A pair of new local bands make an impression around the Peninsula. And Dave Wakeling returns (again...)
Thursday, August 19, 1999
When the lineup for the rock category in the Monterey All-Star Band Competition was released, the judges buzzed with skepticism.
Aside from the Amazon Mollies, the bands were complete unknowns, and it seemed impossible to find out any information about them prior to the competition. So, when the big night finally arrived, nobody knew quite what to expect--or maybe they thought they did, until InBalance took the stage.
The Monterey-based three-piece ensemble raised quite a few eyebrows, grabbing the attention of both audience and judges as soon as the first notes rang through the speakers. Not only did they rock, but they delivered a few refreshing nuances that made heads turn that night. The core and current lineup>--Ethan Roberts (vocals/guitar), Anthony Gomez (vocals/bass) and Chris Thomas (drums)--have known each other since high school, playing together in the school''s jazz band. This friendship in turn gave the three an air of obvious familiarity and a tight clean sound as they played with/off each other. While the stage generally seemed to be dominated by an angry-and-loud theme that night, InBalance countered with songs that had a more positive outlook, keeping their hard-driving music in check by throwing in a cool ballad now and then.
It came as no surprise that InBalance, along with the Amazon Mollies, was announced to go on to the final round of the competition and play at the Monterey County Fair this Friday. "We are totally stoked," said Roberts when I talked to the band a few days ago. "Anthony pulled the entry form from the Internet and we thought, why not, let''s give it a shot." They have reason to be stoked. Although the BlueFin gig was the band''s first nightclub appearance, it doesn''t mean they''re just getting started. Last year, they played every single weekend at various parties, and in May they performed at the Laguna Seca Motorcycle Races. Says Roberts, "It was 10:30am and freezing cold out there, and the announcer drowned us out every time he had something to say. I don''t think very many people could actually hear us play."
This oversight could soon be remedied; InBalance is worth a second look, but if you can''t wait that long, check out their Web site, download MP3s and decide for yourself (inbalance.homepage.com).
Monterey County Fair Battle of the Bands final round, Friday, 6:30pm. Monterey County Fair; InBalance with Za Za Ya opening, Saturday, 9pm, STARZ, 375-3056.
Imagine calling your substitute teacher "Mr. Dick," not necessarily because you''re mad, but because that really is his name. Meet Joshua Dick, substitute teacher for Salinas junior high/high schools by day, and lead vocalist/guitarist for the country/folk rock quartet Mr. Dick by night.
Though the answer seemed obvious, I had to ask anyway, "How bad did you get teased about your last name in school?" "Pretty bad, especially in junior high," Dick said, and I couldn''t help but admire the certain rebellious bravery of giving his band the very name that must have been his torture throughout school.
Listening to the band''s demo tape pushed all that name stuff quickly aside, though. Here''s another happier-than-usual sound, this time with an upbeat country flair and heavy influences from artists such as Van Morrison, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Beatles. Says Dick, "The world needs more happiness. I want people to feel good when they listen to our music."
The band was born about a year ago. Then heavily into theater acting, Dick was approached by his friend, bassist/vocalist Josh Aaron with the proposition to give the musical life a chance. he two put an ad in the paper and found Gary Reece (lead guitar) and Vince Trujillo (drums). A lot of songwriting, rehearsing and three gigs at Viva later, Mr. Dick is ready to spread some happiness, look at the brighter side of things and simply have a good time.
Mr. Dick, Friday, 9pm, STARZ, 375-3056.
Without a doubt, the largest crowd this weekend will see The English Beat''s Dave Wakeling. After an awesome performance at the Monterey Live Festival, he''s ready to ska it up at the Long Bar. Those of you who''ve seen him in action know what I mean; those of you who haven''t better, get ready to bounce, jump and dance to some excellent beat.
The English Beat''s Dave Wakeling, Thursday, 9pm, Long Bar, 372-2244.
On a mellower note, local acoustic guitarists Linda Arceo and Khasy Brophy are coming to Bookworks to play some original folk rock while you sit back and sip your Mocha. The two have had performances at Borders Books and more recently at the Long Bar, slowly paving their way into more mainstream waters.
Linda Arceo and Khasy Brophy, Saturday, 8pm, Bookworks, 372-2242.