Sweden’s The Go Getters and So-Cal’s Mike Watt on one night
Tuesday the 11th was a case in point. For a month or more I’d been looking forward with great anticipation to the latest Chico appearance of prog-punk progenitor Mike Watt at the Brick Works. I’ve enjoyed Watt from his incandescent fIREHOSE days to the absolutely transcendent performance of his rock mini-opera Contemplating the Engine Room a few years back. Based on my experience, there’s no such thing as a bad Watt show.
So you’d think the choice of what to do on a night he’s in town would be a no-brainer. Except that on this particular Tuesday the premier hotrod rockabilly band of the nation of Sweden, The Go Getters, was setting up on the miniscule stage of my favorite watering hole, Duffy’s Tavern. And I looooove rockabilly.
So I started off at Duffy’s, where The Go Getters jump-started the evening to a fast train beat while extolling the virtues of a “Hip-Shakin’ Baby” and had the crowd whooping up a storm in no time.
When guitarist Robin Johnson introduced the Johnny Horton classic “[I’m a] Honky-tonk Man,” the band was smiling and sweating in the garrulous manner of true-blue honky-tonk men, and the babes were swing dancing all over the tiny dance floor, which was swamped with reckless abandon when drummer Peter Sandberg rolled into a spirited version of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake Rattle & Roll.” The Go Getters had definitely gone and gotten it and brought it back for the rest of us to revel in.
Then, thanks to my pal Joe Crispin and his little sis Vanessa, I got spirited off to the Brick Works during The Go Getters’ “beer break” and walked in on the beginning of one of the best sets I ever seen Watt—this time around with The Secondmen—perform. Watt is an absolute master of the bass guitar, and he never shows up with guys who can’t keep up with him. I conveniently forgot I was “supposed to be” reviewing The Go Getters until Watt and crew polished off the night with a brilliantly scintillating cover of Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel.”
And then I made it back to Duffy’s in time to catch a roof-raising encore set by The Go Getters that veered from an incendiary version of Eddie Cochran’s “Slow Down” to P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri’s “Secret Agent Man.”
I hated the night to end. On a Tuesday in Chico. Ye gods.