Saturday, April 6, 2013

Surf vs Rockabilly at Darrells, Los Caminos, Little Ray and the Upppercuts and Six Gun Romeo

I am sorry you were not able to see this show dear reader. I can almost guarantee you didn't get the chance to see one of the hottest shows of the season. No one did. The place was empty.

What a shame as we had one of my favorite visitors from our neighbors to the north. I will not be able to put into words the awesome music and the fun that was had by the few, but here it goes.

This was a test of Surf vs Rockabilly. The gig was at Darrells Tavern in Shoreline WA. One of the best venues in town for live music. The ambiance is great too. Vintage beer signs and young people, a good mix.

Darrells has a comfy atmosphere with a great staff. See Darrells here:

The test was on, the bands were booked and the time was now. I looked forward to this night. I have had a propensity to surf (in my mind) lately. But I also have a rockabilly soul. So it was going to be mind vs emotion. I will try to be impartial.

Love is great. I have deep feelings for several musical collections. One of my current loves is a Binity. You have heard of a Trinity, yes? I am most familiar with it in relation to the Christian faith; three Gods in one. Good luck with that.

The Binity I refer to is the Jekyll and Hyde band combo of Los Caminos and Six Gun Romeo. Only there isn't a nice clean side to this duo, they are both bad (read good). The same members of Los Caminos are also in Six Gun Romeo plus one. And what a one that is. Junior is bigger than life and twice as entertaining. I will get to the particulars on his largeness later.

Here they are as Los Caminos.

Here is Six Gun Romeo.

My love story started an October evening in this very location. On Friday the 19th in 2012 I fell for this bunch of fellows as a surf band. The next night I fell in love again when they returned as a rockabilly band. I bought all their music and slobbered all over them in two posts. You can read about them here: and here:;postID=8323607153200537813

So here is how they repaid my love for them. I had pined for their iconic logo patch. They all had them on their shirts. I whined that I wanted one since last year. This visit they brought me one. Understand, they only had 5 made and they weren't cheap. Here is Mike and Craig displaying my gift.

When they gave it to me, I clasped it to my chest and quickly took it to my car lest it be spattered with beer. I will add the beer after I apply it to a jacket. Thanks to my generous friends from up north.

Here is the coveted item at home, under guard and away from the dog's sloppy lips.

Here is the drum set with the practical application of the logo, cool huh. Oh, and there is Craig killing the skins in back.

Los Caminos came on with their usual energy. Rocking the surf with an awesome original style, the boys got into it right away. Los Caminos is Mike Moy on rhythm guitar, Craig Wardle on Drums,  Shaky Shaw on lead guitar and Dr. Tom Riordan on bass.

Here is their description on Facebook: Los Caminos is an instrumental surf rock band based out of Vancouver, BC, CANADA. The band is heavily influenced by the likes of Link Wray, Dick Dale, The Ventures, Herb Alpert, Ennio Morricone and many others. Los Caminos' music is a heavier more modern version of the great bands of the 50's and 60's with their own style thrown in. 

Connect with them on Facebook here:

These are some fun and talented musicians. I found myself with a big smile on my face. Happy music tonight. They play some twang, some spaghetti western and some wave crashing surf. All without messy vocals.

Here is Craig mashing the drums in his usual frenetic fashion. A very sweet fellow, you can tell just by looking at the pics. He is having big fun.

At the end of every set he has a habit of standing up and tossing his sticks to the sky. I missed it this time (times two) but it is evidence that he is a great entertainer and really fun to watch.

They play some complicated arrangements of classic surf music. They add a sweet original flare. With changing tempos and volumes, their music has a way of reaching out and grabbing you. I was bopping my head and the movement continued down my frame to my toes. Pretty soon I was up and watching up close.

Here is Shaky rocking his beautiful Gibson.

Mike is a talented artist and a super nice guy. He is an all around great musician rocking both surf and rockabilly tonight.

