The Power of East Coast Surf

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2/4/06 - The Outpatients, Clams, Mofos, and East Coast Tremors in NYC


Last Saturday's Surf Shindig ( was probably one of the best yet for a variety of reasons. First of all, this was the first time all four bands had played as part of an Unsteady Freddie Surf Shindig at Otto's. Several of the bands traveled quite far, The Clams from upper CT, The Mofos from Ithaca, and the East Coast Tremors all the way from Cape Cod, MA. Thanks goodness we had locals, The Outpatients, to represent our hometown of New York! For many in the audience this was the first time we had heard one or more of the bands.
But best of all was the fact that this was the most professional and organized Surf Shindig yet. Freddie & Otto's really have this down to a science and it showed.
The Outpatients stepped on stage right around 10 pm and kicked surf-butt with a very well put together set of all instro classics. They filled the back room of Otto's with a truckload of twang and reverb. The technique that these gentlemen play with is a tribute to the bands and tunes they cover,  such as Link Wray's "Slinky", the SCOTS' "Skullbucket" and the very blue-sy music of Fred E. King. Exotica, blues, western, swing, surf and all wrapped in reverb. My only complaint is that the set was too short, but it was time to make room for The Clams.
And The Clams need lots of room as they are a FIVE-piece bucket jam-packed with Jimbo, Brain, Dano, Magic Wanda & Oceana. You gotta love the Clamdiggers in matching white boots & ocean-view dresses. They are classic & classy. The Clams opened with "Wipeout", which is all it took to bring the folks in from the bar. The room quickly became filled with folks dancing in the aisle to "My Favorite Martian" and Jimbo's bouncing bass in "Clam Nebula". My favorite tune of the set and the night is the Clams version of "Telstar", which starts out sweet & dreamy, but the pace picks up as does Dan-o's playing. The set closed with "Miserlou", which Tricia Tarantino promptly dubbed the NESMA national anthem. I must agree!
I wasn't prepared at all for what happened next. The Mofos happened, that's the best way to put it. I should have known when I saw the Marshall stack belonging to bassist Eric that we were in for a wild ride. The crowd packed in, without breathing room and inches from the stage. I had never seen the Mofos before. They play all instro with accompaniment by a interpretive and talented go-go dancer named Maria. Gary's powerful, metal-like lead guitar playing drives the audience to the edge of a cliff and dares them to jump. It was a mix of Sabbath, Zeppelin, and surf. And Matt never missed a beat on the house kit. When their set was over I think the whole room felt as if they had run a marathon, so it was off to the bar for refreshments while we waited for the last band, The East Coast Tremors.
The East Coast Tremors are a talented and generous band. I don't ever recall a band offering to give their CD away to an entire audience before, but that's what the ECT did at the end of their set on Saturday night. (Actually, I am listening to it right now.) The ECT line up - Dave: rhythm & lead; Jared: also rhythm & lead; Jeff: bass; and Lee: drums. There is a 5th ECT who couldn't make it, Chris: organ & percussion. But if you were lucky & smart enough to stay for the last band you are probably listening to them right now too. The ECT is a clean sounding trad surf band with two lead & rhythm guitarists that play off one another and  routinely change places, even during the songs. They are a finely-tuned surf machine. The music ranged from the Latin-lovely "Chupa Cabra" to gypsy-ethno surf. However, it was all hard-hitting without being skull-splitting. Pity they hail from Cape Cod. I guess we all better take a road trip to see them, like they just did for us. (Think I'll play the CD again!).
Well, this brings me to the end of the Unsteady Freddie Surf Shindig Numero Dos. I eagerly await the rest of the year. Te amo my amigos & amigas. Hasta luego! 
Official NESMA Reviewer


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