By DONNA BALANCIA
Nick Waterhouse is a terrific showman and always puts together a night of interesting acts. This time in Los Angeles at The Regent Theater during his tour for the new album Never Twice, was no different. Nick headlined and the stylish bands Cutty Flam and Sad Girl opened.
Despite the name, Sad Girl was not a bunch of girls crying but instead a trio of surf-style musicians who have a lot of fun on stage. Comprised of facial-contortionist frontman Misha, Dakota on bass and Paul on drums, these guys hold the promise of a warm SoCal day even in the dead of winter.
Not Sad, Happy
Sad Girl makes us happy. We’re fans of the tunes “Little Queenie,” “The Hand That Did the Deed,” and “Love Storm” in particular. Sad Girl’s music makes us feel like we’re enjoying a double feature of a 1950s western, followed with a romantic but nonsensical surf movie. Misha’s chiseled features initially lead one to believe there’s a movie star quality about him, but any thoughts of that disappear when you see his puppet-like, maniacal expressions as he plays his fuzzy guitar riffs.
Cutty Flam a rock and roll-inspired band, impressed on several levels. They’ve got a gal on the skins named Bang Bangs who is extremely accomplished despite the foofy bad prom-date dress. Bang Bangs is worth the price of admission on this night. Cutty Flam bassist Chewy Lewy is stylin’ with his rockin bass lines, cool suit and slicked back hair. Frontman Cutty is a big guy who’s got the moves like Elvis. He really interacts with the audience and the crowd enjoyed the band’s ’50s-style sound.
Nick Waterhouse and His Tarots
Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots present their big band sound in a similar vein. “The Cards Don’t Lie” proclaims the banner hung behind the band during the night. This is absolutely true. Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are true blue rock and roll. The music is upbeat but some of it, like “The Old Place,” is tinged with remorse over the changes for the worse that modern society brings.
Thinking Man’s Musician
As we have written before, Nick Waterhouse is the thinking man’s musician. He produces, he writes and he performs his blues-influenced music to an audience that goes absolutely nuts for him. In the Regent Theater‘s bar — which boasts some of the best whiskey in all of Los Angeles — we were treated to some vinyl-spinning that included Waterhouse-prouduced records by The Allah-Las.
The new Nick Waterhouse album, Never Twice, was on the front burner on this particular night, but everyone in the crowded house knows the words to mostly every song Nick plays anyway. Favorites of the night were the haunting “Stanyan Street,” “It’s Time,” and the kooky “Katchi,” which always gets a smile out of the various bandmembers and audience alike.
1. It’s Time, 2. I Had Some, 3. Dead Room, 4. Holly, 5. I Can Only Give, 6. Straight Love, 7. High Tiding, 8. Stanyan Street, 9. Sleeping Pills, 10. Voodoo, 11. Tracy 12. Old Place, 13. L.A. Turnaround, 14. Katchi, 15. Is That Clear? 16. Indian Love Call, 17. Trouble, 18. Say I Wanna Know, 19. Some Place, 20. Game, 21. Time’s All Gone, 22. Pushin Too Hard, 23. Don’t You Forget
Good Musical Blends
Nick, who produces all sorts of bands, has good taste. Last time in LA his openers were Pearl Charles and Paul Bergmann, who each brought their own cool style. Charles has been getting some air time on Los Angeles stations. Nick is going on tour in Japan and returns next year. Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are worth checking out “live and in person,” where he and his big band shine.