Wednesday, April 11, 2012

House Of Vibe : Kickin' It Live :
Robin Leach Teaching Me How To Really Survive

House Of Vibe is a supersonic soul machine with love and life and verve and swerve. Swagalicious in nature and generous to a fault, HOV live and breathe music. Their reverential attitude towards music and songs and performing and voices together creates a unifying existence that is expressed weekly on Wednesdays at Harvelle's Santa Monica. Guests always abound - including ANON (left), Dessy DiLauro, Ric'key Pageot, Ultralove, Vonyse, Ijeoma Njaka, Freewill, Raphael "Tweet" Brown and a 3 piece skinheads horn section who blended nicely with horn-y HOV stalwarts Shaunte Palmer, Sebastian "Seabass" Leger and Jaman Laws. Anthony Brewster as leader conducts his orchestra (which also consists of Amy Lou on percussion, Greg Raymond on keys, Pete Antunes and Fish on drums, Corey Cofield and Colin Wolfe on bass). Mainstay rappers Deploi and Jon Swift always represent The Westside Tribe.

Amy Lou warns y'all. Don't get her mad. You wouldn't like her mad.

Dessy Di Lauro
Tweet and Colin 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blues And Burlesque : A Monster Combo

Blues and burlesque seem like a perfect combo. Especially dirty, grimy blues. Fucked up blues. Deranged bluesmen pumping three chords louder and louder, twin guitars dueling while the harp player blows like a hurricane and a singer in a red three-piece suit bellows through a homemade bullhorn, which only serves to distort and fuck things up further. Molly, a burlesque dancer of some note and a Toledo Show "Dame", threw herself around like a voluptuous rag doll, psychotically blazing a sexy scene to the delight of both the boys in the band and the folks on the floor. Take a look for yourself:

The Band is 'Smokehouse' Brown (guitar), 'Pink' Arguello (vocals), Henry Carvajal (guitar), Tom Fillman (drums), Johnny Mastro (harmonica) and Bobby Tsukamoto (bass).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ultralove! On The Promenade

I ran into my man Ultralove busking down on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. He treated me to a version of the sad blues lament Strange Fruit. Written by Abel Meeropol in 1939, it was made famous by Billie Holiday. Ultralove performs every Monday night at Harvelle's in Santa Monica with a full band.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE BONESHAKERS : Gettin' Down Just For The Funk Of It

Randy Jacobs & SweetPea Atkinson
The Boneshakers!

Rattling your sacroiliac to the groove of some of the funkiest players around, is what them Boneshakers is all about.

Randy Jacobs is the lead guitarist and one of the most underrated players currently out there. Sans pick, R.J. slices up his axe using everything and anything - fingers, thumbs, the palm of his hand, his wrist... whatever. And it produces some of the sweetest, dirtiest funk that a man can coax out of a machine made merely of wood and metal and wires.

Randy's partner-in-crime is the OG soul singer SweetPea Atkinson. A man who when he isn't sweetly crooning and smiling at the girls in the audience, has a scowl on his face - a mean gangsta scowl - like he's got a blade in his pocket, and he ain't afraid to use it. Thankfully, I've never actually seen him angry (well once, he was really pissed off at someone who wasn't around and his demeanor changed and out came a string of swear words like I never heard before!!!) SweetPea of course loves old soul music and has told me stories about the old days traveling around singing, swinging', doin' his thang. He loves The Staple Singers and we've spent a great deal of time talking about the famed L.A. concert in 1972 known as Wattstax. He wasn't there, but those are his contemporaries and he's got great stories from back in the day.

Y'know earlier today, I was thinking about some of my musical heroes who have passed on and how sad it is that I will never again see Isaac Hayes, Gil Scott-Heron or Billy Preston. These 3 artists in particular have brought me uncountable hours of entertainment (and knowledge), and I was privileged enough to see each one of them at least a dozen times in various venues, either headlining or backing someone. 

