Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Phantom Four featuring John Blair, The Boss Martians and Marieke and The Go Get 'Em Boys featuring DJ Stevie Dee at Darrells Tavern 7-5-16

This was a spectacular evening for surf fans in Seattle. We don't get many treats like this so if you liked surf music, you were at Darrells. You were also tuned to 90.3 FM, Shake the Shack on KEXP at 6pm.

The Phantom Four from the Netherlands were here. Not just here in Seattle, but here for their first visit to the States and the first show on a long tour of the West Coast for the band.

Here is Niels and Frank from The Phantom Four.

I was right behind as they loaded in and I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I saw Frank and couldn't help myself, "Frank!" I yelled. He turned and came bounding toward me, holy shit! I immediately started grovelling, slobbering and bowing repeatedly. I am sure he thought I was nuts. He is my favorite writer, composer and guitarist of the surf genre period. I have all his discs, even the early stuff.

Both he and Niels were so cool and friendly. This was only the first encounter with a rabid fan; they have many shows coming up and there will be much more Phantom worship. They were good enough to pose for some pics. I warned him that I would be on his tail all night.

I caught Evan Foster of The Boss Martians with Frank. Again they were good enough to indulge me.

Like I said, this was The Phantom Four's first show in the states. What an amazing event for little old Seattle. The fact that they picked Darrells Tavern was icing on the cake, Darrells is my front room.

Here I am behind the bar next to my wife Cathie and my buddy Mark.

Here is a paragraph written about the adventures here in Seattle: For over two decades surf music fans in the US have been pledging Phantom Frank to cross the Atlantic, first with The Treble Spankers and later with The Phantom Four. Finally their calls have been heard and they will be able to witness hits like "Red Hot Navigator", "Ramgaya", "Dead Man Surfin´", "Dilmohammed" and "Morgana" live for the first time. Combined with Jon & The Nightriders classics like "Rumble at Waikiki", "Depth Charge" and "Moving Target" it is safe to say that this is the most anticipated tour of the year. The quartet will play a string of shows spread out over a period of two weeks in August along the West Coast. The dates will be announced gradually as they come along.

The author (?) nailed it.

Here is John Blair welcoming the surprise guest, more on that later.

There so many amazing and marvelous happenings associated with this event; the fact that The Phantom Four's first show in the states wasn't enough. John Blair of Jon and the Nightriders, the definitive 2nd wave surf band was sitting in on rhythm guitar. Amazing!

The Boss Martians, who usually headline, were playing before The Phantom Four. Normally, nobody can follow Evan, Nick and Erik. They absolutely killed tonight!

My friends at Shake the Shack somehow, someway, managed to get The Phantom Four into the studio to play live. Mike, "your pal on the radio", worked his magic and TPF played a killer set. Mike, Red and Johnny were so lucky to sit in with them and the ensuing interview was great. You can hear the show here for two weeks (today's date 7-6-16)

Here is Mike, Red and Johnny; the hosts of the long lived/loved show, Shake The Shack. You can hear them every Friday night between 6 and 9pm on KEXP, 90.3 or online at

Mike later reminded me that STS has had all the bands on this bill in the live studio. I shouldn't be surprised that they landed The Phantom Four. Thanks to Mike, KEXP and the rest of the loved ones for going the extra mile to make your show great!

Also, Marieke, Johnny, Wes and Mark were here collectively as Marieke and The Go Get 'Em Boys and were opening. What a special night this would be. Here is Marieke before her set.

To top it all off there was a DJ spinning discs live. Here is DJ Stevie Dee in his workshop.

Some of my favorite people were here. Here is my friend Tien (on the right, huge surf fan) and Chief, one of the colorful locals at Darrells. I don't think Tien had the pleasure of meeting Chief before by the look of Tien's face.

I got to Darrells early to get a good seat and see some of the early action. Here is Frank, Niels, John and Marc doing a sound check.

Here is Nick Schultz of The Boss Martians enjoying the scene.

The live set on Shake The Shack got everybody pumped and slowly the peeps trickled in. Darrells is a killer venue and I got to thank Dan, the owner for scooping up this epic show. 

Here is Emily, one of the most excellent staff and mixologists at Darrells.

The setting was right and Marieke and the Go Get 'Em Boys were up and rocking. They play good old rock and roll with a special flare. Marieke has a great voice and the band is stellar. They are:
Marieke Benner - Vocals, Johnny Seven - Guitar, Wesley Amundsen - Bass, Joe Paul Slaby - Drums. Joe was MIA tonight so Mike Daugherty sat in on drums, he was killer.

I have been following Marieke, Johnny, and Wes for years. They have been in various bands before this effort. They all play in other bands also. You can connect with them here:

Marieke puts on a super entertaining show, her skin tight outfit reveals all the sweet tats she has collected. She struts and dances the whole time and has some great facial expressions.

Johnny 7 is a rockabilly and rock and roll mainstay in Seattle. His is a genius guitar player, a producer and recording engineer. Nobody has more fun on stage than Johnny.

Wesley and Mike were in the shadows so I got pics of them as I could. Wes is an insanely great stand up bass player. He doesn't have a lot of flash, he just concentrates on making great music.

Mike was having as much fun as you can on the drums. He was smiling, sometimes laughing as he played. He also mouthed the words of most of the tunes. He sings vocals in The Black Crabs with Johnny and Wes. He did a stellar job for sitting in as a replacement.

