There is a strong love of the rockabilly/ska genre in southern California, so it seems that Kitty, Daisy & Lewis had the proper foresight to close the U.S. leg of their tour at the El Rey on April 3, 2015.
Wanda Lavonne Jackson is known to many as the “Queen of Rockabilly” or the “First Lady of Rockabilly”. An accomplished singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist, the success that she had during the 50s and 60s paved the way not only for women, but also for rock and roll and country music genres; and she is duly recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “Early Influence”.
I was able to get up front for her performance, joining a mixed-age crowd. It didn’t surprise me that she was able to pull kids who couldn’t have been out of their teens to her show. After all, one of her more recent albums, 2009’s “The Party Ain’t Over” was produced by Jack White (which, by the way, was her first album to break into the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number 58.
When the lights dimmed, and the band started playing, I could see a small woman in a flamboyant, pink top make her way downstage. The crowd cheered loudly as their heroine took her steps forward, and when she addressed the crowd with a, “Hello,” the concert hall within the Queen Mary erupted.
Though in her mid 70’s, Wanda Jackson, like Ray Campi, gave a performance with such attitude and passion, that I could only imagine what she would have been like back during her hey-day. She yodeled, she growled, and she punched out notes like a pro, and the audience ate up every second of it … as long as they weren’t singing along with her.
In between songs, she would tell some stories as a segue into what she would perform next. She spoke adoringly about her brief time “dating” (“If you called it that,” as she noted) Elvis before vamping into Heartbreak Hotel. She reminisced about her experience making music with Jack White and the “disagreement” she had with the uber producer about covering Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” before singing it.
I loved watching Wanda Jackson perform. I loved the way she interacted with the audience, marveling at their youth, and even joking about their hair color and body piercings. I loved watching the look in her eyes when the youthful crowd sang along to her classic tunes.
Towards the end of her set, she reached out to those of her fans that were lined up at the front; shaking/holding whatever outstretched hand that was reaching out to her. I reached out as well, and when she grasped my hand, and mouthed, “Thank you,” while looking into my eyes, it was a moment I’ll not soon forget.
I couldn’t find a setlist of the songs that she performed online, but I did take a picture of it (which I know isn’t the correct order, as the “You Know I”m No Good” isn’t even listed, which is included in the photographs below. If you were there, and know the order of the songs performed, please let me know and I’ll add it here.
Ray Campi is often called The King of Rockabilly. At 80 years old, at Ink-N-Iron, he proved it.
Ray’s legacy in music started in 1944 and has touched numerous genres. From folk to country to rock and roll, Ray has had his trademark double bass sound immortalized on recordings with legends like Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent.
I was amazed with his vitality on stage. He plucked his double bass with the kind a youthful fervor reserved for young rockers in their early twenties. The passion in him truly left an indelible impression on me.
In between songs, he would sprinkle in some stories about his life in music, but he really opened up when he talked about his other career … as a high-school teacher. He joked that we could all be his students (the crowd seemed relatively young, with an average age being- my best guess- in the mid to late twenties). Truth is, he wasn’t that far off. I think I can speak on everybody’s behalf when I say that we all learned this: Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. Ray Campi is proof of that.
I couldn’t find a setlist of his performance at Ink-N-Iron, so if you happen to know what he performance, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it later. Thanks!
For the past eleven years, The Queen Mary has been the host of the annual Ink-N-Iron Festival: a weekend inspired by a culture of tats and cars, embodied in their display of pristine vintage cars, three levels of tattoo artists booths, live music, burlesque acts, art displays … you name it, they’ve got it.
I first got turned onto the festival last year to catch a band from Texas that I really like, Girl In A Coma. Even though I don’t sport any ink on my person, I really enjoyed the whole vibe of the festival. It was clean, the people were all courteous, it was a family affair, tickets were reasonably priced ($80 for a weekend pass) … and the music rocked.
When I saw the line-up this year, I jumped on getting a ticket. Although I couldn’t attend the festival on Sunday due to work obligations, I was able to catch a whole bunch of quality acts while hanging out with friends, old and new. Below is the list of the acts that I was able to see perform. To see the pictures that I was able to snap (and video embeds of the performances I could find online) of each of the bands that performed, CLICK THE NAME of the act to get redirected to the blog entry.
June 6, 2014
June 7, 2014
- Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil– yup, I saw ’em twice
- The Briefs
- The Damned
- Nick Waterhouse
In the meantime, below are some of the pictures that I snapped from the festival. I would have included more pictures from the burlesque show, but I’m trying to keep this blog PG rated. 😉
After The Record Company wrapped up their set, they told the crowd to hang out to catch their friend Rachel Goodrich play a set. I hadn’t intended on hanging out, but I decided I’d google her to see what she was all about before deciding whether to leave or not. Allmusic.com described her style as follows:
“Miami Beach-based singer/songwriter Rachel Goodrich‘s eclectic blend of vaudeville-inspired indie pop, swing-jazz and country-folk (the artist frequently describes her sound as “shake-a-billy”) is made all the more singular by the vast number of instruments at her command.”
Wikipedia also noted that:
“Her first album, Tinker Toys, was self-released in 2008 to which the New York Times dubbed her as a “queen of the Miami indie rock scene”. The second, self-titled album was produced by Grammy-nominated music producer Greg Wells. Goodrich’s song, “Light Bulb”, was featured in an episode of the TV series Weeds […] a Crayola commercial advertisement [and a] BT Infinity – “Light Streams” advert.”
Wanting to hear what her “shake-a-billy” was all about, I decided to stick around.
She took to the stage with her “grrls” and the trio (Rachel on guitar, a bassist and a drummer) started to jam out music that was a throwback to the 50’s era rockabilly with overtones of modern day pop sensibilities. At first, they reminded me of The 5 6 7 8’s … that all-female Japanese rock trio featured in Quentin Tarantino‘s “Kill Bill Volume 1“, but I quickly put that comparison to rest since Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls vocals sounded much better.
A little bit honky-tonk and a little bit surf-rock with a bit of punk and western-swing sprinkled on top, Rachel’s wispy and subtle vocals enhanced the catchy hooks and had me shaking my groove thing. Ah … “shake-a-billy” … I get it. I enjoyed what I heard and liked her Facebook fan page after the set.
In my opinion, with a fuller repertoire and more exposure, I can easily this band getting booked for local festival spots at FYF Fest or Ink-N-Iron next year, and I’ll be keeping my ears to the web to see what else they have coming up.
As an aside, it was a shame that most of the packed crowd for The Record Company dispersed before catching Rachel and her band do their thing. It was a fun set that was a great night-cap to the blues rock show that The Record Company put on. C’est la vie en Los Angeles, I suppose. At least my view was unobstructed …
Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos. If the slide show below isn’t working, the Flickr has disabled their embed option for WordPress and hasn’t yet updated their HTML code, which totally BLOWS! If you can see the slide show below, hooray!