Sunday, December 8, 2013

Aloha Baby! Cathie's Surf Spectacular featuring Aloha Screwdriver, The TomorrorwMen, Frankie and the Pool Boys, The 'Verb, and The Evanstones at Darrells Tavern 12-6-13

I have to open with this photo. Here is my wife being serenaded Flash-Mob style by her employees.

They wrote their own song (with Sweet Caroline as the base tune) and choreographed dance especially for her tonight. Sweet Cathie Rea, was the chorus, it was funny, entertaining and touching. I cried like a baby.

Thanks to her employees and friends for such a heartwarming salute to Cathie. I am well aware of how special she is, she has been my partner, lover and best friend for 42+ years. I am so happy others recognize her for her incredible talent, caring guidance and loving personality.

This evening was a celebration of Cathie's tenure at Children's Hospital. While not officially retiring, she is leaving her high-stress, 24/7, on-call, mother, dictator, partner position she developed and customized for over 20 years.

There was only one place to have the party; Darrells tavern, the best venue in town for live music. They are my friends and even as I knew that the place would be uncomfortably packed, I would not have even thought of another place to have this great party.

Here is our most wonderful host and my friend, Dan Dyckman.

Dan is happy as his bar was filled with happy, fun, well behaved, adult-beverage drinking people. So full that he was about 15 folks away from locking the door. So full that he had his largest door/cover take ever! And he doesn't keep a cent. He distributes all that money to the bands. He is as cool as they come. Thank you Dan and Darrells for presenting a wonderful venue for live music, one where the talent and the guests are equally pleased.

Here is the place at the height of the madness. It took you a half an hour to go from the door to the bathroom.

I put this little shindig together and there were many happy accidents along the way.

I wouldn't throw this kind of party without one of two bands. Aloha Screwdriver or my favorite country band The 1Uppers. Since my wife was saying goodby to a great gig, we decided on Aloha Baby! It screamed surf.

Here is my friend and most excellent DJ Leon Berman riding The Rock Box 4.0.

Leon is the most revered and beloved host of Shake The Shake on KEXP 90.3 FM in Seattle. He is in his 27th year at playing the best of Rock and Roll, Rockabilly, Rhythm and Blues, Primitive Rock, and Surf. He has a worldwide audience and tonight he was going to play all surf in commemoration of this event.

He invited our headline act to play live in the studio. Here is Leon's friend Donald from Aloha Screwdriver getting ready to play live.

Aloha Screwdriver is Donald Bell on lead guitar, Grant Shellen on bass and Steve Slater on percussion. I was lucky enough to be their sponsor, chauffeur and minion this evening. I picked them up at their hotel and took them to the studio. That and being a bud of Leon's gave me a special access.

Here is Leon and the band in the studio.

KEXP had the red carpet rolled out. There were greeters, "hospitality people", engineers, videographers,  photographers and groupies (me), all over them. It was cool to see the station take a great interest and care with this surf band. It is, of course their great love of alternative music and the influence of the doctor; Leon Berman.

They played a scorching set, the KEXP world class recording studio broadcast it live. Kevin was our engineer.

I was most fortunate to be the fly on the wall. There are certain perks to sponsorship, I took advantage of it.

This was a great experience.

I was lucky enough to be able to shoot over the shoulder of the pro-photographer that volunteers for KEXP. I asked his name and forgot it immediately. I hope to get it here soon.

Here is Grant getting ready for his close-up. They are in the women's bathroom at the station.

I got to hang out with Leon and cousin Mike in the studio.

I caught a look at Steve's style while he changed clothes.

Once we were done at the studio, we headed to the venue. I set up the art I had created for the bands and hosts. Sean Berry from Double Crown Records set up his merchandise. He is legend in the surf music industry and we were fortunate to have him come down from B-Ham. Two of the bands tonight are on his label.

I did have Ferenc and his wife Karen picked up at the airtport by Continental Car Service, they were very cool and even made a sign with my choice of greeting.

We were lucky to have The 'Verb join the show. They have opened for bands such as The Surf Coasters and Satan's Pilgrims. These are heavy hitting surf bands so The 'Verb had to be great. They had taken a few years off and they were back playing again. They also provided the killer gear. Matching Gold Fender amps, reverb units and speakers, a sweet Vox keyboard and the drum set, an absolutely beautiful sight.

Thanks to Jacob and The "Verb for providing great entertainment and righteous vintage gear.

First up was Seattle's own The Evanstones. A relatively new band that plays traditional surf. I had seen them a couple weeks before and knew they had the bones of a great sound. In the two weeks hence, they improved markedly. The played a great set that had the packed house up and dancing.

Here is Hal doing his thing.

The Evanstones are (from their Facebook page) : -Quentin "Quisp" Evans - Guitarzooky, -BB Barney "Rumble" Evans - Skins, -A-Frame Evans- Big cable, 4 string Guitar, -Niles Coltrane Evans - Guitar thirty.

The Evanstones for real are: Hal Columbo on lead guitar, Colin Nelson on Drums, Brian Christianson on rhythm/lead guitar and Ian Brewer on bass. You can connect with them here:

Thanks to them for a killer set. I will look forward to seeing them again. They improved since the last time I saw them, you can read that post here:

The Flash-Mob happened right after the Evanstones left the stage. It was as I said before, wonderful.

The place was so full that I could barely get to a place to take a decent picture. The 'Verb was on next and I spent a lifetime trying to work my big butt close enough to document their set.

The 'Verb is: Eric Cranfield, Jacob Dobner, Jason Aumann, Matthew Beck, and Michael Ball. They absolutely shredded from the first note, Eric was an amazing guitarist.

Jake was a great guitarist also. He and Eric made a powerful duo.

Eric also played trumpet, an amazing addition to this trad surf sound.

