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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Killing Time w/ the Gasoline Gypsies--Album Release and Show Review

Letting it all hang out with the Gasoline Gypsies!
Just a short review of the outstanding album release show I saw last weekend at Otus Supply featuring Tripp N Dixie, the Mike Leslie Band and the Gasoline Gypsies.  First off, the Parliament Room at Otus Supply continues to evolve into the premier live, local venue in southeast Michigan, presenting the best in both local, and nationally touring acts in an intimate setting, with friendly staff, great bar offerings and some of the best food in town. If you have not caught a show there yet, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit.  On a perfect summer evening, just past the longest day of summer, the Gasoline Gypsies introduced their new EP Killing Time (available on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.com) to a packed house of fans and Port Huron faithful.  What a show!

Rockin' out with Tripp N Dixie!
Kicking off the evening were Pontiac-based Tripp N Dixie, a six-piece electric rock and roll band encompassing everything that defines the Southeast Michigan rock scene--driving rhythms; skin-tight guitar arrangements; and over-the-top vocals.  Frontman  Rozz Rosales is able to capture the mid-90s grunge-rock attitude and stage swagger, with an updated sound defined by his crystal clear, dynamic and soulful vocals.  Guitarists Adam and Mike trade lead and rhythm lines seamlessly.  A driving rhythm section of drums (Scotty), bass (Brian) and Keys (Conner) fill out the band's sound and keeps the crowd on their feet and dancing.  With songs ranging from dark and soulful to bright and energetic, the band's set covered the gamut of modern Michigan rock and proved infinitely interesting and entertaining to watch.  Check them out.

The Mike Leslie Band killin' it!
The evening continued with the Mike Leslie band.  You may be familiar with Mike as the lead guitarist from seminal Seattle-based rock band Candlebox.  On this night, he stepped out with a stripped-down power-trio setup featuring Johnny Albert Abel on bass that absolutely defined "in your face rock and roll".  His high-powered lyrics and killer lead playing could very well have stolen the show this evening, but Mike, always the consummate professional, donned a Gasoline Gypsies tee shirt for the set, remembered to give frequent shout-outs to the bar, and other bands, and even invited the Gypsies on stage for his closing number, a rollicking cover of the Motown classic Heard It Through the Grapevine which featured a "four hands, one bass" solo from Johnny and Steve of the Gypsies. Very entertaining and professional and a must-see act when they make it to a venue near you!

Most of the Gasoline Gypsies (Joe, Caleb and Steve)
Like all good album release parties, the Gypsies played through the entire album (as well as a couple of old favorites) as the night went on.  All the songs this night showcased what makes the Gypsies special--the incredible songwriting, vocals and super-clean lead licks of frontman Caleb Malooley; the lush and complex, sometimes funky bass lines and harmony vocals of Steve Briere; the super-tasty rhythm and lead playing of "new guy" Neal Love--who is really developing a unique style with the band; and--who can forget--the super-clean, super-crisp drumming of Joe Makowski (who ended the night with one of the finest drum solo's I've heard).  Something's Got to Give is a deeply introspective and somewhat haunting ode to lazy days and suffering motivations.  Run Baby Run features toe-tapping, infectious rhythm/melody line supporting some of the best harmonies the boys have recorded to date.  View From the Gallows is a scorching, powerful song that features grinding lyrics and soaring guitar work.   Salem, recorded live, is a driving song that balances Steve's thunderous bass licks perfectly with dueling/twin guitar lines from Caleb and Neal--coupled with killer harmonies, this song is an instant favorite.  The title track Killin' Time is a poignant, angst-ridden power ballad, balancing the dark lyrics with bright, somewhat dissonant harmony vocals.  Norma Jeane is a tune that's been floating around on various YouTube videos and demo CDs for a couple years now and is a funkified favorite of mine--a song that always gets the crowd dancing. Smoke 'n' Chew  is a folk-funky, high-energy, good-time party-rocker that the Gypsies chose to end the night with, and which features an impossible to describe drum solo from Makowski.  I have the Gypsies on my calendar for a couple more shows this month, so watch for more from these guys.  Not bluegrass, but definitely awesome to watch live (though rumor has it Caleb is more than a passing fan of bluegrass, so who knows...).

More pics from the show HERE

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