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Two Bands. Two venues. A Tastemaker & The Writer

Hello readers. How is everyone doing? I hope you all can answer in the positive.

Needless to say, I’ve been busy.

I’m going to mention two bands that have recently caught the fancy of yours truly.

King Flamingo. @The Pike Bar & Grill. Photo Credit: G. Scott Hughes

The first is King Flamingo. I caught them as the opener for Carsex last Friday at The Pike Restaurant & Bar. As for the venue, I must say that it has the charm and ambience of a seasoned dive bar. I’ll go on record that I did not partake of their menu. The food smelled really, really good. And from what I saw on the plates, the fare they offer is far from your typical bar food. And that is a good thing.

As most you already know, I’m willing to listen to any band once. And usually, I know if I like them within three songs. Some bands, within three minutes. The ones I really like, within less than a minute.

But first I must tell you that these two bands have something in common. Both were discovered by Nigel Burk (Vocalist for Carsex.). I admit that I find myself admiring his musical taste more as time passes. I oftentimes wonder just how does he come across bands that are cooler than the ones I find? And it’s such a cool idea to have the cool bands you find open for your band? Well played, indeed.

But whatever. Back to the article….

At first glance, I saw the gear for King Flamingo on the small stage and thought the band wasn’t all there yet. The drum kit was bare bones. There was only a Fender Stage Lead amp taking up the stage left area. Despite their minimalist approach to gear; when they tore into their set, it all came together and I was smitten.

The energy of King Flamingo is contagious. The full speed ahead ethos of these two gentlemen filled the room. If you like your rock n’ roll stripped to its’ bare essence, then you are going to adore this band. Zack (Guitars/Vocals) uses his Ditto pedal like a surgeon. Thusly making those untrained in the art of modern-day pedal wizardry do a double take because a person could swear that there are two guitars playing at the same time.

Chris (Drums) brings a bit of that good ol’ Meg White/Caveman magic to King Flamingos’ percussion that propels this outfit along their merry way. Also, he is very fun to watch as he emotes to each and every song. I find that the best bands always look like they are having the time of their lives on stage. These guys are living proof.

King Flamingo ply originals and well-executed covers with equal aplomb. Their originals go anywhere from heartbreak to raucous stomp romps that you would find being played in a cheezy creature feature teen beach dance party scene circa 1964 to fuzzed out/psychedelic bliss inducing tunes that could make a person think that the late-60’s zeitgeist really could’ve worked.

The next week found me at 4th Street Vine. A triple bill featuring High Tatras, The Planet Moon and Carsex. Both The Planet Moon and Carsex have been reviewed here previously. (Authors Note: If you’re curious, please re-read my second blog on this here La Clika Podcast website thingamajig thusly entitled Rock In Pedro.) Basically, I know two bands out of the three are proven deliverers of the goods.

High Tatras. 4th Street Vine. Photo Credit: G. Scott Hughes

4th Street Vine reminds me of a place where all the cool kids we all knew in high school/college eventually got to hang out after they graduated and got real jobs. The tap is full of cool microbrews with fancy handles. Since I don’t drink wine, I really can’t say anything about that. The minimal PA suits the needs of the joint adequately. The backdrop with trippy visuals lends the joint a quasi-psychedelic edge. The performance area is on the small side and has no demarcation line. So do not be surprised if the performers decide to fuck with you as you cross their path during a performance.

High Tatras tread in a dreamscape that is both soothing and terrifying. Imagine The Smashing Pumpkins playing the drone parts of Soma while The Cure and Johnny Marr join in the fun. Oh! And look who just walked in on this suaree! It’s Leonard Cohen! A dusty, sunburnt and parched Leonard Cohen. But, Hey! Nobody’s perfect!

The hollow body guitars and reverb pedals of Nic Abodeely blend well with a Fender Precision Bass with flat-wound strings hypnotically played by Felipe Goncalves. The drums played by Cameron Kuwada are very throbby and laid back and the keys/synth played by Jesse Bartmess give a pleasant, textured counterpoint.

This is a band that stays with you after the crash and chaos of the night. This is a band where one closes their eyes and drifts away until the last, throbbing, reverb-laden notes fade into the ether after their baroquely psychedelic set.

These bands give hope that rock music really isn’t dead.

Now I’m done.


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