Sunday, December 7, 2014

Zombie Transplant Surf Party at Darrells 12-6-14

My wife and I decided to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary in a whacky and bizarre way. Cathie had just accepted a new position as Director of Solid Organ Transplants at Children's Hospital. We also had a friend who worked on the set of Zombie Nation, the TV series on Sci-Fi channel. The Zombie Transplant Surf Party was born.

Here are some of our selected guests.

I had been trying to get a couple of these bands to play this year for quite a while. I always ask The 'Verb to play, and will til my dying day. I started pinging them the day after they played our last anniversary party.

See that post here:

The 'Verb are an amazing group of guys. They produce one of the tightest, most original and entertaining instrumental sounds in the Northwest.

I knew that one of my favorite musicians had formed a new instrumental group. He was playing lead guitar as opposed to the bass guitar I was used to seeing him play. Once I got a listen, I had to have Audios Amigos play this show. They were the first to accept my invite.

The Boss Martians were another band that I really wanted to have in the house. This legendary punk/surf/rock band had been on my radar for many years. I had sent Evan emails several times over the last year. We finally connected and the stars aligned for this show.

The Evanstones had played the event last year, and we had to have them back. They are coming off a very successful year after producing a new disc that is being played globally.

We teamed up with LifeCenter Northwest to raise awareness and collect brains for the Organ Donation cause. Forms were available at the front door and you got 2 bucks off if you were an organ donor. We also partnered with Shake The Shack (90.3 KEXP Fri. 6pm-9pm) and Double Crown Records to help promote The Surf cause, one close to our hearts.

See LifeCenter Northwest here:

Love Shake The Shack here:

Sean brought some great music, tons of new and vintage CD's and 45's.

Buy great instrumental music here:

We also invited the Bing of Fire food truck to serve yummy goods. They ended up being so popular they sold out of all their spicy wraps. See them here:

And our professional make up artist was Meagan Moore of Mystique Masquerade. See her here: and here: Oh, and here is her email: She did a tremendous job of transforming many of our guests from normal folks to scary zombies, (the made up zombie is on the right).

Here is Meagan at work, it truly turned into Performance Art. Every one was watching Meagan have her fun.

The location was the only place I would have this type of party. This is my front room, Cathie and I feel like family here. Darrells Tavern is "the place your dad used to drink". Dan the owner and Scott the booking and sound-tech are two of the most excellent folks I know. They allow us to have this kind of fun whenever I want. Thanks to Darrells for providing such a warm and welcoming place. Last night was packed, but it always felt comfortable.

Here is Darrells on Facebook:

Here is Scott taking my picture:

Here is the killer vintage bar at Darrells all decorated for the holidays:

The Verb was up first, they played an inspired set that had the crowd up close and grooving from the first note.

The 'Verb is a legendary Seattle band that was actually celebrating their 10th anniversary tonight, to the day. They absolutely killed it tonight, the dance floor was moving up and down, and the crowd shouted for more with every song.

The 'Verb is Eric Cranfield, Jacob Dobner, Jason Aumann, Matthew Beck, and Michael Ball.

They played a dynamite set that put a smile on every zombie's lips. I knew what to expect...I was happy to see others loving one of the finest local talents in Seattle. The crowd prevented them from leaving the stage until they played an encore song. The 'Verb is brilliant.

Jacob is my connection with the band. He and I emailed for months to get this to happen. Thanks Jake (in the middle).

Connect with Jake, Eric, Michael, Jason and Matthew here:

The Zombies were being created and they were menacing the innocents.

Meagan had a lot of help as she performed her magic. She was assisted by: Talitha Vanzo Moulton. She also hired some great actors to play zombies. We plied them with massive amounts of alcohol to help them get in character. They were a lot of fun and really created a special atmosphere: Charles Jerrold Ulysses Farley-Actor, Victoria Schmitt-Actor, and Colin Briggs-Actor.

We also had a slide show presented by Zombie Nation.  These were some out-takes from the actual sets shot in Spokane.

Audios Amigos came on next and they blew everybody's mind. Sporting 3-six string guitars (one a baritone) and percussion, they brought a western influence instro sound that is all theirs. Dan Lowinger plays lead and he was amazing.

 I have all their music and watched all the YouTube vids I could but it didn't prepare me for the live version. Their set was amazing.

My friends turned to me with mouth agape, who was this again? My buddy Eric walked up to me and said that not only was he hearing it, he was feeling it in his chest. This was a great set of original music.

So many guitars, the sound was amazing.