It is with these thoughts in my head that I wanna shout-out SweetPea Atkinson, an oldie but a goodie and also James Gadson. Gadson invented some of the funkiest beats in music, backing Charles Wright and Bill Withers among others. Still alive and kicking, he used to play every Monday night at Harvelle's where I was always in attendance digging' on the authentic grooves from this legendary drummer.

Cheers to Don Was who was in the house tonight!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

MONOPHONICS : This One Goes Out
To My Man The Groove Merchant

Tonight at Harvelle's Santa Monica MONOPHONICS are taking over [official website]. From the Bay Area, they are just signed to UBIQUITY (one of the coolest labels ever!)

from the press release:
Monophonics were formed in '05; originally a instrumental ensemble comprised of guitarist Ian McDonald, bassist Myles O’Mahony, saxophonist Alex Baky, trumpeter Ryan Scott, and drummer Austin Bohlman, the band has recently added the dynamic soul vocals of keyboardist Kelly Finnigan. The result is a psychedelic soul & heavy funk sound, which harks back to the stylings of the late '60s and early '70s, all while keeping its feet planted in the present.

Their Ubiquity debut, In Your Brain is now available for Pre-Order. Also be on the look out for a special 7'' to be released on Record Store Day.

San Francisco and it's out laying townships and suburbs have a long history of soul funk, psychedelic soul, acid jazz, rare groove, and other unclassifiable yet deeply funky stuff. Not just the known stuff from the 60s and 70s, like Tower Of Power and Sly & The Family Stone, but obscure artists like The Propositions, The Mighty Ryeders, and Spanky Wilson, continuing through to modern bastardizers  like Limbomaniacs, Primus, Deli Creeps, Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, new traditionalists like T.J. Kirk, Charlie Hunter and Mo'Fessionals and revivalists like Mike James Kirkland, Orgone and Monophonics, going strong today.

I spent much of the late eighties and early nineties making regular trips to San Francisco specifically to The Groove Merchant* to collect rare vinyl and everything on the Luv N Haight label which was primarily vintage tracks no one ever heard, available for the true groove connoisseur, the true crate digger looking for the ultimate head bobbing track. In the Beastie Boys song Professor Booty, they pay tribute: "This one goes out to my man the Groove Merchant/ Coming through with beats for which I been searching". Brilliant. Many Luv N Haight titles are available [here].

Of course, with YouTube and mp3s and funk blogs and many compilations from all over the planet filling every nook and cranny and every niche genre, it's all well documented and readily available. But there's nothing like hearing it live.

MONOPHONICS are blasting off tonight at Harvelle's 1432 4th St. in Santa Monica (between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd). Come down, it'll do your soul some good.

*note: the URL doesn't seem to work any longer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vintage Trouble in Long Beach : Love With Me!!
Comin' Soon To A Shore Near You!

Ty Taylor sings his soul out
Celebrating it's six months in existence, Harvelle's in Long Beach hosted the mighty Vintage Trouble on Friday Mar 9. VT started their career with a weekly residency in 2010 at Harvelle's Santa Monica, and they've been touring and recording and making fans around the world ever since. Tonight was their first L.A. (adjacent) performance since January when they sold out The Troubadour in Hollywood. The night was filled with the hardcore fans (aka Troublemakers) along with the curious, as well as locals who just happened to be there because it's Harvelle's and a Friday night, which is always a great combo.

VT has been in the studio and is on the verge of releasing their 2nd album of dynamite hits and rockin' soon-to-be classics!  So tonight was a soulful work-out of the new stuff and some new arrangements of the favorites. You know how these guys rock! 

