Saturday, February 27, 2010

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood is a name I have been familiar with my entire life. I remember singing Bad to the Bone in the backseat of my Dad’s Cadillac at the young age of 6. The Destroyers have been on my concerts to attend list for as long as I can remember. They seem to be constantly on tour, regularly stopping in Las Vegas, but unfortunately I did not meet the 21 and over age requirement for most of their shows. None of this matters now because the day has come; I finally get the pleasure of seeing George Thorogood and the Destroyers live!

Surf Asylum opened for The Destroyers. I had not heard of them previously, but found myself rather impressed. Their niche seems to be instrumental blues rock and roll, heavy with fierce surf guitars. They played familiar classics like, White Wedding, Smoke on the Water, and closed with Misirlou. Although Surf Asylum is technically a cover band, I think they breathe a new life into these songs by extracting the rhythm and embellishing it with fuller and more vigorous sounds. As it reads on their myspace page, “Their music has been described as “Clint Eastwood on acid at a beach in Mexico.” I couldn’t agree more! myspace

Around 9, the stage lights came on, the Destroyers logo came up on all three screens, a booming announcer voice echoed through the house, “Please welcome, the always on tour sensation, George Thorogood & the Destroyers!” George strutted out on stage, cool as a cat, wearing a black bandana and silver aviators, began the show with Tail Dragger. They continued with Who Do you Love?, Rockin’ My Life Away, Treat her Right, and Night Time without missing a beat. A pair of fans in front of us, toasted their beers, exclaimed “This is excellent!” and it certainly was!
It was obvious George Thorogood and The Destroyers, 30+ year veterans of the rock and roll scene, had their performance down to a science. Moving up and back on stage, dipping and diving, in perfect synchrony through most of the songs, it was a pleasure to watch. George continued to drive the ladies wild with his hip shaking, strutting, and gravelly voiced comments. They proceeded to play the fan favorites: Drink Alone, One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer, Treat her Right , Get a Haircut, Bad to the Bone, and Move it on Over. The crowd sang along, raising their glasses to the drinking songs, and it was apparent that both the band and the fans alike were having a great time. George thanked his band and the crowd and walked off stage.
Due to the overwhelming response from the audience, George returned to the stage stating, “Foreplay is over; Time to get down to business.” For the first encore they played, You Talk too Much and 20 Dollar Gig. They returned one more time to close with Cocaine Blues and Madison Blues. This hour and a half with George Thorogood and The Destroyers was well worth the wait; they put on a fantastic live show. The most notable experiences of their live show is part overpowering live saxophone, part freestyle blues rhythms, and of course the rock-n-roll bad boy moves and attitude that George is known for. Other than wanting to hear a few B-sides I hold dear, I couldn’t have asked for more from The Destroyers. This was a amazing show and I hope to not miss another George Thorogood and The Destroyers show again! Official Site

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sound Tribe Sector 9 [STS9]

I had not heard of Sound Tribe Sector 9 before their show was announced at the House of Blues. The name intrigued me, so I did a little research. I was surprised to find that STS9 has been around for over 10 years, originated in Santa Cruz, CA, has a strong underground following, and are an instrumental band that blends trance beats with jazz rhythm and funk basslines. With that impressive of a history, I became quite eager to see their show.

I began this Friday evening at the Tuff-N-Uff: The Future Stars of MMA fights, and due to a broken arm ending one of the last fights, the fight went a little late. Unfortunately, I did not arrive until after STS9 had already taken the stage. Emancipator was the opening band, they are a bit more mellow, but has a similar style to STS9, and they are on STS9’s record label, 1320 records. When I arrived, I was informed STS9 had just taken the stage at 10:30pm.

