By Anita Stewart, Journalist and Chyrisse Tabone, Photographer, Tampa Rock at Night Correspondents
Venue: Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, Florida–February 25, 2017
These two bands put a new twist on Rockabilly, Punk, Twangy Swamp-Rock, Glam Rock, Psychedelia, Americana, Pop and 70‘s/80’s Dance.
Rock at Night arrived at Skipper’s Smokehouse on Friday night February 24rth, a very popular open-air music venue in Tampa. Great food and drink, lots of sand, trees, stars overhead and open spaces where people can dance anywhere! Skipper’s Smokehouse is a venue in the Key West style and a well known local stage. Both famous acts and musicians just getting their start and many in between have played there; bands and acts from all genres of music, predominantly indy and alternative.
The enthusiastic fans of SCOTs (Southern Culture on the Skids), stood in a very long line with their tickets in hand so they could claim the first benches and seats as soon as the chain by the box office was unhooked. A scramble was on for the seats under the pavilion, the benches on the side in the sand, by the bar and the back of the venue where the sound system is…but people would not be in those seats for long!
After some challenging sound issues and some awesome test bars of their songs, the opening band, the Kolars began their set. No one knew what to expect but we at Rock at Night have to say that this band rocked the house! A most recent trend now is the stripped down sound of two-member bands a la the White Stripes or One Eyed Doll. The Kolars followed that trend with Rob Kolar as the guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and arranger and his wife, Lauren Brown who used her body as one big giant percussion instrument. She tap danced on a bass drum while playing a full drum kit and usually simultaneously. Her tap dance beats mimicked the staccato rhythm of a hi-hat. Erupting as a duo from their previous band, the folk glam group “He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister,” who are now taking a hiatus, they decided to go out on their own and groove to their own beat. We heard sounds reminiscent of Elvis, Simple Minds, Human League, the Stray Cats’ Brian Setzer…this was definitely a genre-bending set! Their funky mix of 80’s dance, rockabilly and glam rock got people moving and dancing. Halfway through their set, people were crowding around the stage. This band is definitely a crowd pleaser and a favorite! And their album is coming…can’t wait!
Southern Culture on the Skids (or SCOTs) definitely bends the genres; sometimes alt-country, country rock, rock and roll, sometimes swampy, gator-infested blues and with their latest album they expand just a bit; “The Electric Pinecones” with throwback 60-ish psychedelia music. Check out a few of their latest cuts titled “Grey Skies” and “Freak Flag.” This first song reminded the writer of Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. Rick Miller is the guitarist and does the vocals, Mary Huff on bass and vocals and drummer Dave Hartman. Their songs are expertly crafted with hilarious titles and outrageous lyrics such as the older “Banana Pudding,” the innuendo filled “Eight Piece Box,” “White Trash” and their standard “Daddy Was a Preacher but Mama Was a Go Go Girl,” the latter with Mary Huff on lead vocals. Some of this band’s earliest songs were as if the B-52‘s were playing Blues Rock instead of punk (i.e., “Camel Walk”) and of particular note is Mary’s playful donning of pouffy beehive wigs like Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson.
Their body of work is extensive since this band has recorded an album almost every single year since 1990 and sometimes 2 a year! SCOTs formed in 1983 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and they have a huge following of dedicated fans all over; however, this is definitely a southern rock band and their live performances are very raucous. It was no different at this show and people maneuvered their way to get a prime spot in front of the stage and everyone was moving. Especially notable were all the guys at this show. The men in the crowd outnumbered the women during this performance; not sure why. Perhaps checking out Rick Miller’s impressive guitar skills! This was an amazingly great show! Check out the latest album and don’t miss their live performance if they are playing near you.
Check out more on KOLARS here:
Feb 6th – The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Feb 21st – Will’s Pub – Orlando, FL
Feb 22nd – The Charleston Pour House – Charleston, SC
Feb 23rd – Jack Rabbits – Jacksonville, FL
Feb 24th – Skipper’s Smokehouse – Tampa, FL
Feb 26th – High Dive – Gainsville, FL
Mar 18 – Starry Nites Festival – Santa Barbara, CA
Mar 22 – Treefort Music Festival – Boise, ID
Apr 4 – DC9 – Washington, D.C.
Apr 5 – The Boot & Saddle – Philadelphia, PA
Apr 6 – Great Scott – Boston, MA
Apr 7 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
Southern Culture on the Skids
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