Rock n' roll with it baby : Nalle Colt and his Les Paul
Richard Danielson pounds the skins into submission
Rick Barrio Dill is straight up steady mobbin'!
With the new album in the can, Vintage Trouble are off to Austin, TX for SXSW, and then they're on tour with Van Hunt and later this year Lenny Kravitz! With less than a quarter of 2012 gone, this is shaping up to be a truly stellar year for the boys in the band.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

C.J. Emmons : Make It Funky... Make It Smooth....
A Westside Wednesday Thang

If you haven't heard C.J. Emmons sing, you're missing out...
But you're not alone. An emerging artist in a vast wasteland of wannabes, C.J. is the real deal. This Wednesday at Harvelle's in Santa Monica, C.J. will be doing his thang!! (see video below)

With a fresh take on R & B music, C.J. Emmons uses his substantial gift for purposes of beauty, love, peace and soul. C.J. is so unique and gifted that he can't really be categorized one way or another. C.J. can sing anything, and like an ethereal reincarnation of Luther he delivers until he can't deliver any more. He'll make you sweat, he'll make you feel mighty real. (C.J.'s band is House Of Vibe's Kris Hawkins-guitar, Scott “Bugs” Allen-bass, Keith Williams Jr-drums and Marcus Johnson-keys).

Check out C.J.'s CD "Whatever Happened To Christopher Jermain"

Follow C.J.
official website
facebook e-vite

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vintage Trouble : Get Ready Long Beach! This Friday!

Calling all troublemakers, pelvis pushers, dirty mouthed straight-shooters and music fans from all walks of life, this Friday Harvelle's is proud to welcome Vintage Trouble to Long Beach. VT played every Tuesday night at the original Santa Monica location in 2010/2011, but Friday they will christen the new Harvelle's in Long Beach! Y'all know the deal...

...and if you don't know what Vintage Trouble is all about, check out this video of them live playing Get It (Before What's To Be Got Is Gone)!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

KOFFEEHOUSE: Thursday Night Session with
Garrison Starr, Jamestown Revival,
Jake Newton & Satellite

Join us on Thursday, March 1st, 2012 when Koffeehouse and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) present their monthly "Koffeehouse Sessions" showcase at Harvelle's Santa Monica. Featured artists GARRISON STARR at 8PM, JAMESTOWN REVIVAL at 9PM, JAKE NEWTON at 10PM and SATELLITE at 11PM!

From 6:30PM-8:00PM, Koffeehouse will have its JAM Session featuring some of LA's most talented and up & coming artists play 2 songs each.

Doors at 6:00PM. The showcase will be hosted by Anastasia Roark!

This is a 21+ show.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Everything Old Is New Again

Friday Kind Of Love is a new night with a familiar feel and a retro groove. with DJ Unieq on the wheels, he mines deep into the world of Motown, Doo-wop & old soul for tracks you never thought you'd hear again.

Live music was a hot attraction, and with The St. Jukes Band  (Daniele Decario (b), Clarence Walker(k), Froy Arajuo(sax), Gabi Basurto(d), Tetsuya Moriguchi(g/md)) - the night was filled with harmony provided by the vocal quartet of Jeremy Erwin, Ombrey DeGrate, Lyndsay Haldorson & Bobby Dillard. Their versions of some of the greatest songs in music history kept the audience on their feet and singing along!

Additionally, The Velettes - dressed like a glam burlesque version of The Supremes - kept those in attendance delighted with their choreographed performances throughout the night. (The Velettes are Charlene Rose, Sascha Escandon & Kelsey McCowan)

Friday Kind Of Love is the concept of club producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon (The Floor Improv Night, The Show). Their vision of a night with feel good music, no pretense, and of course - lots and lots of dancing - has captured the attention of club goers of all ages and backgrounds. Friday Kind Of Love is held at Harvelle's in Long Beach.
[Harvelle's Website]
[The Floor Productions Website]

The early start time (6pm) allowed for master barber K.G. Superstar to give complimentary straight-razor shaves in a barber shop set-up in an area of the venue. 
Lyndsay Haldorson gives us a warning that she's trouble!! (You Know I'm No Good)

Ombrey does Amy proud!! (Me & Mr(s). Jones)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Soul Music Friday : Tasha Taylor & Dessy DiLauro

If you like Soul, R&B and women who can sing, then tonight , you should come down to Harvelle's in Santa Monica! These two diverse yet equally original artists will make your Friday one to remember!

