Gatsby's American Dream with Horse the Band, Portugal the Man and Foxy Shazam!
Thursday · The Mad Hatter
There have been plenty of odd pairings in the history of music. Willie Nelson and Placido Domingo. David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Sonny and Cher. Voting-by-phone and Pop stardom.
But there might be no two more unlikely ideas to be shoved into a single continuum than Punk Rock and the concept album. In the hands of Seattle quartet Gatsby's American Dream, the two go together like chocolate and peanut butter. GAD began life five years ago when former One Point Two guitarist Bobby Darling joined forces with former Good for Nothing vocalist Nic Newsham and guitarist Ryan Van Wieringen in an effort to do something different than any of their previous band associations. With the enlistment of bassist Kirk Huffman and drummer Dustin McGhie, GAD's line-up was complete.
In 2002, under the guidance of producer Aaron Sprinkle, the band signed with Rocketstar and recorded and released their debut album, Why We Fight, a collection of fast, loud and melodic Punk anthems.
If the band had attempted and achieved no more than that, they still would have set a pretty impressive bar for themselves, but their creative restlessness led them down a different path. The following year, GAD unleashed Ribbons and Sugar, a concept album based on George Orwell's classic Animal Farm, and simultaneously unveiled their new, distinctive, Indie Rock sound, full of odd time signatures and Pop experimentalism. McGhie jumped ship during the recording of Ribbons and was replaced by Rudy Gajadhar. Van Wieringen parted ways with the band shortly after as well, leaving his music career entirely to continue his education.
After the relatively subdued one-off In the Land of Lost Monsters EP for LLR in 2004 and two years of relentless touring, GAD signed with Fearless last year and came up with their second concept album in as many years, Volcano, this one a loose song cycle based on the ancient tragic dance between Pompeii and Vesuvius. GAD continued to work the road, becoming a big draw at last year's Warped Tour and they're clearly ready to do the same again this summer. With Surrounded by Lions guitarist/keyboardist Kyle O'Quin on board now, Gatsby's American Dream is hitting the road in support of their next album, set for release in early August. (Brian Baker)
Rosie Flores and The Stardevils and Rumble Club
Friday · Southgate House
Born in Southern Texas and raised in Southern California, Rosie Flores picked up the guitar as a teenager in San Diego because she liked it and for the novelty of being a girl guitarist. By the mid-'80s, she was packing area clubs as the frontwoman of Rosie and the Screamers, a precursor to the Alt. Country yet to come. In 1987, Flores recorded her eponymous debut for Reprise, an album that remains a classic of the blending of Rock and Country, and that garnered wildly enthusiastic press nationwide, making her the first Hispanic woman to hit the Country charts.
Sadly, Flores was so far ahead of so many curves that Reprise cut her loose before doing a second album, simply because they had no idea how to market her. Disappointed, Flores moved to Austin, Tex., where she put together an amazing band that featured git-steel master Junior Brown and bassist Terry McBride. Before long, Flores was sharing stages and writing credits with the likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. In 1992, Flores signed with Hightone, a suitably rootsy label for her genre-bending style, and over the next couple of years released a trio of incredible albums (including Rockabilly Filly, the nickname she's picked up over the years), toured with Wanda Jackson (whom Flores talked out of retirement), and dueted with Freddy Fender, Marshall Crenshaw and Joe Ely.
Eventually, Flores left Hightone for Rounder, who reissued her first album with some unearthed bonus tracks, and in 1999 released the critically acclaimed live album, Dance Hall Dreams, featuring collaborations with Radney Foster and Terry McBride. Towards the end of the '90s, Flores recorded with Rockabilly giant Ray Campi and toured as guitarist with Western Swing greats Asleep at the Wheel. Flores eventually relocated to Nashville, releasing Single Rose, a live solo acoustic album, in 2004 and a typically energetic Christmas album entitled Christmasville, in 2005.
Rosie Flores has carved a unique niche for herself by transcending genres, ignoring trends and following the music in her soul. For her swing through Newport's Southgate House, Flores will be backed by local Hillbilly/Rockabilly masters, The Stardevils. The show is a ballroom celebration of the third birthday of the 'Devils' "Rockabilly Roundup" showcases, which take place the first Friday of each month in the Southgate's Parlour room featuring various 'Billy-friendly special guests. (BB)
The Aquabats with Whole Wheat Bread and The Aggrolites
Monday · Top Cat's
If Rock represents the arrested development of people who never left their adolescence, The Aquabats are the kids who never got any further than comic books and Saturday morning cartoons. There isn't enough room in this forum (or in a psychology textbook, for that matter) to explain the nuances of the Aquabats. The standard band story is the group assembled in Southern California in the mid-'90s with a penchant for Third Wave Ska/Surf rhythms and over the past decade has incorporated more New Wave/Electronica/Post-Punk elements into their sound.
The Aquabats' mythology is infinitely more entertaining, as they claim to be a group of superheroes from Aquabania who were forced into exile by Space Monster M. After a hasty exit from their homeland via hollow log, the 'Bats washed ashore in California where they were sheltered by Professor Monty Corndog, who treated them with super-power inducing chemicals and encouraged the group to use their new musical powers for good. But Space Monster M put a bounty on the Aquabats and consequently every super-villain in the known and unknown universe will randomly attack our heroes, usually when they're in the middle of a set onstage.
And so the band — currently consisting of vocalist MC Bat Commander, guitarists Chainsaw: Prince of Karate and Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk, drummer Ricky Fitness, bassist Crash McLarson and keyboardist/saxophonist Jimmy The Robot — are on the road to do battle with the forces of musical evil (who have included but are not limited to Powdered Milk Man, the Sandfleas, the Floating Eye of Death, Weedy, the Broccoli-Bee, Android Dolphin, Clowny Clown Clown, Pumpkin Face, Armani Ape, Dr. Space Mummy, the Cobnobbler and the Cat With 2 Heads). If things get too hairy for our boys, they might be assisted by fellow good-guys like the Pigbat, Exact Change Man, the Wrestling Roadies, Mosh Man, Shaquille O'Neil or the Professor himself. What can happen? What will happen? Stay tuned for action! Stay tuned for danger! Stay tuned for the Aquabats! (BB)