As I wandered through the crowd towards the bar, I started taking notice of the fans in attendance, and instantly had to wonder if I was in LA. A large portion of STS9 fans are the free spirit drifters you often find near the beach, anywhere along the west coast. I was amazed at how large of an underground following STS9 had, not to the same magnitude of Phish, but certainly very similar. I always enjoy spending an evening dancing and drinking with these free personalities and instantly felt relaxed and in the groove.
I also took instant notice of the stunningly brilliant light show. Their setup was simple, spread out across the entire stage, all black, with huge LED light panels as the backdrop. The display was mostly vivid colors and shapes twisting and rotating along with the beat. It was so powerful and well done, you could breathe the colors as they consumed the fog filled air. For the first 30 minutes or so, I stood back from the stage, just soaking in the sound and colors, it was wonderful. They played long 7-10+ minute songs/groove sessions, and before I knew it, quickly I found myself in a trance.

STS9 thanked all their fans that traveled to see their show, and took a short 15 minute break. I took this opportunity to get close to the stage and in the middle of the dance floor. When STS9 returned, their immense and full sound echoed through our bodies, we each smiled and grooved to the music, and the crowd danced as one body. Similar to the first time I saw Ratatat, the sound was so powerful, rich, and natural you became entranced and could feel the music travel through you. The was STS9 blended simple drums, several keyboards and laptops, most songs had a funky bass and a classic wailing guitar, similar to that of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
Sound Tribe Sector 9 continued the groves through 1am with two encores. The time just seemed to disappear, carried off by their drifting tunes. I was thankful I had the opportunity to see this band, dance with their fans, and was overall impressed by the performance they had given. It was a peaceful, immersive environment filled with sights and sounds that you could feel, even after the show was over. STS9 was interesting musically, visually, and so is their background and contributions to society; they are definitely worth a read and listen. STS9 or myspace

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime

Badfish is a favorite of mine. I have seen Badfish three times now, and they have never let me down. Badfish must share the same love for Las Vegas, since they are always booked at the House of Blues Super Bowl weekend. If you have never seen Badfish, be sure to check them out next February!

Due to the massive influx of tourists, the Mandalay Bay parking garage was full, so I missed any opening bands. Typically Badfish will open as their own band, Scotty Don't, and often with other similar styles of cover bands, like Sound System, (tribute to Rancid/Op Ivy) who joined them in 2009. The feel of 90's ska/punk/west-coast styling is apparent through Scotty Don't and the mood of the evening is sure to be a skankably great time!

Badfish filled the House of Blues. I do not know if the show was sold out, but it certainly appeared that way. The floor was so crowded, I decided to stay near the bar and enjoy a view of the stage. Badfish came on shortly after 8 and began with Garden Grove. The bassline rattled through the venue and everyone started grooving. Badfish murdered every note, the pit was constantly spinning, the crowd was constantly singing and dancing. "And if God's good word goes unspoken, the music goes all night"

Badfish treated the audience to a full two hours filled with a wonderful selection of tracks. They flowed between reggae, punk, and acoustic songs with ease. The energy was non-stop. The track list (as best as my memory serves me) included: Ebin, Don't Push, Saw Red, Wrong Way, Badfish, Doin' Time, New Thrash, Seed, Waiting for My Ruca, Scarlet Begonias, Chica Me Tipo, 5446 That's My Number, Smoke 2 Joints, 40 oz. to Freedom, Paddle-Out, April 26, 1992, Rivers of Babylon, What I Got, Date Rape, and closing with Santeria.

When they returned for an encore, the baseline hit, and they jammed through a 6+ minute freestyle version of Pawn Shop. Badfish wrapped up the evening with the all-time punk classic, Bro hymn by Pennywise. They seem to have an unnatural ability to channel the energy and talent of Sublime; that is what makes them truly amazing. Instead of just playing the hits, or trying too hard to sound like Sublime, they play as if they are Sublime. Their setlist is bursting with extra long grove sessions, B-side fan favorites, vocal styling, and they constantly feed off the audience's energy. Badfish feels real, and they truly bring Sublime and that Long Beach rhythm back to life. It's as good as it gets for any Sublime fan. Badfish does not disappoint! Be sure to check them out