Audios Amigos is Dan Lowinger (Twang and pick), JT Halmfilst (Twang, and baritone twang), Eric Baldoni (Boom), Andrew "Sonny Bacon" Simard (snap crackle pop). Audios Amigos is an instrumental muscle car filled with guitars and hot sauce.

The zombies moaned and groaned for another song, they played one of my faves off their first disc. Another amazing set and we were only half way.

The TopCat Dancers were up next. I didn't get many still shots as I was taking a video (that was a bust) but here is a link to Cathie's video;

 They danced to Ghost Town by the Specials. They were fun and entertaining. Doing an original dance, they had the crowd howling.

Here is Beth testing out her best zombie look.

They later got together with some of the other zombies for a gross off.

The crowd roared with appreciation. The TopCat Dancers were a hit. The crowd now started getting thick in anticipation of tonight's headliner.

Meagan was cranking the Zombies out, the odor of death was hanging over the whole place.

Luckily the adult beverages were a good antidote. Here is Anjie serving some sacrament.

The Boss Martians are one of the most revered Northwest instro bands of all time. They describe themselves as; Surf / Frat Rock / Garage Rock / Power Pop. I would add punk. They have a monster sound, Evan Douglas Foster on lead guitar and vocals, Erik Foster on bass and vocals, Nick Schultz on Drums.

 Evan is a monster of the guitar. As he shreds the strings, he is constantly in motion. He never looks at his guitar, instead looking at the crowd; mugging, smiling and occasionally giving out a yell or two. He has a perfect presence, interacting with the zombies and giving us all the thrill of our collective lives.

I am not sure if I have ever seen such a guitar talent live, he was amazing. The whole band was tight and jamming.He insisted that the zombies dance, and they did.

Nick was another consummate musician. Playing perfect and sometimes frenetic percussion, he was another amazing talent.

Erik laid the bottom for the band, it was the perfect trifecta.

Together these guys made a sound that was unlike any I have heard live. Frat rock, surf, and a lot of just plain rock and roll was their agenda. They were absolutely earth shaking.

The Martians didn't just stick to an instrumental set; there was a lot of vocals. Their first vocal tune was Hello Mary Lou. It had everybody up and singing. Evan has a great voice.

Evan had alluded to the appearance of a special guest, but until the crowd heard that iconic voice, they had no idea what they were in for. Just as the zombies were foaming at the mouth, Freddie Dennis, lead singer for the more than legendary Sonics, mounted the stage.

Anybody familiar with The Sonics knows that high-pitched, raspy but beautiful voice. His screams are the stuff of legends and here he was, at my anniversary party, rocking like it was '62. I almost pissed my pants. And I wasn't alone. Every eye in the place was locked on Freddie.

I had chills and chicken skin and the smile on my face started to hurt. Freddie took a break and Evan and the boys drove on, driving us all into zombie paradise.

They brought on a trumpet for one of the last tunes of their set. David buzzed his lips beautifully and another amazing musician was making killer music on our stage.

This amazing show was topped off by the return of Freddie who used those golden pipes to send shivers up the spine of the deadest of the zombies.

My god this was amazing. Evan is a monster on the guitar. Erik and Nick were phenomenal.
Thank you so much to the boys and your guests David and Freddie for putting on an awesome set.

I talked to so many surf fans and it was satisfying to see the genre getting a little attention. Here is Tien wearing an Aloha Screwdriver T-shirt. He is a huge surf fan and I see him at all my shows. We are scheming on next years show.

Incredibly, there was still great music to be had. The Evanstones came on about 1 and blazed a whole new path in surf instrumental.  There was still a healthy crowd waiting for them, and they didn't disappoint.

Hal had his zombie look on as he took the stage;,he has magic fingers.

The Evanstones are Hal Columbo on lead guitar, Colin Nelson on Drums, Brian Christianson on rhythm/lead guitar and Ian Brewer on bass.

They played some great spy-surf that had the crowd moving and dancing. I was surprised that the size of the crowd was still pretty good. Hal and his boys were bringing the great surf.

They were still cranking when I slithered out at 1:30. Thanks to Hal and his mates for bringing the major mojo to what could have been a poor spot on the bill. Who would want to follow the Boss Martians? The Evanstones had no problem with it.

Thanks to Dan and Scott at Darrells Tavern for making this all possible. Thanks to Anita, Jenna, Damien and Anjie for taking such good care of our guests.

Thank you to my wonderful wife Cathie, to whom I owe everything. It is amazing that she has put up with my crap for over 3 decades. I went way over budget on this one, and she still loves me. This was one of the best parties we have ever had. That is all that mattered to her.

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