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2013 Fruitgum Co. AKA the Gum and The Guardians Cook Up Another Fun Night At Darrell’s Tavern, By Holly Homan

IMGP9186[1]Friday night February 8 took me once again to Darrell’s Tavern in Shoreline just north of Seattle. Darrell’s has become quite the happening place and is the ideal venue to see burgeoning local acts.

This night was no exception. The Paul Lynde Fan Club was on the schedule but cancelled at the last minute. The 2013 Fruitgum Co., AKA “the Gum,” headlined the evening. The Gum is fronted by legendary frontman Rob Morgan who fronted the equally legendary Squirrels who graced Seattle stages for 25 years. Also rocking this streetcred supergroup are ROD MOODY (The Fuzz, Green Handshake, Spike, etc.) on lead guitar and vocals, DAMON TITUS (The Enemy, Big Fun, The 79ers, etc.) on guitar and vocals, CASEY ALLEN (The Life, Jimm & The Boxes, The Jess Grant Conspiracy, Wild Debbies, etc.) on bass, vocals and VICTOR HART (Severhead, The Fakes, Burma Shave, Strange Fruit, etc.) on drums.

Starting out the evening was The Guardians — a six-piece with two guitars, drums, a bass, a singer and a female keyboard player. I’m seeing more and more female band members, which is a great thing to see in a field that has been traditionally heavily male. The Guardians played pleasantly pop that held elements of The Kinks and perhaps a pinch of Simon and Garfunkel at times. Their songs were melodic and often catchy with quirky but deep and intelligent lyrics. They did a great job warming up the sizable crowd and were well received.

When The Gum came on stage, it was obvious Rob Morgan had not lost his talents as one of the best front men Seattle audiences have had the privilege to witness. His boundless energy had him bouncing around the tiny stage like a Super Ball. He also frequently wandered into the enthusiastic crowd, serenading people, then even ventured outside and into the parking lot, cordless mic in hand, where he kept singing away, before meandering back inside and onto the stage again.

The musical content consisted of cover songs, many of which I’d blissfully forgotten the existence of. Such as the bubblegum song, “Quick Joey Small,” made famous in 1968. Morgan was backed by two guitarists, a bass player and a wild drummer who looked like Ron Wood’s evil twin who just escaped from an insane asylum. Briefly, The Gum were joined by famous Seattle singer Ava Chakravarti (once known as Ava La Bamba). Suffice to say, The Gum ROCK OUT! Rob Morgan manages to find himself the finest musicians in the biz and this show was no exception. Morgan has not lost his sense of humor either. After playing Bread’s “Mother Freedom” (that was pumped up, hard grinding rock and roll), he wasn’t satisfied with the way it sounded and explained that although the band practiced the song at least five times in the last week, “you can only polish a turd so much.” He also made a joke about Macklemore having nothin’ to fear from him.

Word of advice though, for anyone heading to Darrell’s: Everything in Shoreline closes at eleven p.m. sharp. I realized just after The Gum hit the stage, that I forgot to put the card back in my camera. It was 11:15 and everything was closed. Fortunately I live a mile away and was able to run home and, retrieve the card and only miss a few minutes of The Gum’s performance.

After The Gum left the stage, the break tape blasted the voice of God (Ray Davies for all you blasphemers). It was “Destroyer,: so I had to stick around. Another fun night at Darrell’s Tavern was had by all in attendance.

Holly Homan

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