Dessy DiLauro brings her fro-hawked, Harlem renaissance influenced, hep-hop, jumpin', jivin' show in support of her latest record "You Won't Be The Boss" (featuring Deploi). The singer who has affiliations to House Of Vibe and Cirque Du Soleil, always brings her "A" game, singing her heart out and winning audiences over from here to Montreal.
Tonight she'll be supported by her band The Hep Cats.

Opening the night at 9:30, Tasha Taylor will be throwing down a set of soul and R&B in support of her album Taylor Made. Daughter of '70s R&B legend Johnny Taylor, Tasha is a wonderful vocalist who's warmth and soothing sounds will rock you gently into the midnight hour.

FRIDAY KIND OF LOVE : From Sa-Ca with...

Who doesn't love soul music and the comfort of knowing all the words to those great songs from that by-gone era?

Brilliant club producers Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon are bringing this vibe to Harvelle's in Long Beach. Let's get together and dance & sing and enjoy live music, doo-wop singers, dance performances and custom cocktails! DJ Unieq will be spinning golden "dustys", and fresh tracks to keep us dancing. Master barber K.G. Superstar will be available for straight razor shaves (6-8pm). This will be a night for all the senses!

Harvelle's LB is located at 201 E. Broadway below The Congregation Ale House.
[FKOL Facebook invite]
[Harvelle's Details]

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Pitter-Patter of Bump 'N' Grind :
Bongo Fury Returns To Harvelle's (Long Beach)

Dateline : February 17 2012. Long Beach, CA

The return of Bongo Fury - Walter Davis' afro-cuban-latin-jazz-burlesque night  - a huge draw in Santa Monica a couple of years ago now back into production at the Harvelle's in Long Beach. It's been well documented in this blog that BF is responsible for the very inception of my relationship with Harvelle's, Walter and Carolina; the reason I perform poetry is due in part to the encouragement of Walter.

Carolina Cerisola (right->) has inspired many photos, a poem or two, and her spirit and life outlook have kept me lifted. She is very wise, a true internationalist and someone whose moves I follow (figuratively and literally). With her business partner Sascha Escandon, they have created The Floor, and this Friday (Feb 24) they kick-off Friday Kind Of Love - at Harvelle's Long Beach; an exciting new night where the groove is set to sweet sweet soul.

Although her heart and home is Buenos Aires, Argentina, Carolina is a fixture in Hollywood, she's a heroine to some and inspires others she doesn't even know. When people speak of her without her present it is always with reverie and joy. I see the look on people's faces when she dances; they smile. They forget everything else. They're mesmerized and elated by her every movement. She makes people happy by dancing.

It was great to see Bongo Fury again. Walter's group - which reunites drummer Asa and percussionist Timbali also features Shadarius Shields on bass - laid down the tribal wickedness, and brought out the afro/latin/cuban vibe without kitsch. Dancer Zepha (<-left) took to the new room like a fish to water - if a fish had hips - and worked the room like she'd been there a million times before. This simple combo of cool jazzy live music with ridiculously talented dancers is a winner every time! (The show also features DJ Paper spinning club hits, hip-hop, oldies, soul and eclectica.)

There are lots of burlesque shows in town. 
There are a couple of great ones - shows I try to never miss, but Bongo Fury has a special place in my heart and no matter where or when it happens, I'm there!

Thanks -  the BF crew (Walter, Asa, Tim, Shadarius, Carolina & Zepha), DJ Paper, Ryan, Doug, Dana and David. Happy Birthday Cevin!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Return Of BONGO FURY

I haven't written the words "bongo", "fury" or "zepha" in quite sometime, but all that ends right now!

