Gonzai Gallery

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The Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods
Big Ray
It's a Fender Telecaster, by the way. Bryce and I went to Rams Head Onstage in Annapolis last night for a split bill of our fave Roots Cafe mainstay Bill Kirchen, and Los Straitjackets, whom I only knew by their Christmas CD and Bryce didn't know at all. The night began fortuitously, as I found an unoccupied parking meter 50 feet from the door, with 5 minutes left before it didn't need feeding. Awesome. Not quite so hot when we got inside, the venue was charging $22 for the bands' CDs (!) and I had an insistently mediocre crab cake sandwich for dinner. I've had much better for much less money. Ah well.

Turned out the folks at our table hadn't heard of the Straitjackets either. By the end of the set, they bought the band's entire discography. Seriously. The band was offering their whole catalog by digital download for $83. With 15 albums involved, a good deal. I probably should've sprung for it myself, but I settled for a CD and a 7" single. The Straitjackets are, admittedly, gimmicky. They all wear Mexican wrestling masks, matching black & white suits, matching gold & silver Fender guitars, speak only in Spanish onstage even though they're from Nashville, and do a lot of coordinated moves. They might also be the tightest band I've ever seen, and a ton of fun.  I snapped a couple surreptitious pics (you weren't supposed to take pics, but so many people were flash bulbing away without penalty I figured I could take a few sans flash.) Best one:

And from the band's web site:

Then it was Bill time. Turns out Bill's moving back to Texas again (he seems to switch between Maryland and Texas every few years) effective today. He brought in his frequent drummer and Roots Cafe regular Jack O'Dell and a new bassist, and they had it. Lots of Commander Cody tunes, including the 'Hazardous Materials Trilogy' (wine, marijuana and bennies), 'I Might Have Been A Lawyer (But I Couldn't Pass The Bar)', and lots of stuff from his two newest CDs, 'The Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods' and 'Word to the Wise'. Not such a tight band, esp following the Straitjackets, but a load of fun, most definitely. We hung around after long enough to say hi to Bill and Jack, and to meet most of the Straitjackets (the drummer had already left) who look absolutely nothing like you would think.

A very good night.


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