Shaky and Mike had similar guitars and cool vintage amps. Shaky's Bigsby Vibrato set-up was a little different than Mikes and they had slight layout and color differences. Maybe more differences than meet my eye. Gorgeous instruments none the less.

Here is Mike's set-up.

Here is Shaky's gear.

Tom was calmly slaying the bass for this bundle of energy. He is fairly stoic as he provides the killer bottom for the band. He has some cool gear too. Check out the tiny little makes big sound though.

Here is the good Doc plying his other trade.

The band was cranking out the killer surf. Each tune had a flavor of its own. All feature Shaky's awesome chops on the 6 string. What a great guitarist. To be able to stand up close and watch him work was fantastic. Again, I had a huge smile on my face.

Craig was wailing on the drums, his distinctive flourishes and manic beat driving the band.

I recognized many a tune from the 3 CD's I own and love. I loved their rendition of the theme from the Good, Bad and Ugly. It was one of the Clint Spaghetti Westerns, great adaptation.

You can get some of their music at Double Crown Records, one of the best sources for surf music.

A hugely entertaining set that was over way too soon. The good news is that they would be back in their evil twin form. I will always go out of my way to see this skilled and talented band.

They have a lot of positive energy, fun, feel-good music at it's best.

I caught a lot of great shots of the band, too many to post. I think it shows that I love these guys; my kind of people, my kind of music.

While I was going to miss Los Caminos, Little Ray was waiting in the wings. I hadn't seen him in quite a while and was looking forward to seeing him and his mates.

One more of Los Caminos.

Little Ray and The Uppercuts have been around in one form or another for years. The current formation is as close to perfect as I have seen. Ray is a great performer and his band is talented and rocking.

I think I have the correct line-up. I looked on their site and even though a few guys are playing different instruments in the pics, I believe this roster is correct: Little Ray Esparza on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Adam Bratman on lead guitar and vocals, Kelly Ryan on stand-up bass and Todd Gray on Drums.

They came out with a bang playing rockabilly, blues and rock with a passion and super skill. Adam was absolutely amazing on lead guitar. His solos bringing out hoots from the fans.

He had a bunch of tricks up his sleeve. He played long solos with his guitar behind his head.

He played the guitar, without missing a beat with his teeth.

This was really great entertainment and even better music. Ray has a great style and plays sweet renditions of classic rockabilly tunes. He has a powerful voice and an awesome stage presence. He may be little but he is huge on stage.

Kelly was thumping the bass, laying the bottom for this fun band. He also sang vocals. He had a cool, all-white stand-up bass. The band was playing some cool tunes which featured Kelly's talent. I loved the slow moving blues tunes they were oozing out during their hour long set.

Todd was in back playing stellar percussion. I hardly ever get decent shots in the hole at Darrells. The drummer always looks better in the pics from farther away. Here is one of Todd from above.

These guys were a ton of fun, each song met with big hoots and hollers from the sparse crowd. Little Ray and the boys knew how to bring the rock to the people.

Again, not to beat a dead horse but Adam was amazing. He was a fantastic guitarist. He and Ray combined for some screaming guitar work.

They played the classic rockabilly tune Tear It Up and did just that, the place was rocking. Killer vocals, great guitar and beating drums delivered with a truck load of energy.

Little Ray and his band did not disappoint. They were as good as ever. They played a variety of tunes displaying their whole range of talents. I dug the groove of some of the unique twang tunes they were playing.

Connect with Little Ray and The Uppercuts here on their site:

This was turning out to be an outstanding night of music. Both bands had been super fun and featured some wonderful musicians. There was even more good news on the horizon. More dynamite music was up next. Ray played a long set and the next band would not be on before midnight.

I took a break and got to see Junior of Six Gun Romeo outside, he has real style. One of the great things about writing the blog is that I get to meet some passionate, talented and sweet people. This is one of those peeps. Junior is all those things.