Matt played with skill and passion. Turned out he worked at Children's Hospital and he had friends in the audience from there.

The keyboard player also played guitar, a freaking beautiful vintage Vox keyboard and a stunning vintage Fender Jaguar.

They played an amazing set of manic shredding, driving beat and great instrumental music. They had the whole place shaking.

See this amazing group here. They are playing more locally. I will not miss it.

I bought their CD. It is super fresh and a sweet trad sound.

Thanks to The 'Verb for joining the party.

The place had gotten a little less crowded as some of Cathie's buddies were filtering out. Next up was one of the best surf bands in the world; Frankie and the Pool Boys are a premier group of stellar musicians. They have two very popular CD's and are known globally as a fun and innovative band.

I was amazed that they would consent to play our little party. I was in heaven the whole set. As you see they dressed like they are in the land of sun and surf. They were fantastic.

Here is The Doctor, Len Berman introducing his friends from the Bay area.

Frankie and the Pool Boys are: Ferenc Dobronyi - Guitar, Danny Snyder - Guitar, Tony Bald - Drums, Karen Dobronyi - Keyboards, Abraham Aguilar-Bass.

I fell in love with these guys years ago, that they were here playing live was like a dream. I had a huge smile on my face the whole set.

Karen played the Vox and the Nord keys tonight. I stood up close and watched, she is a stellar musician with magic fingers.

This is an amazing act. Ferenc and the band just released their brilliant concept/themed CD, The Adventures of Cap'n Coconuts. It is based on a fictional cartoon character (a chimp) from the late sixties. I fell in love with it and have listened to it once a day for months.

They opened with the theme song and worked their way through most of the disc. My favorites were Skinny Dippin', Ripley in Love, and Organic Matters (which features Karen on the keys).

Ferenc is the titular head of the band. He plays amazing guitar and wrote many of the songs, produced and recorded all the tunes on the album. He is a genius.

Here he is dressed as Gilligan for the Pool Boys great act.

This is a sweet collection of talent. Ferenc tends to draw great musicians to him. Here is Abraham laying the bottom for the band.

Tony was in back killing the skins.

Frerenc and Danny trade lead guitars. The are an amazing duo.

I could have listened to this original surf band rock all night.

The crowd was going nuts and just when I thought it wasn't going to get any better, The TomorrowMen mounted up.

You may recognize Danny from the previous band. But when his transformation is complete, he has moved to 3000 A.D. He looks intergalactic and is playing interstellar.

I have their CD and have worn it out, listening many times as I sat on my fishing boat, or traveling to the lake. They are a phenomenal band. Danny is the leader of this band. Danny and Ferenc play in both bands, each puts his own brand on their respective collections.

It's About Time is an incredible CD. I urge you to buy it here:

Many members of the surf genre are as much into theater as they are into music. The TomorrowMen have great outfits.

The TomorrowMen are : Danny Snyder leader and lead guitar, Ferenc Dobronyi on lead guitar (yes there are two), Treyf Bacon III and Laika Bald. Mad men all.

Right away they laid down the most marvelous future themed surf. The peeps responded in a big way. This was one of the best acts of the night.

They made me crazy, I never thought that I would get to see, much less sponsor, this great group of artists.

The crowd was still going nuts, The TomorrowMen were burning the place down.

This was as much fun as you can have. I was dancing and grinning the whole time.

Thank you to The TomorrowMen for the killer set. Thank you Danny and the band for the happy music.

How could you top this...two words: Aloha Screwdriver.

I am privileged to call them my friends. I started out as what has been called a super fan, and through constant cajoling and pestering quickly became a trusted bud.  As I said before, unless Aloha Screwdriver is playing, it is not a party for me.

Here is Grant cutting loose from the pack.

Steve is another one that cannot keep in his seat.

Oh, and here is Donald playing his swept wing guitar.

I love these guys; killer surf of many genres, fantastic theater and genuinely sweet fellows. I was so happy they accepted my invitation to this event. It was a pleasure to sponsor their visit.

Oh, did I fail to tell you that they also use the Rock Box 4.0 in the live show? They don't just use it on radio shows where it can't be appreciated, they also use in their live shows.

Grant is normally a quite, shy, retiring, soft spoken fellow. But put a bass in his hand and he turns into this:

They have released their second album this year, it a most amazing collection of horror surf, Russian influenced, trad, butt kicking and head banging instrumental music. Appropriately named, The Haunted Planet is stellar, unique and innovative. Please support this band and purchase their most excellent CD here:

This is the most active band I have seen since I saw The Suburban Lawn (punk band) fly off the stage at The Whiskey in the early 80's. They are captivating.

Wicked entertainment from one of the best in the business.

I have seen and reviewed the several times, you can see my last review here:

I knew that they would come armed; this is a dangerous band. If they don't blow you away sonically, they will blast you to smithereens.

Steve started the attack with a bold move, we barely had time to arm ourselves.

I had purchased a Star-Ship's worth of Interstellar, Blinky, Laser Pointed Ray Guns from a trusted weapons merchant. I passed them around to make sure we had a way to repel the invaders.

Thank Zod we had protection.

This was a total sensory experience, Aloha Screwdriver delivers a dynamite performance. It was one-thirty and they were still up to this:

Freaking killer show.

Steve is one master percussionist, but that doesn't stop him from being a crazy-ass player in the best performance art on the planet, The Haunted Planet!

I would eat a bug to see these guys play live again.

Thank you to all the bands for playing this show, I can't express my joy at the sight of you folks on-stage.  It was a dream come tru.

Thanks to Dan and the most excellent staff at Darrells Tavern, the best venue for live music in Seattle. See them here:

Thanks to Scott, my friend and maestro who was pivotal in this production.

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