Thursday, 07 July 2005

Last night it was surf guitar at its finest when Los Straitjackets brought their Summer Twist Party to First Avenue. The Pontani Sisters were there, of course, with their burlesque/go-go revue; as was Kaiser George to pull double duty as announcer and part-time singer.

I was a bit surprised to see them back so soon. They had been here less than a year ago for their Christmas Pageant, which was the first time I saw them live. Previously I had only caught them a couple times on Conan O’Brien, but even then I was hooked.

The Twin Cities was the first stop on their summer tour. I was told they didn’t have much time to practice, but you wouldn’t have known. They were tight and put on a great show. And they have a new drummer too! Jason from The Hi-Risers recently joined the group after Jimmy Lester left the band.

The 90+ minute set included several old favorites, but unfortunately they didn’t do “Batman” or “The Munsters Theme.” On the flip side, they more than made up for it with several new songs along the way.

The opening act was a group called Chrome Johnson. The guy working the merch table described them as being similar to Reverend Horton Heat which, once I heard them, wasn’t quite accurate. What they are is still pretty cool. They’re a San Francisco four-piece that does a rockabilly, gypsy swing, twang sort of thang.

From just the opening song I could tell I was in for a treat. They did several songs off their one and only CD, including a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” I liked it well enough to buy their disc at the show and listened on the way home.

So far Los Straitjackets are 2 for 2. They’ve put on two great shows and introduced me to two bands I never would have found otherwise. You can bet I’ll see them every time they come into town.

Final score for the evening: 3+ hours of live music, 12 autographs (including Chrome Johnson), and 328 pictures. Most of the pictures are crap, but there are 10-12 decent ones with a couple real winners.

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