Marieke and the boys are always entertaining. This was a marvelous way to get pumped for the rest of the bill.

A great set from a killer local band. You can see a review I did of them not long ago here: Another local band was on the way. One that looms large in the northwest legacy. The Boss Martians are setting up.

The Boss Martians play Surf / Frat Rock / Garage Rock / Power Pop and consist of Evan Foster (Gtr, Vocals), Erik Foster (Bass, Vocals), Nick Schultz (Drums). They have existed in some form for many years, long enough to produce at least 16 albums/discs.

The big boss is Evan Douglas Foster. He is not only one of the best guitarist and entertainers, but truly one of the nicest guys you can imagine. I always get a big hug when I see him...I don't shower for days after.

The place was so crowded and Evan always likes his peeps close, it was hard to get a good picture. I had to enjoy from the other side of the stage.

He loves to mug and interact with the audience. The pace is frenetic at times. The Martians put on a hell of a show. It was loud. Real loud...I wasn't going to dull the sound with ear protection. I was going to take this bruising like a man.

They cover some great classic music. They started off with their version of Mary ain't your father's Mary Lou. Rocking guitars and percussion lead off in a frenzied rhythm. By the time the vocals come in the mosh pit has formed and the peeps were up close and loving.

They also cover a Monkees tune, yes, the Monkees. It was a screaming version of Stepping Stone...brilliant! We were all singing along; "I'm not you stepping stone". You couldn't hear yourself even if you screamed, but it was still fun.

I have had the pleasure of hiring them for a show. When I heard that they were playing again after several years of rest, I jumped at the chance to see them. They played our anniversary show in 2014 and you can see the report here: 

They also played another recent show that I reviewed, see that one here: 

We are so lucky to have these guys here in our hood. See them live if you can. You can connect with this fantastic band here:

You can also buy their music here:

The featured band and their special guests(s) were on next. Just seeing these surf titans on the same stage made my heart flutter. Here is a couple of pics from the earlier sound check.

Here was John Blair, one of the first pioneers of the 2nd Wave of Surf right on the stage at Darrells. Whoever set this up, Thank You!

John is not only a surf legend, he is also a collector and compiler of surf history. You can connect with him and see his penultimate surf history compilation here:

Then there is this guy; Frank is an incredible musician.

Neils is a large man with massive arms, just like you would expect for a percussionist. He is a most excellent drummer. Marc is super tall and extremely talented. He played a beautiful Gretsch guitar.

Once they started their show, the place was packed and the fans were leaning in. Once again, it was such a privilege for this band to start their tour in Seattle. Bring on The Phantom Four with John Blair!

They played a combination of Phantom Four and Jon and the Nightriders tunes. I took a pic of the set-list. This document has some of the most amazing songs in surf listed in handwritten script.

This was going to be fun. Frank had some great facial expressions. Along with his incredible guitar skills and writing, he was most entertaining.

He played all my faves with a passion and skill that was dreamy at times, head banging in others. He was mesmerizing to someone who has only dreamed of a moment like this. He has a strong middle eastern and eastern European influence in his writing and playing.

Then of course there was John Blair. I had seen him before at The Surf Guitar 101 Convention last year. He is an amazing guitarist and a wonderful entertainer.

Marc was another great musician in this killer band. Just short of 3 meters tall (I purposely used metric, no American will know what I am talking about), he looked like he was standing on a chair in back. He and his gorgeous red Gretsch played the bottom for one of the best surf bands in the world. 

Niels was one of the best surf percussionist I have had the pleasure to hear. There is a reason I love this band and he is a big part of it. Niels is talented, skilled and a real nice guy.

Sometime during the set Neils lost his shoes.

The Phantom Four were awesome. This was a dream show for me and I am writing this in part so I will never forget it. Phantom Frank in red:

Can't talk now, must post more great pics...

The band picked up intensity as they cooked on. The Nightrider tunes featuring John, like Geronimo and Moving Target were blistering. We got the best of two surf worlds tonight.  Seeing these two legends on the same stage trading lead was phenomenal.

My friend Lisa, who dances constantly, got up close with Frank. Frank, like Evan likes to get right into the fans. We had a lot of fun tonight.

I alluded to one of the special guests of the evening. As if the line-up wasn't enough, we had a killer surprise.

I was talking with one of the guys who were loving the show and he mentioned that Dusty Watson was out front catching some stale air. Wow, another legend of surf right here at Darrells. Like the idiot I am I went out front. Not really knowing what he looked like, I stumbled into two likely characters and just said "I hear Dusty Watson is out here, are either of you the man?".

Dusty is the one on the right and he is one of the finest percussionist in the surf and rock and roll genre. He was in the original Jon and the Nightriders band.  He also played with The Sonics, and here he is at Darrells. This was more than my little heart could take. He was killer tonight, what a treat!

What a great evening. We don't get many shows like this in Seattle. It was fantastic that Mike and Shake The Shack was able to get them to play live in the studio was amazing. To see them later live was just, well, a dream.

Thanks to Darrells for providing the best live music venue in North Seattle. Thanks to Jenna and Emily for the most excellent adult beverages. Thanks to Scott for making every note perfect and discernible. Thanks to Dan for offering a marvelous place to listen to great live music.

Thanks to DJ Stevie Dee for providing great music between the acts tonight.

Thanks to the folks who came all the way from The Netherlands to play their very first gig in the USA at Darrells in Shoreline Washington. I am still reeling!

And of course: