A question that most everyone answers at least once in their life goes like this: “What would your theme music be that would play everytime you walk into a room, walk down the street, etc.”…for some, it might be the theme from ‘Shaft,’ for some it might even be the theme from ‘The Greatest American Hero,’ but who am I to judge?…for me, I’m not sure if I could pick a particular song, but I know for sure that my theme music would be a reverb-drenched surf instrumental…

I’ve seen many surf bands over the years, from the legendary (Dick Dale) to the local (the inexplicable surf band from Bucks County that opened for Dick Dale)…this past Wednesday, I witnessed a surf spectacular with two of the bands that do it best in the surf world today…the show was a double bill with Los Straitjackets and Laika & The Cosmonauts…while I’ve seen Los Straitjackets a few times before (and will likely see them again), this was my first and last time seeing Laika & The Cosmonauts…that’s not because I didn’t enjoy them, it’s because this is the Finnish surf combo’s farewell tour…the group has been made up of the same four guys since its inception 20 years ago…at the end of this tour, they’re amicably calling it quits, and have even released a retrospective, Cosmopolis, to commemorate their long career…

Laika‘s set was very impressive…they are all extremely talented musicians, and, because they don’t speak very much English, they kept the chatter between songs to a minimum…I have a few of their albums, but only recognized a handful of songs they performed…the good thing about surf music is that it’s not always about whether you know the song or not (because, I’ll admit it, a lot of it sounds the same), it’s about the song’s mood and energy…Laika & The Cosmonauts are also experts at making both the classic, rave-up surf and the more spooky, film music-inspired surf…it was a great show, though it’s a shame that, after this tour is over, such great talent will likely be channeled into making cell phones…they are Finnish, after all…

Psycho & Vertigo!

As it was a double bill, I was excited once Laika were done, because there was still a whole set from the masked men of surf to come…next to The Ghastly Ones (who I’ll see one of these days), Los Straitjackets are, without a doubt my favorite surf band…amidst a lot of the same-sounding surf that’s out there, the distinct tone and style of Eddie Angel‘s guitar tears through each song in a manner that would make the late Link Wray proud…Los Straitjackets are very high on the ‘schtick’ factor, and it never gets old…this was my third time seeing them, and their silly ‘choreography’ during certain songs still makes me smile…

Vamos a La Casbah!

Along with favorites “Itchy Chicken,” “Kawanga!” and “Tailspin,” the guys did a few new songs, like “Fortune Cookie” and “Challenger,” which are probably going to be on a new album…they also did their wild version of “Sing Sing Sing,” with new(ish) drummer Jason “Teen Beat” Smay doing some incredible drum fills…Dad commented that it’s amazing that his arms didn’t fall off by the end of the night…after the show, I got a Mexican import live album, which has versions of a lot of songs that aren’t on their previous live record…I’m anxious to hear a new album of theirs that is primarily surf; the forays into twist music with Kaiser George and ‘rock en espańol’ with Big Sandy were entertaining, but really gimmicky, even for them…

I’ll save the write-up of The Magnetic Fields for a different post, which should be along shortly, but first a few things:

As always, more pictures of Laika & The Cosmonauts and Los Straitjackets can be found here

For a change, here’s a post about me on a different blog


Lyric of the Time:
So be kind to your mother
Though she may seem an awful bother
And the next time she tries to feed you collard greens
Remember what she does when you’re asleep


~ by E. on October 29, 2008.

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