Misses Kim and Pamita were kind enough to create a special Tuesday night Grand Old Echo so that Los Angeles could get its first taste of Polka Freakout. And lo, it was good.** A report from last night:
It was hot. It is hot. It will be hot. Los Angeles is drying up like weeds in a dirt lot. Mercy, please. And the Echo was hot. The air conditioning works flawlessly in the staircase leading up to the dark and haunted band room. Elsewhere it keeps the room at a steady 85 degrees, which is actually the correct minimum temperature for playing and experiencing rocking roots music. Hence New Orleans, Kansas City, and Denton, TX.
Denton, where Polka Freakout chief Bubba Hernandez has lived for a long time since graduating from North Texas State and joining Brave Combo, where he met similarly over-trained drummer Mitch Marine. Bubba and Mitch propelled Brave Combo’s legendary groove for six years, the golden age that got the attention of David Byrne and Matt Groening and legions of new polka fanatics from Wall Street to Frankfurt to Tokyo. Last night Bubba and Mitch, accordion virtuoso with an edge Alex Meixner, overtrained but wildly imaginative guitarist Scrote
were and hopefully will continue to be the new polka supergroup.
For those of you too sophisticated and narrow to know, polka kicks ass. Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones, Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push, Jimmy Sturr, Brave Combo, and any number of hard toiling Tex Mex bands will wipe the floor with your average modern rock band. With one rehearsal and gig, Polka Freakout hit the heights. Influenced by and continuing the Brave Combo fearless adventure, Polka Freakout tackles odd meter Eastern European pieces, cumbias, hybridized polkas in the fast to ridiculous range, and sophisticated pop songs that Frank Sinatra could cover. Bubba and his brother Ricky harmonized on a “Volver” that should be put into a runoff with Christina Ortega’s version for American Idol: The Real Music by Real Musicians. Kick ass.
Bubba and Alex are in the van back to Texas, may their radiator be steady and true. And may Polka Freakout come back soon.**Yes, the Hawks had a great show, too. Dave Gleason opened the night and sat in with the Hawks, his tele adding a serious kick in the pants to “California Country” and “Humboldt.” Paul L sat in with Polka Freakout on a few tunes, including “Baby (Do You Mind),” the Waller/Lacques tune that Bubba sings on PF’s debut CD. .