Monday, September 18, 2006

Live: Rum & Rebellion's Last Salinas Show

There was a moment last week during Rum & Rebellion's show, when the Salinas cow-punk outfit let the crowd sing its songs for them.
Lead singer George Sanchez stepped away from the microphone and started singing to noone in particular, as the crowd picked up baton and started singing along. It was one of those moments when a band finds its stride with the crowd, a fleeting occurance when artists work becomes a rallying call.
Rum & Rebellion played, potentially, it's final show in Salinas on Friday night at La Perla Restaurant. I say potentially because while Sanchez is leaving the area, two of its other members, drummer Scott McDonald and bassist Mark, are staying put in the Salad Bowl.
And so, Friday night's show was attended by a small throng of die-hards, myself included, giving the band one last big send-off. Tight as ever, the trio ran through its set with workman-like efficiency. Sanchez name checked all of the local bands the group has shared bills with, including openers The Achievement.
The songs sounded crisp, especially so in a tricky venue like La Perla, where the sound bounces everywhere and unknowing bands can play ear-piercing sets if their amps are turned up too high.
And then there were the moments for the friends/fans. Towards the end, the band grooved through "This Sin," a bluesy-ballad of adultery that was recorded as a duet between Sanchez and his SF homegirl Sunny. Again, the group let the crowd take over, which by this point had circled around the band like a campfire sing-along. Some in the audience even attempted to hit the whistful high notes that Sunny effortlessly achieved on record (most to no avail, on the crowd's part). The band loved every second of it.
And so it was, a quiet ending to a curious era in Salinas cowpunk. Rum & Rebellion will play some dates next month in the SF Bay. There's talk of a record release, time-willing, in the distant future.
But for friends/fans of the band, there will always be the moments, like Friday, when everyone gets to sing along and just take stock of it all.

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