A Hard Act to Follow

Last week I was drawn to a show at The Sunset, the headlining band was referred by a friend. It wasn’t until after the show that I discovered he only liked them because they are “hot and sexy whiskey drinkin ladies.” Thanks friend, but I’m actually interested in the music…mostly. The band was Those Darlins out of Nashville, and they weren’t bad. However, it was the first act that I was most drawn to, The Mad Caps, Ted Rader and Jon Real from Las Vegas. They actually live here in Seattle now, but have a Viva Las Vegas familiarity that sparks images of Betty Page.

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The two guys have a heavy surf punk, rockabilly sound minus the pompadours; less billy more rock. Rader played the stage magically with head banging, foot taps, torn jeans, and Jerry Lee Lewis vocals that made me want to scream like an original groupie. The songs were tight and catchy, fast and furious, and addicting. I would keep an eye out for these guys, it’s a fun show worth going to again and again.

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It always weirds me out when I go to a backwards show, when the headliners aren’t nearly as good as the openers. When somehow that not-so-good last act draws a crowd much larger than the previous sooooo good one. This show was completely that way, the wrong way. Which is fine I suppose since I kind of hate crowds anyway. I never miss an opening act, because you just never know what you’ll miss. These artists are the up and comers, the hand-picked ones that someone saw potential in. These opening acts are opportunities for people like me to spread the word about something new and exciting.

The second band that played, also better than the headliners, was Heavy Cream. An all girl punk, leotard sporting, screamo band out of Nashville. I liked them because of the lead singer, Jessica. I don’t often say that, the entire band deserves props ifthey’re worthy of them of course, and these gals are worthy. But I simply couldn’t keep my eyes off Jessica. She was a real stage performer. She had the look, the charisma, the I don’t give a f*&% attitude that every punk band should emanate.

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By the end of the show her lipstick was smeared all over her face and her hair awry, loved it! Her twitchy movements, screaming talent, and leather jacket straight out of a twisted rendition of Grease the movie made me smile. Now don’t get me wrong, the whole band was good, without them what would she be? Just another wackadoo attention junkie I suppose. I especially caught a liking toward the guitar player with leather pants, those things just never go out of style do they.

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And then there was Those Darlins, the band that drew me there in the first place. I was more impressed with the lead singers giant crazy eyes and hairy armpits than I was their music, but they had the unfortunate task of matching up to the awesomeness of the Mad Caps and Heavy Cream. It was a hard act to follow, but they lured the crowd who seemed to be loyal fans. So loyal that they pushed me and my camera away from the stage, which was fine, I was ready to go.

-Nicole Starr is a blogger for The World Is Fun