Punk soul brothers
High jinks and kazoo solos galore: When it first started last summer, Punch and Pie Production’s monthly Punk Rock Hootenanny at The Press Club consisted of a handful of musicians from various bands performing solo for one night.
In the past, unexpected talents even stopped in for a song or two to engage audience members. That happened, for example, when Kevin Seconds dropped in for a three-song performance in December 2012. In any case, the Hootenanny exists mainly as a night for mostly acoustic-style renditions that cover a wide mix of genres from a diverse group of men, women and ages.
Sure, the Hootenanny always has a few scheduled performances, but not even a set list can put a stop to stage high jinks—or hijacks—kazoo solos and the hodgepodge of minisuperbands that suddenly form.
To that end, the show on January 30, was the largest, loudest and most occupied hootenanny to date. The lineup consisted of Danny Secretion (the Secretions), Lys Mayo and Jordan Wolfe (Urban Wolves), Minh Quan (City of Vain), brothers Patrick and Sean Hills (Bastards of Young), plus many others, who all convened to play a variety of hits from the past.
Some did venture to perform solo, while others banded together for covers, such as Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” Jawbreaker’s “Kiss the Bottle,” the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and even a take on the Champs’ “Tequila”—the latter which sent the whole bar shouting or singing along. OK, well, mostly shouting along.
A majority of the night’s performers belonged to either local punk or hardcore bands, but the music selections didn’t solely reflect those two genres. Rather, they often encompassed soul, indie rock, country and blues. Punks carrying out soul covers? Apparently, anything goes at the Hootenanny, punk or otherwise. Two performances paid tribute to ’60s soul man Sam Cooke, with Jordan Wolfe teaming with the Peace Killers’ Andrew Harrison to take on a rendition of “Bring it on Home to Me.” Next, Quan, who plays organ in City of Vain, picked up an electric guitar and softly serenaded the venue solo with a very Ritchie Valens-esque version of Cooke’s “You Send Me.”
Indeed, what last Wednesday’s lineup put together was far from the boundaries of punk rock. Any musician from any background in town is encouraged to inquire and perform. So, if you’re feeling a little Debbie Harry, so be it. Or, perhaps, if you’d like to spice up some Hank Williams, have at it.
Judging by last week’s music selections alone, the Hootenanny is really about giving an array of local talents the chance to perform whatever the hell they’re into, with whoever they’d like, when they’re not alongside their usual bands.
It’s a night of familiar songs all audience members can really get behind and enjoy with friends and, of course, cheap tall cans.
Toward the close of the evening, bar patrons witnessed Danny Secretion’s makeshift Auto-Tune-like device—except instead of emitting horrible T-Pain robot noises, they were serenaded by the upbeat hums of a kazoo taped to the side of the singer’s mic.
Secretion, first seen keeping the beat as house drummer for several of the night’s minisuperbands, later busted out a banjo for the Secretions’ song “Three Chords and a Fuck You” and had everyone in the bar screaming “Yeehaw!” in lieu of part where the crowd usually shouts “Fuck you!” Seriously, the guy was everywhere. But it was his satirical performance of Johnny Rebel’s “The South Shall Rise Again” that had everyone oddly in high spirits.
Secretion clearly handpicked humorous tunes for the occasion; here, he prefaced the song by explaining that he’s from south Sacramento. In other words, he clearly has the cred to poke fun at any Rebel tune.
After a night of kazoo solos, hours of lineup variations and numerous appropriate or inappropriate cover songs, the Hootenanny ended with a stage hijack. The Peace Killers commandeered instruments left onstage and performed some of their original songs. Then, in the spirit of the evening, they ended the night with a bluesy, down-tuned version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful.”
Hey, anything goes at the Hootenanny.