Knights without armor
There are bands that have a retro feel in their music and bands that employ a retro aesthetic in their visual presentation. But most such bands have an obvious patina of effete affectation. Not so the Paladins.
As some anonymous scribe jotted in my notebook while I was fetching a restorative beverage, the Paladins are “cool, man, totally bitchin'.” And I have to agree. The members could have carried their instruments straight out of some parallel reality where the Beatles and punk rock never existed.
The Paladins’ music emanates from a tuck ‘n’ roll universe where all the guys have pompadours, all the chicks have bangs, and all the songs, from surf music to jump blues, swing like a freshly oiled garden gate.
By their second song, dancers were swinging each other all over the outdoor dance floor and Dave Gonzalez’s nimble guitar picking was dancing all over the swingtime rhythms bopping out of Brian Fahey’s vintage drum kit and Thomas Yearsley’s doghouse bass.
From classics such as Chuck Berry’s “Irene” to brand-new originals like “Looking for a Girl Like You,” the Paladins kept the music hot and the vibe cool. Given the pleasant sultriness of the night air, the compelling energy of the music and the high spirits of the crowd, even “the reviewer finally succumbed to the music and had to partake in the festivities,” to again quote my anonymous collaborator.
The set-closing “There’s Good Rockin’ Tonight,” perfectly summed up of the evening’s event and provided a fitting description of what to expect anytime the Paladins come to town.
Especially if the Incredible Diamonds provide the kick-off set.