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Slacktone report, 3/25/06 SBI, Melbourne, FL

Man, where to begin...

The venue is one that I hadn't been to in FL before called the Sebastian Beach Inn, right on the water. I went with my wife, my brother, and my fellow Cavefish. (Coincidental anecdote: the SBI was also where Reuben and Patty, Cavefish bassist and rhythm guitarist, respectively, had their first date at a Dick Dale show, during which a space shuttle launched at Canaveral...DD broke into an impromptu version of the "Star Spangled Banner" as the shuttle went up over the ocean. Reuben & Patty are now married with a kid.) The SBI is a pretty fair sized joint, and borrowing a phrase from Dr. Rich, it would take at least 200 people to make the place not look like a barn. There are actually 2 stages - one on the deck outside, overlooking the ocean, the other is inside, where the bands played that evening (it was too chilly outside, otherwise).

So the stage is set, and the Thrusters do their thing. I'd seen the band open for DD about 4 or 5 years ago (DD stories are the lube that keeps the conversations flowing all night, it seemed). They did a few surf tunes...very raw, distorted, and garagey. They threw out a couple of Shadowy Men numbers for Reuben in salute to his SMOASP t-shirt, followed by some vocal numbers ranging from Neil Diamond to Chuck Berry...overall, a fun band, and cool guys.

In what seemed like no time at all, The Thrusters broke down, and Slacktone was up (the fact that Dusty was using The Thrusters' kit helped, I'm sure). Now, I can't say with any certainty which songs came first, or even it what order, it never occurred to me to write them down, but from the first note I was BLOWN AWAY. The original songs I distinctly remember being played..."Blast Bolero," "Rell Sun Aloha," "PCH," "Hitman," "Tiki Bar Crawl, ""Tidal Wave," "Bell's of St Kahuna..." all just completely shook me...if there were any missed notes or flubs, they got past me undetected. Covers included "Baja," "Hawaii 5-0," "Misrlou," and a silky-sweet instro version of "Be My Baby" that was dedicated to Cait of the Defiant Ones. I've seen dozens of shows, surf and otherwise, and I have never seen another guitar player with the energy and technical prowess Dave Wronski brings. Ever.

Now as a guitar player, it's easy to focus on Dave, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the rhythm section...Sam and Dusty are as much the glue that holds the thing together as Dave is. Dusty Watson has to be the hardest-hitting drummer I have ever seen. Lightning fast, hard as nails...everythime there was a break in the drums, it looked as though Dusty, with his head between is knees, would faint, then out nowhere, the seisemic pounding would start again. I've seen Dusty and Sam play with DD....but this is a whole other animal.

Now, just when you think the set is over Dusty announces some friends in the audience...out come Dr. Rich and Cait to throw in a Defiant Ones tune. I'll be apologizing from now to Armageddon, but for the life of me I can't remember the name of the tune they did. By special request, James of the Thrusters joined Dave and the boys back onstage for a final go-round of "Rumble" - and after a brief stab at the first few notes of a Buck Owens tune, the show was over.

After the set, Dave was super cool, guit-geeking with a few of us about what has to be his most worn-through topic: his guitar rig. Now, whether Dave came up to chat with us out of benevolence, or unfounded paranoia that we may have run off with his Echo-plex remains uncertain. I mentioned to him that as a guitar player, I didn't know whether to burn all my gear in a giant bonfire, or quit my day job and lock myself in a room for 6 years with nothing but a porthole for sustinance, a guitar, amp and reverb tank. Dave's response..."Oh, c'mon man (smile) I guess the stuff I play just doesn't seem that hard."

As I posted on the MySpace page...I've never been to The Vatican, or Mecca, or Tibet, but I have seen Slacktone. So I guess those other places really aren't that big a deal.

This story has 2 comments.


Fantastic review Butch...thanks! Slacktone are still very much on my "must see live" list...

Brian | 27-Mar-2006 13:02:48 | Flag

I've been lucky enough to see them several times, and it is worth a journey to see them. They shred.

milesgehm | 29-Mar-2006 01:56:18 | Flag

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