Seattle’s High Dive Hosts Summer Ska & Reggae Showcase With Four Great Bands, by Holly Homan



GTO
Orion Anderson – Guitar | Cale Wilcox – Bass | Timmy Conroy – Keys/Vocals | Harald Bell – Drums | Sean Jensen – Saxophone | Colin Pulkrabek – Trombone

MONKEY
CURTIS “Curtron” MEACHAM – Guitar/Vox
MICAH “MC Brown Crown” TURNEY – Drums
AADITH “Fishbone Army” SRINIVASAN – Bass
DUSTIN “El Duece” JAMES – T-bone/keys

EBF
Ric Penttila – trumpet, Shawn Brockman tenor sax, Liam Barksdale – trumpet and guitar, Brendan DeMille – Bass, his Brother Jeff sat in for awhile, Kelly Van Camp- Drums, Mike Birenbaum, Keys/Vocals, Rick Dybvad Guitar and vocals, Eric Ellsworth- Trombone was absent. Sean Jensen (orbits) sat in on Big Guns Down

FRANKS & DEANS
Rob – Vocals / 4 string, Pip – Drums / Backing vocals, Hoss – Guitar/ Vocals and Sampson – Guitar/Vocals.

On Friday night, July 14th Seattle’s High Dive club hosted the Summer Ska & Reggae Showcase. Two bands performing I was very familiar with and have seen many times. Two bands I had never seen and am now a die-hard fan.

The headliners were Easy Big Fella, a long time Seattle ska favorite (I saw them at the Bumbershoot fest maybe 20 years ago). Easy Big Fella consists of some Natalie Wouldn’t musicians (Shawn Brockman on sax, Rick Dybvad on guitar and vocals & Ric Pentilia on trumpet. EBF had a very lively horn section. When they weren’t blowing their respective horns, Shawn and Ric would try and outdo each other with dance moves. The highlight for me was when they played a cover of Devo’s Uncontrollable Urge, which they totally did justice to. Keyboardist Mike Birenbaum (whom I still say resembles Elton John) performed most the lead vocals with Rick Dybvad taking over on some songs too. Sean Jensen from Georgetown Orbits came out and played sax on Big Guns Down which filled the small club with a full on double sax horn section. It was nectar to my ears. The remainder of Easy Big Fella is, Liam Barksdale – trumpet and guitar, Brendan DeMille – Bass, his Brother Jeff sat in for a while, Kelly Van Camp- Drums, Mike Birenbaum, Keys/Vocals. I could have watched and listened to them all night. Whoever did sound did an impeccable job.

Preceding EBF was a band from San Jose, CA called Monkey. I had never heard of nor seen this band before, but WOW! They were fun! Curtis (Curtoon)Meacham fronted the band on guitar and lead vocals and was non-stop energy. He had to be at least 50 years old, but moved and danced about that stage like he was 20.

Not to be out done, mustachioed Dustin “El Duece” James-(T-bone/keys) strutted and danced from one side of the stage to the other, often doing so with Curtis and the two of them would strut and dance from one side of the stage to the other. There’s an old saying of something being more fun than a barrel full of Monkeys. Perhaps whoever came up with that saying was being prophetic and describing Monkey. I cannot mention enough how much fun they were. The remaining members of Monkey are, Micah “MC Brown Crown” Turney – Drums and Aadith “Fishbone Army” Srinivasan – Bass.

Preceding Monkey was Seattle’s own Georgetown Orbits. If you’ve read my past reviews you know I’ve seen GTO countless times. This band is finally become a cohesive unit again after several personnel changes over the last few years. They played a combination of smooth rock steady to more upbeat ska. Georgetown Orbits now consist of Orion Anderson – Guitar | Cale Wilcox – Bass | Timmy Conroy – Keys/Vocals | Harald Bell – Drums | Sean Jensen – Saxophone | Colin Pulkrabek – Trombone.

Opening the night was a band from Las Vegas calling themselves FrankS & Deans (no one in the band is named Frank or Dean). These guys were highly entertaining. They were a rather motley looking crew but knew how to have fun on stage. A couple times Curtis from Monkey jumped on stage with them for harmonies and stage struts. The one who stole the show though was Nickole Muse. She was part burlesque, part circus show. She wore a skimpy, thonged burlesque outfit and danced about the stage, tantalizing the crowd. At one point she got on the dance floor and did a whole routine with a light up hoola-hoop. This was when the circus performance came in. She almost seemed as though she were doing a ballet with the hoop as she flung it about, slipped in and out of it, and did the splits while spinning it. Franks and Deans were totally amazing and I will absolutely make the effort to go see them again when they decide to make a stop in Seattle. I cannot recommend them enough.

All four bands who played were outstanding. They were great musicians and great performers and judging by the reaction from the audience, everyone had a great time. Besides the aforementioned Nickole, Franks & Deans consists of, Rob – Vocals / 4 string, Pip – Drums / Backing vocals, Hoss – Guitar/ Vocals and Sampson – Guitar/Vocals.

– Photos property of Holly Homan all rights reserved.

Comments are closed.