A drive into Philly to Connie’s RicRac in conjunction with a nominal door fee of five bucks (pay for the bands), equals a crazy night of music akin to tunes one may have grown up to. A Gashouse Radio original event offered up a cool venue, affordable drinks, great prizes, beer pong, quality music, and a perpetual feeling of community. The lineup: E. Joseph, Red Sammy, Estocar, and Audio Kings of the Third World.
Opening for this eclectic lineup is E. Joseph, flying solo and naked (aka acoustic) sporting a pair of black Doc Martins. With clothes donned, E. J. plays with the Phantom Heart, Stellarscope, and Wooden Hez. E.J. is accompanied on stage by two sexy, full bodied, Canadian born, Seagull acoustic guitars. E.J. no doubt has talent enough to stand alone. His vocals are rich; laid back, and pleasant, no ear fatigue here! Accompanying his suave vocal ability is a multifaceted chord progression style atypical of three cord playing, coupled with an ambient effect producing pedal board, combined with well-structured songs equates to full sounding ear candy. The highlight song of the night in my opinion is “Certain Protections”. E. Joseph’s tunes are reminiscent of our favorite 80’s movies with an updated spin. Great choice to start the night off; look for his contribution on the upcoming Gashouse Radio acoustic compilation!
The stage is well warmed up at this point, so next we have Red Sammy, from Baltimore. Friends of E. Joseph, Red Sammy comprises of three members; a vocalist/guitarist sporting the ever popular Martin acoustic guitar, a bass player with a G&L, and a drummer. No pedal boards to be had. Three artists danced in my head as the music played: Sea Sick Steve, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, and a dusting of Springsteen. Their songwriting is traditional and likeable. The band’s vibe is chill, and definitely provides an easy going; throw the beers back type of feel. There was a storyteller kind of format; we learned how the band buys lottery tickets in hopes of winning gas money, and then doubles as paper for their set list. A Bluesy head bobbing song called “Friends” was being played, and to our amazement, the bass player turned into a Strat yielding guitarist! The bass surprisingly was not missed and actually sounded pretty full. The Strat had a stoner rock type feel, with a classic fender tone, a great change to the set which continued for a bit. “Shark Bait” was the highlight of the night, with the bass back to attack. Everyone in the venue bobbed their heads to this one. Enjoyable set, very tight band.
Estocar from the Seattle scene takes the stage! We have another power trio, this time with a traditional instrumental line up, vocal/guitarist, bass, and drums. These guys became instantly recognizable for helping us direct our vehicle into the best parking spot on the street, right in front of Connie’s, thank you guys! First, my eye was drawn to the megaphone on the floor, and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store. The set started with the “Yep” song, which actually was a funny way to sound check, and became a joke throughout the set. These guys do not lack in the humor department. The vocalist/guitarist was using a Guild cherry burst until a string broke, for which there was a guitar, a Fender Pawn Shop Jaguarillo to be exact, strategically propped up against the stage ready for a moment such as this. His vocal style is very similar to David Byrne of the Talking Heads (with an added vocal processor) which fit their new wave influenced music with a guitar delay reminiscent of early U2. Mr. Byrne would not have been able to keep up with the eye catching animation and jittery robot moves, this guy was making me tired watching. The bass player also had some moves while rocking a Fender P bass of some sort. Their energy level was infectious. The performance and stage presence was the highlight of the set, and the tunes could get a dead person up and moving; unfortunately the mega phone wasn’t utilized enough, maybe next time. Oh, FYI, Estocar is Portuguese for stock or storage, not sure the story behind that one.
Finally to bring the evening home, we have Philadelphia’s own Audio Kings of the Third World. Unfortunately we were outside during the band set up, so we ran in and unexpectedly saw the lead man, a dedicated singer, in a white Tyvek suit with gloves, definitely different. The instrumental/band set up is a bass player, the first guitarist with a multi effects pedal and an Epiphone with no shoes, and the unconventional keyboard/synthesizer/electric drummer/second guitarist, a Gibson, (that’s one person’s job). This band has new wave written all over it, not a bad thing, and may have been signed during the height of that style music. If Velvet Underground and Devo had a baby, this would be shim. Stage presence with fancy arm moves was abundant and interesting. One song reminded us of “Kick out the Jams”, and funny, it was announced to be a cover by The Stooges who were close friends and tour buddies with MC5. At one point a sleeping mask went over the singer’s eyes, not sure the significance but maybe something to do with the song. The highlight of the performance would have to be the Tyvek suit; that image will be stored for life.
Memorable show, and a good time with Gashouse Radio, as always! Good luck to all the bands, and thank you for entertaining us for the evening!