FASHION SLAVES Went Insane with WILD ASS and The RAVEUPS

Had a great time at Starry Plough on Saturday night, here’s my recollections and raves.

WILD ASS!

wild-ass-300pxI admit I was predisposed to liking WILD ASS before seeing them, because they are called WILD ASS. But they exceeded my wildest ass expectations. Fronted by the formidable young Carla Selvin – resplendent in black satin bell bottoms, platform heels and a shiny red microphone – this sexy sextet delivered a choice set of 70’s rock covers to feather your hair to. From their scorching opener with Heart‘s “Barracuda” thru their epic closer, “Free Ride,” their show was seamless, tight, and relentlessly fun. Their lead guitarist, Jesse Cobb, is one of the best young 6-string rockers I’ve seen in a while. Dude can seriously play a Strat, and like the rest of the band, he’s also really fun to watch. Bassist Theresa Sawi (AKA Girl Named T) is always great onstage in her various acts, and she was right at home in this material. I love the hard rock / pop tunes and style from that era, and this crew owns it hard. Look for ’em!  Their version of Van Halen’s “Dance The Night Away” was amazeballs.

The RAVEUPS!

RaveUps

Man, you can’t find a heavier bunch of bay area rocker vets delivering 60’s covers with such precision and warmth. The guys in The RaveUps have all played over the years as members of Santana, The Rubinoos, Psycotic Pineapple, Dick Bright’s SRO, and too many other local champs to list. Turns out Chris Solberg – bass player extraordinaire, music educator and stalwart keeper of the rock flame – is also a superb guitar player. Known him all these years as a bassist, but Saturday night he was rippin’ some gorgeous guitar work, while Kit Newkirk held it down heavy on a vintage 1964 Epiphone Rivoli bass. Dave Seabury fronted it all beautifully on lead vocals while putting the cherry on top of their sound with a double tambourine attack. On drums was the magnificent Donn Spindt. What can you say about Donn? Drummers like that do NOT grow on trees! He was a great drummer as a young star in The Rubinoos, and now he’s a seasoned vet, doing EVERY little rock drumming thing just so right. He’s the kind of drummer singers dream of singing over, and bass players try to kidnap. It was such a joy to hear him play again. Needless to say these guys completely rocked the house. You’ll have another chance to catch them, when they play with The UPTONES at Ashkenaz, this Friday!

The FASHION SLAVES!

This was a fun night for The Fashion Slaves. Our lead singer and frontwoman Emily Jayne had just escaped from the asylum, so when she showed up at the gig, we had to help her out of her strait jacket. I have no idea how she even made it to the venue, and when we tried to ask her she yelled “JUST SHUT UP AND ROCK!” and we complied.  Eric Knight and Pete D’Amato laid into a bass n’ drums groove, while Emily greeted the audience, and we swelled into the only reasonable opener we could do under the circumstances, “Psychotic Reaction.” Then we launched into “Astral Plane,” “Your Toy”  and “Suffer For Fashion,” from our new EP, appropriately titled “Go Insane.” “Suffer For Fashion” was composed by Emily, with help from Payam Imani, the aforementioned Theresa, and myself.  It’s the song that inspired the creation of the band, and gave us our name. Miraculously, at the end of the night I still had my lab coat and guitar, and somehow, no one ended up back in the looneybin this time. You can hear these tunes on our EP, available on iTunes and other mp3 stores, or you can get a limited edition CD directly from the band.

Thanks Starry Plough Audience!!

The audience deserves the biggest applause, they were great and they stayed the whole night. I rarely see a club fill early and stay late thru three bands these days, but wonders never cease. The Starry Plough is a great venue, especially now with their Meyer Sound system and Michele Kappell-Stone‘s exemplary booking instincts. Great folks, great music. What more ya want?

Left at 1:00 AM, and I swear I saw Nurse Ratchet lurking just across the street. Just paranoid, I guess.

UP-Fest in Berkeley, Friday, August 9th!

