Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is re-importing new wave music to the U.S. much to the fans’ delight.
Call the Aussies’ music “new wave,” “power pop,” “alternative,” or whatever you may, Rolling Blackouts CF played colorful, upbeat and innovative tunes at The Echo last night and got the fans to their collective feet.
This young band from down under in Melbourne kept the house dancing to new and well-played punkish pop tunes. The guys — Tom, Fran, Joe W., Joe R. and Marcel — are wrapping up a U.S. tour that has re-introduced 1980s-style new wave to a young audience. They head back to their continent after their last stop in Seattle.
It was a fortunate happenstance that we got to see this great band. The music of Rolling Blackouts CF sounds like a casual and cruisin’ 1980s party, with a driving beat and lingering guitar. The vocals are right on the money and Rolling Blackouts CF takes a page out of the book of some of the great bands from the 1980s new wave genre. But don’t take the calm demeanor of these road-weary performers for granted. They’re playing understated songs that are quite intricate, with new sounds, riffs and unusual patterns.
We’re partial to these guys, they’re going places, and we hope they come back soon. Other bands can take a lesson from Rolling Blackouts CF’s positive attitude, their obvious enjoyment of playing together, and their interesting and well-produced music.
Opener Moaning impressed the crowd with its similar alternative style and it’s easy to see that the guys put a lot of energy into their work. If the opportunity arises to see this band, Moaning should not be missed.
The Meat Puppets won over the crowd of the faithful Wednesday night as they took the stage and held a packed house at the Echo entranced. They didn’t miss a beat and it’s been far too many years since we’ve seen this great American band in action.
The guys, notably the Kirkwood clan — Curt, Cris and Elmo — along with the outstanding Shandon Sahm, ripped through fan favorites and showed the chops that have kept them rolling over the years.
Meat Puppets Fans
There are few bands as pure fun and who need to do so little to elicit the crowds’ adoration as The Meat Puppets. Some of the players have changed over the years, and there have been breakups and reunions, but things seem to be moving along nicely for the Arizona players.
The drummer for The Meat Puppets, Shandon Sahm, is extraordinary — and not just because of his ripped physique — his command of the kit is something to behold. He is the son of the legendary Doug Sahm of the Sir Doug Quintet.
Openers Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford brought a new influx of fans to the Echo, some who like young women with shoegazey style, and punkers from the 1980s. There was profound talent on hand with the impressive Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford.
As the crowd increased in capacity during the night so did the curiosity about Ford Madox Ford. Many of the punkers in the audience were not aware the lead vocalist in the band is none other than wildman Chip Kinman, who with his brother Tony created the sound of Rank and File and The Dils.
And as it was a family affair with The Meat Puppets, so it was also with Ford Madox Ford. Along with bassist Matt Littell and drummer S. Scott Aguero, Kinman was accompanied on stage by his son, Dewey Peek. The group keeps the party rolling with serious rock and roll. They’re working on a new LP and have a single out, called “Expect It.” Check out the video for “Expect It” by Ford Madox Ford.
Kinman, the well-known wild SoCal punker who rose to fame with his brother Tony in bands like The Dils and Rank and File, is at it again. This time, Kinman is working with another “kin” of his: His son, Dewey Peek. On bass is Matt Littel and drummer is S. Scott Aguero. The video was directed by Rez Hat.
‘Collapse and Nothingness’
“The song ‘Expect It’ is about collapse and the complete nothingness that follows,” Kinman told CaliforniaRocker.com. “We had a great time making the video, a lot of beer and tacos, North East Los Angeles, dontcha know. It was filmed with a rare Swedish camera that makes everything look like TV in the Seventies, which is what life should be like anyway.”
The Suffers put on a short show that packed a powerful punch the other night at The Echo.
The lively set by the 8-piece band led by dynamic front woman Kam Franklin grabbed the audience and never let go as The Suffers ripped through tunes some new and some known.
The band impressed the crowded house of fans who ranged in age from about 20 to 60 years old.
Kam’s presence is a commanding experience as she dominates the stage with kid gloves, showing the love and talking about how music can be a healing therapy and agent for change. She’s like an open book, inspiring others with her tales of woe and success.
Kam started as an investment banker and decided to follow her dream. There were tough times, she said, recalling that she and her bandmates weren’t sure that when they played LA a while back that they would ever actually be able to return. The Suffers high energy show is a celebration of accomplishments and Kam said the band is a living example that when you set your sites and harness determination, you can achieve your dreams.
Her theme is simple: Music Heals.
Kam encouraged the audience to keep listening to music, keep creating remarkable works and appreciate those closest to you. The Suffers show was limited to one hour, but the band slayed in that short time, leaving the audience calling for more.
“No matter what goes on in the world outside, we’re all in here for one hour and we’re going to enjoy ourselves,” she told the audience. A tribute to Sharon Jones was to take place shortly after The Suffers set. Kam paid homage to the musical foundation set down by Jones, the renowned soul singer who passed away last week from pancreatic cancer at the age of 60.
Kam said she has been compared to Jones on many occasions and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Jones who led a soul revival that started in New York City and continues today.
The musicians who comprise The Suffers are the dedicated and talented Pat Kelly, Adam Castaneda, Michael Razo, Kevin Bernier, Jon Durbin, Cory Wilson, Nick Zamora, Jose “Chapy” Luna, Alex Zamora. The horn section brings a retro pizzazz that highlights the hard work of the bassist, drums, guitar and keyboards.
The Suffers Teach a New Lesson
It’s a cohesive group of Houston-based musicians who came together to teach us a new lesson. This is not your mom’s soul music.
The Suffers call their style of music “Gulf Coast Soul,” a fitting genre for this band. The Suffers make you feel as if you’ve just been handed a plate of buttery shrimp and grits with an extra helping of five-alarm hot sauce on the side. They’re cozy and spicy at the same time, unleashing the tunes of heartbreak and love with a unified sound that heralds an era of new soul music.
Kam bonds with the audience, talking to the crowd as comfortably as she would be talking to a well-loved friend. Healing, helping and feeding were central to the performance as she continually reminded the crowd of the name of the band and had them repeat it back, along with the town the band is from, Houston.
But after all that, what probably will be long remembered was this special show by a lady with a devoted troupe of talented musicians and her heartfelt request for people to love each other.