The Power of East Coast Surf

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6/3/06 - Venice Beach Muscle Club, Mister Neutron, Sharkskins, and Neptune Society in NYC

The coolest little  tiki bar in New York City, Otto's Shrunken Head, has become THE place to be in New York City on the first Saturday of the month.  That's the night promoter and internet radio superstar, Unsteady Freddie presents his "Surf Rock Shindig" featuring the best Instrumental surf and garage music on the east cost. This past Saturday was no exception as Unsteady Freddie had the bar and filled to capacity with a hipster crowd that danced and grooved `till two in the morning to the twang and reverb of The Venice Beach Muscle Club, Mister Neutron, The Sharkskins, and  the Neptune Society…Four incredible bands…all members of the North East Surf Music Alliance (NESMA).
 
Venice Beach Muscle Club opened the night's festivities with a hip as hell set that turned 60's British Invasion hits like The Rolling Stones'  "Paint It Black" and the Kinks' "Tired Of Waiting" into surf songs. Guitarist and band leader Evan Dawson proved himself master of the bottleneck slide guitar with his cover of "Sleepwalk". It was the sweetest thing we've heard this side of heaven. We also dug their version of "Maria Elena" in addition to several original tunes....What an opening act!

Next up was Mister Neutron - again, here is a band not afraid to mix genres. There is plenty of blues, Hendrix, and rockabilly filtered into their take on surf-music and frankly, they tore up the place. At one point, Trumpeter Billy Levay of Staten Island sat in on "Misirlou" and "Ring of Fire". Band leader Damian Fanelli is Mr. Guitar with the fastest fingers east or west of the Mississippi and the driest sense of humor ever. If guitar playing were an Olympic event, Damian would win gold with a cumulative total of 9.7 just missing the perfect score (damn those Russian judges).

The third act of the evening was Philadelphia's The Sharkskins....man, what can we say that has not already been said about this band? Looking cool as ever, with screaming blue blazers and shades, Buddy, Dash (guitars), Javiar (bass) and Rod (drums) take their surf quite seriously and performed a set that mixed covers and originals in an intense, no-bullshit, neo-surf style. The
highlight of the set was an original frat-rock song written for and sung to promoter, friend and fan of the band, the man himself, Unsteady Freddie. Freddie, who was visibly moved, is well deserving of the tribute. Thanks to him surf/instro aficionados and musicians alike have a true HOME -- a headquarters, a base camp, an underground lair, an (insert similar analogy here) where they can hang out and feel part of an actual thriving "scene" while watching great bands perform.
 
The evening finished off with another Philly-area band called Neptune Society. These young surf-rock upstarts push the envelope somewhat playing at times in a rockin-jammin'-kind of Grateful  Dead meets Los Straitjackets style combing great melodies with catchy  riffs and hooks. These cats were just incredible musicians, very tight with a strong rock-n-roll edge to their surf
sound. 

Noticed in the crowded club, were musicians Mike "Staccato" Rosado
and Sandy "Oceana" Brooks of 9th Wave, Dave "W' of the Howlin' Thurstons, Patty from the TarantinosNYC, Bill Moffat of The Fin-Dicators, and the official NESMA reviewer, The Blue Stingray, who, we learned, is about to tie the knot! Congrats Deb & who's the lucky dude???

Yes, apparently it's true..."Twang it, and they will come". Unsteady
Freddie's Surf-Rock Shindig is an every-first-Saturday-of-the-month
event at Otto's Shrunken Head. The next one which promises to be a killer is, July 1 and will feature TarantinosNYC, Golly Gee recording artists The  Supertones, from Rochester, New York The Isotopes, and  local band The Sea Devils....oh man that's gonna smoke!  

For more on Unsteady Freddie check out his websites
www.reverbsuperb.com/, www.catch-the-waves.com, and Twang Shebang
Internet Radio Show, www.myspace.com/unsteadyfreddie
 
(compiled from show reviews by many different people so no one gets any credit!)

 

     

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