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Friday, 29 June 2012 13:38

Concert review: The Derailers (with the Dock Ellis Band) scuttle and stomp through the heat at Off Broadway, Thursday, June 28

Concert review: The Derailers (with the Dock Ellis Band) scuttle and stomp through the heat at Off Broadway, Thursday, June 28 derailers.com
Written by Matt Sorrell
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Blame the heat I suppose, but the crowd that turned out for the Derailers' show at Off Broadway last night was sparse, downright puny even.

But the hearty folks who did brave the temps got treated to a tight, rollicking show from a band of veteran musicians that played like they were at the Grand Ole Opry. Although they officially hail from Austin, Texas, the Derailers' sound is solidly rooted in the streets of Bakersfield, California. Vocalist and guitarist Brian Hofeldt ably channeled Buck Owens' signature yelp on Derailers originals like "Play Me The Waltz Of The Angels" (which the late Mr. Owens guested on on record) and "One More Time," as well as Owens covers like "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass?"

The band careened through a selection of songs from their nine studio records, drawing heavily on early releases like "Jackpot," "Reverb Deluxe" and "Full Western Dress" as well as a complement of tunes from 2008's "Guaranteed To Satisfy" and a few select covers.

While The Derailers are proud practitioners of the honky tonk arts, the band's music is also firmly rooted in 1960's-era vocal pop, rockabilly and surf styles, all of which were on full display during the show. "Alone With You," from the "Genuine" record, had a plaintively blue Roy Orbison-esque vocal tinge, while the instrumental "Country A Go-Go" featured reverb-drenched spiky guitar lines and a huge drum sound that would've been at home on any Ventures record. The band's cover of The Crystals' "Then (She) Kissed Me" was pure Brill Building candy-coated confection.

In honor of their visit to the Lou, the band closed out the set with a rocking version of "Johnny B. Goode." The performance had Hofeldt tearing off licks from his silver sparkle Telecaster that were equal parts Chuck Berry and James Burton, while keyboardist Basil McJagger acted as a conduit to allow the ghost of Johnnie Johnson to tickle the ivories one more time. The encore of "Scratch My Itch" -- off of "Genuine" -- seemed fairly superfluous after such an instrumental tour de force.

Local favorites the Dock Ellis Band opened the show with a fine selection of drinkin' and leavin' songs. The set was filled with plenty of writing essay lyrical hyperbole, large dollops of profanity and a generous portion of off-kilter humor, along with a country groove that got the dance floor properly warmed up. Special kudos goes out to the couple that somehow two-stepped through "Dumpster Baby" without a trace of a smile on either of their faces. They had no time for listening to smart-alecky lyrics; they were there to dance.

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