Blasting With The Blasters

Saw The Blasters last night at Hopmonk in Novato and they blew the roof off. They’ve been playing for about 40 years now and still have most of their original lineup. The rhythm section is preposterous. One of the best rock and roll drum (Bill Bateman) and bass (John Bazz) teams you’ll ever find. There’s so much subtlety and dynamics and power in their playing – the kind of tightness you get from spending most of your life on the road. The only other time I saw them was in the 1980’s, and I had fond memories of that gig, so naturally I went last night with high expectations. The band exceeded them tenfold. Phil Alvin is in great voice, and lead guitarist Keith Wyatt is an absolute maniac. He played an old gold-top Les Paul through a small combo amp and just went berserk. A completely committed player, he took some long solos that only built in energy and fire and kept building when I thought there was no higher to go. The band scorched along for an hour and ten minutes or so and by the end I had a smile I couldn’t erase if I tried. I went with my old friend and musical partner in crime, Michael Valladares, and after the show we ran into Bateman and Wyatt out back on our way to our ride. We went full fan-boy on ’em and gushed because what else was there to do? We thanked them for a soul-lifting no-bullshit rock n’ roll experience and floated home. Absent was Dave Alvin, who wrote many of their songs, but he was present nonetheless in his songs. A deep catalog of heartfelt rockabilly and rock n’ roll anthems, many of them penned in his youth in Downey, California. There’s something uniquely special about a group of older musicians doing something they’ve spent their lives doing, with joy and abandon, live in concert, in a smallish venue with great sound. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. Catch ’em if you can! That is all.

Author: Eric Din

Eric makes songs, records, and little forts for cats to play in. Founder/lifer in The UPTONES, guitarist, songwriter, music teacher and music curator, Eric blogs at except when he doesn't.

2 thoughts on “Blasting With The Blasters”

  1. Really appreciate your write up of Saturday night’s gig at the Hopmonk. I too was present – and walked away incredibly satisfied. Shit they never disappoint!You truly cannot go wrong with The Blasters. I’ve been catching them live for a long time as well. The first time i caught The Blasters was back in 1982 when they played the Kabuki in SF. Since that night, I do my best catch them when they make their way through SF, or if I am so lucky to see ‘em in SoCal. Thanks again for the read! Time to put some Blasters on the turntable!

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