha Mullet at Darrells 3-15-13

Darrells presented a sweet bill tonight; two great bands combined for a fun night of lounging, surfing, and soul shaking.

Darrells is one of the best venues in town for live music. I am going to become the house mouthpiece if I don't watch it. I have gone there to hear live music for 6-8 weeks in a row. I have lost count. They book great bands, have a sweet sound tech/system and have a comfy vintage atmosphere.

Dan keeps clean a efficient bar. Here are some of the tools of the bartender.

They also have billiards.

DJ Alpha Mullet was spinning the discs tonight. He was performing as the third band. He opened with a killer set which included some of my favorite soul and r&b tunes. He played a great string of cool funk which included Soul Finger, Tighten Up and Shotgun. It got me up and out of my seat.

Here he is rocking the turntables.

I stood up close and watched him work/play. Catch up with him here:

Scott introduced me to Jeff, AKA DJ Alpha Mullet. A sweet guy, he put on a rocking show x3, playing sets between each band. He had an armful of vinyl and every body was digging it.

Here he is with Scott, the sound engineer at Darrells.

First up was Johnny Astro. I had yet to see them but they have played at Darrells before.
The describe themselves this way on Facebook: Johnny Astro is a surf/lounge band from Seattle, Washington formed in 1997 by guitarist Mark Bombara. Performing and recording instrumental surf, lounge, '60s spy and movie soundtrack music and originals.

The line-up for Johnny Astro is: guitarist, song writer and band leader Mark Bombara, drummer/percussionist Shane Peck, guitarist Mark Romanowski and bassist Noah Wilson.

They played an awesome set. These were talented musicians playing familiar tunes with some creative arrangements. I recognized so many but couldn't actually put a name on them. There was a tune from Henry Mancini-The Pink Panther, sweet guitars that took you back to the 60's.

Here is Mark slaying his beautiful 6 string. I tried to see the brand, I didn't recognize but I knew it was special.

The combo of that gorgeous guitar and the vintage Fender amp produced a dynamite classic sound.

His partner and co-lead guitar was playing a cool black and white Rickenbacker. Here is the other Mark blazing.

A very cool piece of musical art. The Ricky and the Marshall amp made for a sweet vintage sound.

Noah was having a gas on bass. I was thinking how much fun it would be to play bass in this band. It was not your usual fare. His fingers were skillfully laying the bottom for this talented group. I know that many a band depends on the bass to drive and keep them on the right track.

Here he is with Shane, the most excellent percussionist.

They had adapted a tune written for a bank ad in the 60's. It was a clever little diddy played in a cool vintage surf style. It got even better as it morphed into a reggae beat.

They added a sax for the second part of their set. Marty Jourard was a killer horn player, and added a whole new layer.

This was a awesome addition to an already great sound. He and the band were having fun. They did Tequila of course. But they introduced it as their favorite drink and someone chimed in, Chamomile Tea?

This was happy music. Everybody was digging the vintage groove. The sax player was having a gas.

I grew up with a lot of the music they played. As a child of the 50's, I was loving every minute of it.

The last tune was an incredible medley. A mash-up of 60's, 70's, 80's and even 90's popular tunes. They plucked musical excerpts from big hair, punk, psychedelic, hard rock, heavy metal and vintage latin pop.

I will not be able to mention every tune in this medley, it was phenomenal. They started with Herb Alpert and went through these bands/tunes as well as many others in a seamless and totally amazing way: Tears for Fear (Everybody wants to rule the world), Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Herb Alpert again, The Beatles (I want you so bad, killer), more Herb, by this time this returning tune was leading you to think they were on the way out, then they added some Black Sabbath, Arrowsmith, more 60's, more herb...Oy! What a gas!

Thanks to Johnny Astro for putting on such a great show. You can connect with them here:

I documented the life and death of a popular adult beverage. Damien, could I have a pitcher of Men's Room?

Why does cold beer make you so warm inside?

Cathy Sorbo, one of my favorite comediennes was there celebrating an anniversary. I am sorry I can't give her lovers name, they were a cute couple. You can see Cathy's totally outrageous humor here.

 I think I have described her as a raunchy mother., she is very funny.

Soul Senate was up next. I had seen them in an abbreviated version some time back. They performed an all instrumental set at Darrells in January. They performed as Shady Bottom on a great funk/soul bill. It was also a fun party, I wrote about it here:

They came out with just the core bottom of the band.

They added the horns after a tune.

 I love this small but talented horn section.

Once they warmed the crowd up, they added the marvelous vocals.

I have had the CD for some time and listen to it regularly. I knew what to expect and they didn't disappoint me. Here is how they describe themselves: Soul Senate is an 8-piece, high-energy, adrenaline-inducing, audience-oriented, original soul/funk party powerhouse.

Here is the line-up according the their Facebook page: Felicia Loud - vocals, Mickey Postal - vocals, Garrett Smith - guitar, Ed Vance - B3 Organ, Bucket - bass, FunkDoc Reading - drums, Moose Barber - trumpet and Tracy Ferrara - tenor sax. I cannot guarantee the accuracy, There was only one vocalist this evening.

I am going to venture that this is Felicia performing vocals. She had a gorgeous voice and really knew how to sing the soul. I loved her performing Hammer Your Foot To The Floor.

Felicia had a marvelous and mysterious style. Covered head to foot and topped by a fedora, she barely showed her face. She did a great version of Keep On Walking Away.

Did I mention I love the horns? Here is Moose, the trumpet player and band leader.

Here he and Tracy are blowing the horns.

Tracy has great mastery over her instrument. She plays the sax with skill and a passion that is fun to witness.

Even Moose is grooving on her sweet soul.

FunkDoc was having fun in back. I watched him set-up. He put his set in place, sat down, and boom was off and rocking. Never touched it before the band started playing. I love a man with confidence.

Bucket was laying the bottom with his sweet bass line.

Garrett was playing a superb lead guitar. Here he is with Ed trading solos.

Ed played the awesome B3, I stood right up close and watched his magic fingers.

Soul Senate had the peeps up and dancing. It was hard to keep your butt in the seat while they were on stage. They played Get On My Good Side, killer Funk.

You can connect with Soul Senate here, buy their CD. It is soul for the soul. see their site here:

Thanks to Darrells Tavern for providing quality entertainment in a awesome atmosphere. You can see them here:

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