Monday, November 9, 2015

Santa's Surf Spectacular at Darrells Tavern 12-5-15 with Aloha Screwdriver, The 'Verb, Banzai Surf, Djake Noose, The Klipspringer Dance Troupe and Elvis Santa

Live music is a treat that is essential to my soul. This evening we were treated to some of the best live surf music on the west coast. This was another installment of our anniversary party. Cathie and I figure that instead of giving each other tangible gifts, we would give each other music. And why not invite a few of our closest friends?

Here we are digging the tunes.

Every year on or about December 4th, we work with Darrells Tavern to produce a great party. We always pick a theme and add both art and dance to the music mix. You can see some of the other shows here:, and here:

This year we asked Aloha Screwdriver to headline. Here is Steve Slater, drummer extraordinaire of Aloha Screwdriver.

We also asked The 'Verb to come for the third year in a row. They are an incredible group of gentlemen and they will always be on my short list for bands.

Banzai Surf is a group that has been playing and pleasing for years. We were so pleased to have them participate this year.

We were also fortunate enough to snag a friend and most celebrated Host, DJ, and music nerd; Djake Noose. He spun the most excellent surf music all night.

For the third year in a row we were blessed with  the most talented pair of dancers. This year, dancing as The Klipspringer Dance Troupe, Beth and Maggie were creative, original and really fun.

What would a holiday celebration be that didn't include Santa. Here is my friend Tien as Elvis Santa.

We always have this shindig at Darrells Tavern in North Seattle. They have a killer vibe (dive bar), great staff, cool ownership and a superb sound system and tech. Here is Scott (right), maestro of the sound talking with Donald Bell of Aloha Screwdriver.

The bar is my front room away from home. Damien, mixologist magician, made me one of his concoctions; it was delicious. Here he and Marjie are working.

DJake Noose is a buddy from my last gig at an unnamed corporate megagiant. He is a sweet man with a deep knowledge of surf, psychotronic and other music genres.

He hosts Zorch Radio every Thursday night at Real Punk Radio. You can find his extensive blog and show here: 
He is also available to DJ or host your party.

He was spinning discs that I had never heard. He really did his homework, pulling tunes from all over the globe for a sound that made everybody rock. His announcing style and persona is very cool and we were really happy to have him here tonight.

Up first was Banzai Surf, a Seattle institution. 3 very talented fellows who have a great presence and put on a killer show. They always start with a super cool video production that features some of the 50's genre space, exploitation, horror and monster movies.

One of the reasons I love the surf genre is that there is always good theater. Banzai Surf brings the sounds and the sights. Here is Joe Jabon, lead guitar and main commentator for the band.

Joe is also sound tech at The Shanty Tavern where they host great live music. You can connect with the Shanty here:

Joe Alexander plays the bass with the moon eyes. He was in his most excellent uniform tonight.

John Mooney is one of the strongest and most skilled drummers I know. It was so great to see him live again.

The sum-total is The Banzai Surf experience. Classic and traditional surf played with original arrangements and interpretations. Connect with them here:

They have a lot of fun and really know how to hit all our buttons.

The Klipspringer Dance Troupe was up next. They are an amateur dance team that does fun interpretive dance to canned music. They always come up with something original and entertaining. This year they were Toy Soldiers.

The first part of the dance was performed to "Come and Save Me" by Jagwar Ma.

The second part of the dance transitioned to "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys. Very clever and really fun.

We had a lot of great friends show up to help us celebrate. Thanks to all who came! Here is Cathy Sorbo, local comedienne, mom and walking party.

Next up was The 'Verb, what many in the house considered the top act. They are local musicians that have made surf music that has been celebrated globally. We have been lucky enough to convince them to play this event for the last 3 years.

The place was packed, right down to the stage. It was tough to get a good shot of this great band.

This was a sort of soft-release of their new album: Only Verb Can Break Your Heart. The album is a long time coming. They have a sound all their own that is awesome. You can buy the download here:

They were founded in 2003 and are the youngest old timers in the business. The 'Verb is
Eric Cranfield, Jacob Dobner, Jason Aumann, Matthew Beck, and Michael Ball.

They provided the equipment for the bands tonight. The vintage Fender amps, reverb units and speaker combinations would make any surf musician cry like a baby.