Having seen this band before, I was really looking forward to Junior's performance. He is as animated as any artist I have ever seen. He stutters, jumps, quick-steps, hops and generally is all over the stage all the time. I didn't see him Moon-walk but that doesn't mean he didn't do it.

Six Gun Romeo is Los Caminos plus the ever-moving Junior. Shaky is on lead, Mike is playing rhythm, Craig is playing drums and Tom is on bass. A great night of music just got better.

Junior has a marvelous voice and is a superb entertainer. He is also an extra large helping of manhood. He is 6'-5", big and muscular. You can't take your eyes off him as he uses all the tools in his arsenal to get you up and moving.

Six Gun Romeo opened like a house on fire, blowing my hair back from note one. They play all original rockabilly, written and arranged by the band. They played one of my favorite tunes, One, Two, Three is a jumping, thumping tune. In the hands of these pros, it was a gusher.

These are the nicest guys. Excuse me, Junior had corrected a myth that is common in the states. We can be pretty thick and always rush to judgement. That is not necessarily only an American trait. But it is a common mistake according to Junior. Canadians are not nice, they are just conservative.

Conservative in some ways, just plain whacky in others. Damn Junior was fun to watch. He was glistening with sweat. He was going to slide off the stage if he didn't watch it.

Here is a description on their Facebook page: Six Gun Romeo is a melting pot of riffs, beats, runs and melodies taking many different styles of music as their influences. The band's sole aim is to get you off your butt and throwing some shapes on the dance floor.

Connect with them here:

You could tell they were having fun. They do this with great passion and style. They all had matching shirts. The one with that killer patch. I will soon be showing the colors myself.

The sparse crowd had not really thinned. It was close to 1 and everybody was still rocking. Little Ray, his band and partners were up and dancing. I was out there with Jenna, one of the wonderful staff at Darrells. I don't dance much so she was a good sport to grab me to dance.

A truly amazing set, they are such great performers. I am a little biased here but I have had their music for a long time. I have listened to it all, a lot. The live performance was magic for this fan. You can hear and see so much more in an intimate setting like this. I liked what I saw.

I was in their face the whole set. Yes, I am that guy. Sigh. Look at the next set of could I resist? Junior cast his spell and I just obeyed.

This was so much fun and we just lost track of time. It was past 1 and they just kept rocking. I was helping them record the show. I am not sure how much I helped. The dancers kept kicking the tri-pod and it was crooked for the longest time. I am not the best AV guy.

Thanks so much to the men from B.C. for coming down to the states for this performance. Stout men all! They are hard drinking, hard rocking, cream puffs. Each one a sweet treat in a compelling package. I see a lot of shows. I have my preferences. All my buttons were pushed tonight.

Six Gun Romeo is going to release a new CD soon. Or is that Los Caminos? Mike told me they were coming out with a new CD but I forgot what shirt he was wearing. It doesn't matter, I will buy/love whatever they produce.

You can hear some of their music here:

I am partial to surf so in this contest of surf vs rockabilly I will have to say that surf just edged out rockabilly. No, I mean, the rockabilly was the best, I loved Little Ray. Let's call it a toss up. Apples and oranges. It was a great show. I am sorry you missed it.

1 comment:

  1. Carmen,
    I found your site looking for info on Stafford And The Bentz Bros. I really enjoyed your reviews and photos. Your blog is similar to what I do at the Mtheads message board. I like the roots, rockabilly and folk-rock bands too. Some we've both written about, like Knute Bell, Annie Ford (with Slim Pickins), Parsons Tribute, Low Land High, Swearengens, etc.. The Mtheads board was originally sponsored by KMTT FM, and was very busy. I'm about the only one that posts anymore, but get alot of views, mostly about live music around Seattle and north. The "Highway 99" thread has a lot of my local reports. Check it out and join up and make some comments.
    Mtheads site:

    My photos site:

    Jiff (Jeff McCalib)


No comments until the next post.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.