Walter Davis has re-booted Bongo Fury, his afro-cuban jazz and burlesque show, that was a huge draw when it played every Tuesday nights in Santa Monica. It is what inspired my initial relationship with Harvelle's (and this blog), as well as with Walter and dancer Carolina Cerisola. Bongo Fury used to feature some of the sexiest dancers around, among them, the aforementioned Carolina, Dakota, Annika, Jillian, Molly, Lisa, Hannah and of course Zepha!

Tonight in Long Beach, Harvelle's presents Bongo Fury.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ultralove Meet Jessie : Jessie Meet Ultralove

Ultralove's Monday night residency at Harvelle's in Santa Monica is one of the secret treasures that the beloved little spot on 4th St. holds within. Any night of the week, great blues, jazz and burlesque are featured attractions, but on Monday nights, the guy who goes by the name Ultralove, brings his own Philly-flavored roster of songs - sung and rapped - and backed by his super-tight, deep-in-the-pocket group (aka The Suns Of Bitches). 
Seems like Harvelle's fave, singer Jessie Payo has been smitten with a case of the Ultraloves! Yes, Ms. Payo, has written a piece on Mr. Ultralove for NOHO ARTS DISTRICT.COM [read it here] and he has her nose wide open!! Check out the video below to see why!!

"...more than a target for women’s under-garments, he uses his music as a platform for changing the world for the better."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012



Dessy DiLauro : Beaded, Braided, Bangled And Confetti'ed

Sometimes a hairdo is a sub-culture - like balding dudes who shave their heads or people with dreadlocks. Like women who wear pixies or beehives, their hair in a tight bun or pony-tails, obviously hair is of huge importance in our society.

Dessy describes herself as "Feathered Fro-hawk Futuristic Art Deco Centric Harlem Renaissance Hep Music" which is an all-encompassing depiction of both her music and her personal style including her distinctive hair and even more distinctive hair-pieces that she designs and wears onstage. Her recent performances have been filled with guests from her universe, which is full of marvelous performers from both the music and circus worlds. (Her music director Ric'key Pageot is keyboardist for Madonna and Cirque Du Soleil)

Dessy and Ric'key will be representing House Of Vibe for the next few Wednesdays while HOV members Anthony Brewster (vocals/keys), Pete Antunes (drums) and Corey Cofield (bass) are on tour with Chali 2na. Come out and get hep!

Rapper Deploi
Horn players
Tap dancer Sarah Reich was awestruck and inspired
Ric'key's Curveboard stops the show
Rapper Anon
Singer Anthony Brewster
Dessy amid Harvelle's followers and fans
Sarah with drummer Chaun

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Toledo Show : Fuck You For Fucking Me...

...For Fucking Myself!!
-The battle cry of Toledo Show frontman Toledo Diamond.

The Toledo Show 2/12/12 Santa Monica, CA -
Another night of sweaty jazz funk and delicious dames bumpin' and grindin' went down last night at Harvelle's. The Toledo Show band is Asa Watkins (drums), Walter Davis (sax), Spoonie (bass/vocals), Sebastian Leger (keys/trumpet) and Shamari Harbin (vocals). The Dames are Erin, Evalee, Mindy, Molly & Nykky. Special guest on vocals - Ultralove.

The Toledo Show play at Harvelle's in Santa Monica every Sunday night, and at the new Harvelle's in Long Beach every Thursday. 

It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Barbara Morrison : Beautiful And Rare

For those in attendance, seeing and hearing Barbara Morrison sing is a thing of pure beauty. Her mellifluous voice carried us all into space and beyond. Her strength and beauty were expressed in her set consisting of blues and jazz standards. Her band was tight and fantastic and backed her meticulously and with much gravitas. She's constantly touring the Southland so there's ample opportunity to catch her live. [tour dates] There's a large selection of Barbara Morrison's CDs on Amazon & CDUniverse.