The UPTONES are doing a one-night-only midsummer show at Ashkenaz on August 9th, with The TITAN-UPS (the best Jamaican Rocksteady style band in San Francisco) and The RAVEUPS – an awesome band with guys from The Rubinoos, Santana, Psycotic Pineapple, and other bay area rock champs. It wasn’t until we had the show confirmed and the bands booked, that I realized all three bands have “UP” in their names. So I’m calling it an “UP-Fest.” ‘Cos I can.

The Rev. Paul Jackson whipped up this cool poster and we have a FB Event Page where you are invited to RSVP and invite your friends! If ya don’t know already, Ashkenaz is ALWAYS All-Ages, and they serve beer, wine and excellent food, AND they have a fantastic wooden dance floor AND a great sound system! Fact is, you can count the number of remaining venues in the east bay that can say ALL that, on one finger. I’m proud to bring The UPTONES show, with all my skankin’ foolz, to our stalwart hometown dance hall again, and I hope you will join us!

Advance tickets available here!

Many skanks,

Din.

Punkin’ Out At The Ol’ Blues Club

Fashion Slaves joined The Plurals, The Blast!, One After Another at Eli’s Mile High Club on Friday and it was a blast.

Eli’s – the famous Oakland tour stop for every blues band that ever toured the left coast – has been doing punk and other eclectic rock shows for a while now, establishing itself as a fave over-21 punk spot. Gone is the upstairs band room – replaced by a tattoo parlor, naturally. Around 6PM bands from near and far started arriving, plopping their gear and bags on the main floor in front of the stage. I thought, this can go any number of ways! Then the self-organizing chaos of punk took form, and somehow, without a stage manager or other discernible authority, a great fun 4-band show started on time at 9PM, and went smoothly to the end. The bands helped each other on and off the stage, no one played too long or too short, it was just punk rock poetry in motion. I liked all the bands and made a few mental notes – decided to start bloggin my shows again. So here’s wha’appen:

One After Another went on first with a set of beer-fueled punky anthems which set the tone for the night. These guys were tight, and their fiery 2-guitar blend reminded me of the Stooges-worshipping West Hollywood band, the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. Just as I made that connection, as if on cue, they played a great cover of “Search And Destroy” – the very Stooges song which gave the aforementioned ‘Cheetahs their name.

The Blast! came out next and true to their name they were LOUD! Just loud enough to please the We Like It Loud crowd, but not soooo loud as to scare away the rest of us. Their bass player Dominic – veteran of North Bay heroes Tsunami Bomb – put the show together and was a joy to hang out with. He’s also a superb bass player and their band is a hoot onstage. They have one of these lunatic animated drummers who uses maximum body effort for every single hit. I mean he is flailing, and when he isn’t falling out of his seat he’s leaping out of it, standing on the kit and bashing all the cymbals at once. Miraculously he didn’t miss a beat, and survived the performance with minor injuries. I need to get a hold of their recorded music so I can find this one tune they did near the end, which earwormed me for the rest of the weekend.

The Plurals – oh my gawd. Bless these lovely indie punky kids from Lansing, MI, touring DIY-style in 2013 with their wits and talent. They have great songs, hilarious and deep (yep, that’s the word) lyrics, and look, they are crazy enough to tour the country in a van in 2013 with today’s gas prices and widespread public apathy about new original bands. They get a medal, from me, right now, for courage and excessive coolness. You can listen to their music here.  The Plurals remind me of The Replacements and other midwest champs of a certain brew of sincerity, bleakness and humor, delivered unfiltered and raw. Did I mention they were absolute sweethearts to meet and hang out with? I’m a fan.

The Fashion Slaves – my band with Emily Jayne, Eric Knight and Pete D’Amato – played tunes from our new EP, “GO INSANE” live for the first time, plus songs from our live album. It was crazy fun, and I look forward to goin’ nuts at our next show, August 3rd at the Starry Plough.

Thanks to The Blast! for loaning us a guitar amp! Thanks to everyone who came out for making it a happening show! Til next time, you don’t have to be crazy, to GO INSANE!!