Front man and all-around charming entertainer, Darryl Grandison came on stage wearing a white SeaHawks knit cap making him look like a giant Q-tip. He began the show by standing at the back of the stage and giving a long, drawn out introduction of the band as if delivering a sermon. Meanwhile David “Ozzie” Giles played his keyboard like a church organ. When he finished introducing his band, Darryl emerged to stage front and is joined by co-vocalist Bridgid Roney and the harmonies began. Their two voices are very different, yet blend together beautifully in a way I haven’t heard since the days of the Power Mowers and Picketts. Throw in the charisma they both exude and back up their exquisite vocals with an impeccable horn section that is both smooth and energetic, add guitar, bass and drums and you’ve got some of the finest ska ever! This is the way ska was intended to be played.
Unfortunately most people left shortly after the Orbits came on stage and I don’t know why. Perhaps because they’re catering to an older audience — many who frequent Darrell’s have been part of the NW music scene for decades — and they all want an early bed. For all you party poopers, you missed the best part of the show! GT Orbits will be opening for NYC ska legends The Slackers on March 3 at the Crocodile. Be there!Having gotten to Darrel’s at 9:30 I was in time to see three bands in addition to GT Orbits. The first band to take the stage after I arrived were The Lucky Boys. This band is fronted by Kim Green who sported a turquoise tinged Mohawk, black fishnet stockings and tattoed arms. This is a band that kicks you in the teeth and keeps on kicking for the entirety of their set. The Lucky Boys raged with raw energy like a speeding freight train and never let up. My one complaint was that the vocals sounded weak in the sound mix and it was difficult to make out what Kim sang, but The Lucky Boys are a must see for any hard core punk fans.
Only when the smoke cleared after The Lucky Boys’ set was the next band able to take the stage. This was Seattle’s Hartwood — a very American country rock band with a sense of humor to boot. They came out donning cowboy hats, blue jeans, embroidered shirts, plaid shirts and tongues planted firmly in cheeks. Hartwood is a very versatile band with some members trading instruments. They put on an amazing show and I think stole the night. After their set ended, I heard many acclamations of how amazing this band was. There were guitars, a banjo player and a keyboard player with thick hair half way down his back and sporting dark glasses. He would often do a mock Stevie Wonder routine while pounding the keys. Hartwood are not only fine musicians, they are very entertaining as well. I highly recommend them.
Following Hartwood was Jilly Rizzo from Renton, WA. This six-piece played hard and fast. They consisted of two guitars, bass, drums, a sax player and male/female harmonies. The band is fronted by a sturdy man with polished pate who often ventured out to the floor to dance with the crowd. They also employed a lot of humor with songs such as “A Black Baby’s Cuter Than A White Baby Is,” which basically repeated those lines over and over and fast, with grinding guitars being the driving force. Another song called “All You Ever Do IS Talk About Your Kid: reminded me of the Ramones’ “Beat On the Brat.” Another of their songs was called “I Like You Better When You’re Drunk.” Jilly Rizzo is definitely a band with a unique twist and that makes them highly recommended in my book.
This was a long night of great bands filling the tiny space that is Darrell’s Tavern, and I was very glad I stayed ’til the sweet, succulent end. The Georgetown Orbits NEVER disappoint and I discovered some more bands I never knew existed.
Photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.