Back with a Bang: Sunday Surf Party

We staked out a corner as a “stage” for the return of the Sunday Surf Party to the Capitol Bowl.  This was truly going to be a cooperative effort -- VibroCounts drums and bass amp, Lava Pups PA, DI boxes, mic, and lead guitar amp, and Retronauts small amp for rhythm.  Of course, that meant more people than usual bumping into each other.

By the time that Paul of the VibroCounts set up, tuned, and tested out the drums and all connections were set, we were past the 1:00 start.  I was still in shorts and a tee.  But a quick trip to the Men’s room allowed me to emerge in a truly garish outfit -- yellow shorts, orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt, and wayfarer sun glasses with zebra-pattern rims.  Sue was in a bright yellow bowling shirt and colorful spandex pants.  The Pups were ready to put a jolt into the crowd.

Despite marvelous weather -- suitable for gardening if you like that kind of stuff, nearly every chair and stool in the restaurant was occupied as was most of the seating in the lounge area.  We had a crowd that was ready to be jolted and party to surf music.

The bands did not disappoint.  The Lava Pups filled the room with energy, lots of reverb, and an occasional bit of Link Wray-type attitude.   As usual, we engaged in a little foolishness, never took ourselves too seriously, and maintained an easy rapport with the crowd -- all in moderation, of course.  Lola -- the nearly 3-year old granddaughter of Weekend Wiki Warrior Carlos -- danced along as we played.  This is what surf music is all about -- energy, fun and frivolity. 

By the time that the Retronauts brought on their brand of retro rock, Lola had headed home for a nap.  Stylistically, they are true artists influenced by the Ventures.  Less reverb than the Pups.  Music that is all about melody, harmony, and counterpart.  Their playing demonstrated a respect for the music.  It was a set of tight tunes delivered by four accomplished musicians.

The VibroCounts closed.  Sometimes reverb-drenched surf.  Sometimes retro music bordering on jazz or psychedelic.  Always crystal clean and clear.  Always astounding musicianship.  Cliff Adams provided a bit of history as he introduced songs.  Calm and knowledgeable. 

The three bands delivered more than three hours of instrumental music.  They presented three different styles of playing.  They exhibited three different energy levels.  They engaged the audience in three different ways.  But, despite their differences, all three bands showed their love for instrumental music with a melody. 

Importantly, everybody in the crowd walked out of the Capitol Bowl feeling that they had been entertained.  They had had fun.  They ate, drank, and socialized.  Some even bowled.

The cap for a day of packing, unpacking, setting up, taking down, playing, and schmoozing was a visit to our neighborhood Mexican restaurant.  As we walked in, an older woman -- well, probably my age -- gave my yellow shorts and orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt the once over, scrunched her nose, and leaned over to her friend.  She looked to be saying, “Don’t look now, but you ought to see the garish outfit that just walked in.”  As her friend tried to turn discretely, she did the “no, no, don’t be so obvious” move.  As we walked out, the two of them exchanged looks and simultaneously rolled their eyes.

Becky stopped me from leaning over and saying, “Hey, I play in a rock ‘n roll band.  Would you like an autograph?”

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