Ever wonder what fire and brimstone sound like? Two words. The Budrows. On Saturday, August 22nd they played one of their last Southern California gigs with Jesse “El Gato” Borden–on harmonica–at Alex’s Bar. If you’ve been there you know it’s the gypsy bordello of every hillbilly’s dream.
Parched? No Problem. Monitors above the bar help you track down your poison of choice faster than you can say sooey. No Dukes of Haphazard here either. Their staff do a primo job of helping out all their guests (bonus points if you’re hip jerkin’ and knee slappin’). But before any hell raisin’ journey comes to an end it has to start somewhere.
In our case it starts with the electric and gospel sounds of Aposel. With lyrics that leave you humbled and centered, their country guitar riffs and lofty organ sustain are just what the doctor ordered. It’s like going to church, but with beer. Also, there’s a hacked In-n-Out sign pointing to hell towards the stage (don’t worry, your donations dipping secret is safe with us). As Aposel’s sounds sail into the horizon Son of Heatwave get ready.
As you wait you take a seat and listen to tiki-surf drum rolls wrapped in pipeline reverb as nonsensical background chatter begins to permeate. Next thing you know you see Son of Heatwave dock and drop anchor (land ho).
Frontman Jeff Mayfield’s vocals are like an indie blend of Donovan meets Elliot Smith. The band reminds you of the 50 Days of Summer soundtrack. Several of their songs have a lullaby quality and if you listen close enough you hear a xylophone timbre. Definitely along the lines of lofty Scottish or English rock ballads. Once weaned off their set you find yourself hearing Dick Dale and Link Wray on the dance floor speakers as they hand the baton to Travesura.
The trio create rich tones with Leo Romeo’s resonator guitar. Violin lines at hummingbird speed run up and down with rustic charm. A dollop of boogie notes for that honky tonk feel on keyboard. And in an interesting twist of events Son of Heatwave frontman cuts in on the action with vibrato from his musical saw (it’s okay, you can rubberneck). Their voyage soon ends but The Budrows idle by the sand, ready.
Vocalist Macarena Rivera plugs in her electric washboard as you know things are going to heat up. Suddenly you hear a roar. Imagine a 1969 Chevy Camaro blast out from the hull of a ship (yeehaw indeed). That’s The Budrows.
Next thing you know your heart hits the ground running, pumping to the stomping bass drum and tambourine of Jason Farthing’s rhythm. Macarena’s gritty vocals waft like thick southern humidity as your heart stays on beat with her flailing maracas.
Occasional cowbell clicks and clacks play as you drive past a grazing herd. Something starts to form in the field. What could it be?
A whirling inferno. El Gato’s harmonica not only caught fire, it was blazing! Together with Farthing’s cigarbox guitar, and Macarena they couldn’t be stopped.
Catch this rambunctious trio and swing your partner do si do before the group says goodbye to El Gato. The Budrows play Mozambique in Laguna Beach on Tuesday, August 25th and Pike Restaurant in Long Beach this Thursday the 27th.