Slacktone: Giving Its All to the Audience!

At about 9:15, we were more than four hours into Heavy Surf! 

The audience had dwindled a bit.  Some folks had come to see friends or family perform and left when that particular performance was done.  During the Pryronauts’ set, Paul the Pyronaut announced the “last call” for food.  Four hours was a bunch of music, and many in the audience had been standing since 6:00 of so.  And, like wine tasting, if you do not spit, your senses eventually can be numbed.

The headliner . . . the best surf band in the world . . . Slacktone was about ready to start.  Dave Wronski plugged in and tuned his custom Fender Jaguar.  Dusty Watson made a few adjustments to the drum kit.  Steve Ryan, whom I had not seen with Slacktone before, hooked up his Fender Precision bass.  For any hard core surf devotee, the wait was the price to be paid for this moment.  What was a few hours of waiting to hear the best surf band in the world?

Barely able to contain his excitement, Paul shouted into the mic.  “All the way from Los Angeles, California . . . Slacktone!”

Dave started.  The others joined.  Any energy which had dissipated over the hours returned to the room.  Slacktone instantly renewed the energy in the Beach Hut Deli and raised it to new heights.

Fueled by the energy emitted by Slacktone's music, the Pyronauts, some of the Sneaky Tikis, and couple of their parents were dancing, jumping, and performing cartwheels.  Their energy, in turn, fed Slacktone.

Dave’s playing ran the gamut from powerful and furious to sensitive and precise. All of it -- from technique to style to tone -- was uniquely his.  His and Dusty Watson’s timing was exquisite.  Dusty accentuated and punctuated every phrase and song adding bombastic blasts or subtle cymbal shimmers as necessary.

Meanwhile, Steve Ryan stayed out of the stars’ way.  He played bass in the style propounded by many bassists.  Add color.  Give each song a bottom.  Play enough notes to help the song without focusing any attention on the bassist.  He did this effortlessly.  His playing was so relaxed and efficient that I drifted to watching his technique while listening to the more dynamic interaction between Dave and Dusty.

They played through Slacktone originals: Bird Bone . . . Skateboard Commando . . . Blast Bolero . . . PCH . . . Bells of St. Kahuna . . . Hit Man . . . Tidal Wave.  They treated us to a spy medley of the James Bond Theme, Secret Agent Man and Peter Gunn.  When Slacktone started up Rumble, I thought, “Oh, no, don’t segue into Rawhide or Jack-the- Ripper and make us look bad.”  Fortunately, they played only Rumble.  Miserlou was played in a way that makes Dick Dale look like a light-weight.

After an encore with Surf Party, Dave Wronski and Dusty Watson were spent.  They were soaking wet with sweat.  They had given every ounce of energy -- all of “it” (whatever that is) -- to the audience.  And the audience knew and stood in appreciation and admiration.

Applause.  Cheers.  High fives.  Hugs.  Hand shakes.  Heartfelt thank-yous.  Heavy Surf! was in the books.  Wow!

1 comment

  • Paulie


    I think "it" is LOVE!

    I think "it" is LOVE!

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