Here is Jacob playing a gorgeous guitar.

Eric plays the guitar and trumpet. I can barely tap my feet to a beat.

The 'Verb has an absolute wall of sound. They have 3 guitars that have huge presence with the bass and percussion leading the charge. You can hear their records and love, but you have to see them live to appreciate the genius of The 'Verb.

Funny, a couple times they seemed surprised by the crowds over the top reaction. They shouldn't have been. This band has that special something.

Connect with The 'Verb here:

God I love this band.

Thanks to The 'Verb for playing our show again. You are part of the family now.

Djake was killing the tunes,  he knew just what we wanted to hear. Much of it was new to me.

Aloha Screwdriver was on next. We hadn't seen our favorite band in way too long, we were looking forward to this. Cathie and I have had these sweet guys in our house for dinner. I consider them friends. We import them for this show on a annual basis.

Here is Grant and Steve with a friend.

Donald with a sweet smile.

They had a new intro. It started with a bass beat while the boys were off-stage. They are all techies and have secret lives that involve transplanting devices in unsuspecting minds, or something like that. They made their entrance and picked up the beat.

This trio is greater than the sum of it's parts. They have an original sound that has few peers.

They also have some of the best theater in the business. They got right to work...on us, and showed everybody who the top dog at this party was!

They got busy changing places. Donald took over bass, Grant sat down on the drums and Steve came out to solo on a stripped down drum set atop the Rockbox.

This group of fellows are very creative and out of the box thinkers. Not content to sonic-ally entertain, they want to visually surprise you also.

This was an auspicious start to a much anticipated performance. Smiles abounded in the audience. If you had not seen these guys perform before you were blown away.

They settled down, if you can call it that by playing many of the tunes off their 2 discs. They also added a few new tunes, one of which both my wife and I remembered the next day. I will have to get that one, name unknown.

Here is Grant rocking the bass. Mild mannered tech professional by day. Man with hair on fire in the evening. He manages to raise 2 kids (with the help of his lovely wife) that seem well adjusted despite the obvious impediment.

Donald makes robots, no really. The guy is a regular MacGyver. He plays the Hallmark Batwing guitar designed by George Barris. Plays it with a style and expertise all his own.

Yeah, I know that one was overexposed, that is how he can be sometimes.

Steve is a drum teacher and also is in another band. The Dilly Dallies are a children's band of some renown. Here is his description: The Dilly Dallies sing songs about life as parents and as children.  Lives full of energy, curiosity, struggle, and love.

This is a might bit down the road from that band.

Steve is a killer drummer. Skilled and versatile, he can keep up the beat on the move, with a torn tendon on his bass drum foot yet.

Constantly looking for a way to entertain, Donald decided to choose a chump out of the crowd to hold his guitar. After he tried a few, I ended up being that chump. As I held the guitar, he played it with his beer glass. Finally a rock star!

Instead of their usual frenetic ray-gun fight, they broke out in a laser saber fight. I am sure it was their nod to the new Star Wars movie. I am sure they have their tickets already.

All the while, Donald keeps cranking.

At some point the boys decided that the stage wasn't close enough to the crowd, so they moved right on in. Picking up Steve's set, they moved it out on the floor one piece at a time.

Steve had no choice but to follow, never missing a beat and settling in surrounded by adoring fans. here is the video:

I always get the best pics of Steve when he joins the common folk on the floor.

This was way better than we had hoped. Everything was perfect. The venue, the bands, the packed crowd and each other. A big thanks to Aloha Screwdriver for coming all the way up to Seattle to entertain us on a rainy weekend.

Thanks to Darrells Tavern and the great staff; Dan, Scott, Margie, Damien and Emily. Thanks to my sweet wife Cathie for hanging with me for 33 plus years.

Thanks to Djake Noose for the pre-show promotion and the live performance. He also produced this great recap:

This picture has become a internet meme. Original photo by Eric Ericson. Check out some of the variations on his composition.

  Our first variation by our buddy Jim Salvati.

Thanks to Jim Salvati for the great Photoshop work. See his work here:

Here is one by our buddy Michael Carter:

My niece Adrienne made his one (we are big Blazing Saddles fans):

I am making signed handmade presents for all entrants.