Rickey and Del do Orangevale

Vlade Divac can’t get no love. On a night when he scored 18 points, pulled down 19 boards and was hustling better than anybody on the floor to help the Kings beat New Jersey, all people could talk about later were his missed free throws.

A win’s a win, baby. Just ask any Raider fan. Besides, who would you rather have at center? Ralph Sampson? Dwayne Schintzus? O.P.?

Even when Divac got called back on the court for the post-game interview, some vanilla disco band started blaring out of the Sky Lounge, drowning out his comments. It was a good time to exit Arco and seek better music—and an under-$7 beer.

Where else to head but Orangevale? Most people associate Orangevale with the Boardwalk, but on this Saturday night, a little biker bar down the street was the place to be: Regan’s Irish Pub, known for great tri-tip sandwiches and the colorful array of Harleys parked out front. It was a night to come in from the cold and celebrate a Kings victory with a steaming acoustic set by Neil Franklin and Gene Smith.

The two former leaders of Kai Kln were performing as “the Rickey and Del Connection.” Playing many of Smith’s solo tunes, a few Kai Kln songs and the odd cover, the duo displayed newfound energy. The guitar-and-drums format works quite well for them, particularly when joined by longtime collaborator Donnie “Cream and Sugar” Snider on congas.

Kai Kln, a staple of the Sacramento music scene for the better part of 10 years, released a few great CDs—check out Vigoda—and gigged around with other great bands like Victim’s Family. The band finally called it quits a little less than two years ago.

Which gave Franklin, already busy with family and work, a chance to closely follow his other passions: the Kings, Raiders and A’s. “I’d been practicing with a band three or four times a week since I was 18,” he says. “And then suddenly I wasn’t really playing at all. So I went to a lot of Kings games.”

Remarkably, Franklin hasn’t had time to attend a Kings game this season. That’s because he and Smith, who live down the street from each other in Carmichael, have been getting together more frequently. It showed at Regan’s.

Franklin was just on fire. Anyone who’s heard him play the drums knows that the guy can get down—think Keith Moon meets Max Roach. He plays with the same passion that he follows his sports teams with, the same passion Divac displayed while hitting the floor for loose balls earlier that evening.

Smith, a fine singer and guitarist, remains an ever-amiable frontman, singing sweetly on one tune, raging with passion the next. Naturally, he and Franklin continue a tradition of engaging each other and the crowd in goofy, between-song banter.

As he rocked late into the night, Franklin, like the many Raider fans in attendance, was thankful that his team wouldn’t play until 1 p.m. the next day.