Surf-Liner cashes in her Frequent Flyer Miles and catches Pollo Del Mar
"Live In Japan Town"
It is a little-known fact that if you enter
San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, and you follow Van Ness and turn
right on Grove Street, you will actually end up in Japan. We had never
been to Japan before, but were surprised at how much it looked like San
Francisco. Being in Japan, we thought we should do as the Japanese do,
and looked for a karaoke bar. We found one that advertised "Live Band!"
so in we went. Much to our surprise, the "live karaoke band" was
none other than Pollo del Mar (apparently there was a slight misunderstanding
in the booking process). Local boy Nobuhiro Hattori introduced the
band, and the introductions sounded very complimentary, but for all I know
he could have been saying that they had really been hoping to book KC and
the Sunshine Band, but somehow ended up with Pollo del Mar instead.
Pollo del Mar played to a select yet diverse
crowd, all of whom cheered wildly with minimal prompting. The event
was actually a benefit for Pollo's friend Craig Falchi, a top-notch mountain
biker who will be participating in a 24-hour mountain bike relay race to
benefit the Leukemia Society. Pollo used the opportunity to make a recording,
which they hope to issue as a live CD.
Because they would be recording, Ferenc
said that they wouldn't be jumping around as much as they usually do. As
it turned out, they really couldn't restrain themselves and were pretty
darn lively. Ferenc was equipped with his foam green Reverend guitar, and
Jono's weapon of choice was his black Stratocaster.
The set kicked off with a powerful performance
of "Teleport," from the group's "The Ocean Is Not for Cowards" CD.
The band continued the onslaught with two tunes from their "Devil and the
Deep Blue Sea" CD, the hard-driving "Cutlass Supreme," then the moody,
mysterious "Annabelle Lee." Ferenc explained that this tune had in
fact been written by the Bard of Baltimore himself, Edgar Allan Poe.
(In fact, the band's name was originally "Poe-llo del Mar.")
Next, the band ventured a pair of cover
tunes, "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" and "The Cruel Sea." These were
performed with the famous Pollo panache, but also with reverence for their
source (The Ventures, "Live in Japan '65") as history repeated itself.
The audience was then treated to an as-yet-unreleased
tune, "A Flash of Green." This tune went at a mid-fast tempo, featured
a cool guitar beginning which returned later in the tune, and some really
nice bass licks from Jeff Turner and his fretless Fender Jazz.
From the newest we went to one of the oldest
Pollo del Mar classics, "Snow Crash," from the group's very first record
(yes, record, not CD).
The group then treated us to a 3-tune medley,
"Four Sticks," (yes, the Led Zep tune) followed by their fine treatment
of "Moon Over Marin,"(yes, The Dead Kennedys) and a rip-roaring "Devil's
Slide" (Pollo's own). Another new tune, "UBIK" featured some powerhouse
drumming by Jeremy on his groovy Gretsch set.
The assembled multitude then took a trip
in Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine, where we listened to what was dubbed
"the Pepsi trilogy": "Baby Elephant Walk," "Music To Watch Girls
By," and Pollo's signature treatment of "Linus and Lucy." A little
closer to the present, the band played another older Pollo favorite, "2314-B."
The band then paid tribute to that famous Seattle-area surf band, Nirvana,
with an arrangement of "Come As You Are." "Playa Pistola" came next,
followed by the big audience participation number, "Gate [accent on the
"e"]." We in the audience did our best to follow the cue card, and
I think we nailed it pretty well, even if some of those words don't sound
like they look. On the topic of audience participation, the intimacy
of the venue and the appreciative crowd made for a lot of back-and-forth
between the band and the audience, which was quite fun.
The band returned to "The Devil and the
Deep Blue Sea" for the sinister "Route 666." We were then regaled
with the *true* story of "Johnny Foo, Ninja Chiropractor." The band
closed with a blistering "Insecticide" with "Misirlou" mixed in.
In response to thunderous applause, whistling and foot-stomping (unusual
for the normally reserved Japanese audience), the band let loose with a
great rendition of "Hawaii Five-O."
Because the band was making a recording,
a couple of tunes were done a second time, and frequent tuning breaks were
taken. No one minded; the band members seemed pretty relaxed and
seemed to be enjoying the show almost as much as the audience. On
the whole, the band was very tight and sounded great.
it at The MART>
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