Could Saturday night top Jon & Nightriders and the rough cut of Sound of the Surf? So far the evening had been pretty special with two original songs from the Surf Band 101 bands. The night promised more music and fun to come.
Next up were the Sneaky Tikis -- Paul’s prodigies from last year’s camp. Little did we know then that one year and week later that they would have 26 gigs under their belts. Those gigs included appearances on the same shows as Slacktone, Dick Dale, the Aqua Velvets, and the Pyronauts. They pimped the Sierra Surf Music Camp on Channel 31’s “Good Day, Sacramento” -- the Pyronauts’ old haunt. And they got twelve minutes of fame at the KFJC Battle of the Surf Bands. They even made some money playing music.
For some, that would have been a musical career. The Sneaky Tiki’s trajectory had been nothing but spectacular and straight up. No dips. No stalls. No lulls. Immense talent plus a solid support group of family, friends, and some professional musicians created a mix to put the Sneaky Tikis many years ahead of bands of comparable age and experience.
Their talents were on display again during their set for their second Sierra Surf Music Camp. Fast. Energetic. Playing music as hot as the weather!
Like the bands that influence them -- the Pyronauts and Jon & the Nightriders -- the Sneaky Tikis derive much of their underlying energy from the power of their drummer and rhythm guitar. Lucas on rhythm guitar is totally in charge of his Jazzmaster exhibiting a strength that stands out. Lukas combines metronomic precision and pure power on the drums. Their unyielding rhythm establishes a foundation upon which Rob on lead and Greg on bass can build the intricacies of songs of the Pyronauts, Jon & the Nightriders, or Dick Dale or put their energies into some surf classics.
As they showed Saturday night, the Sneaky Tikis still are four precocious prodigies. What will be next on their upward flight remains to be seen. Having just finished final exams, Greg hopes to go on to the University of Washington. Lucas is talking of going back to school to study music. Lukas and Rob face high school. Fortunately, they have a full array of mentors -- and supportive parents -- for guidance.
But on this Saturday night at camp, nobody was thinking about what the future holds for the Sneaky Tikis. Instead, as we watched them play, we knew that we were being treated to something special that had grown from last year. Veteran campers thought about how far the Sneaky Tikis had come while new campers dreamed about being that good next year.
As the Sneaky Tikis finished their set with the Pyronauts’ “Sifaka,” Paul bowed in tribute while the audience gave them a standing ovation. This marked a fitting anniversary -- of sorts -- for four youngsters who were put together to play surf music at the first Sierra Surf Music Camp.