New Old Local Faves
Red Light Nightmare, Infrareds, Serpico, Darktown Rounders, Sex Farm—all in two bands, on one stage.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Performances by Red Light Nightmare were always memorable. This fan recalls one evening when the group was playing the small front room of the old Viva’s (which underwent a massive facelift and reopened as Monterey Live two years ago). As a battery of strobe lights caused the musicians to look like they were moving in slow motion, Red Light Nightmare laid into Black Sabbath’s “Snowblind.” A female dancer in a short skirt and thigh-high boots started to gyrate to the hearty metal riffs. Audience members started to slam dance. When guitarist Angelo Tringali let loose with an electrifying guitar solo, the band’s bespectacled lead singer, L.T., shook his head along to the music, which caused his eyeglasses to fly off his face. While Tringali ran his fingers up and down his guitar, L.T. got on the ground and started searching for his glasses on the floor of the dark club.
To the audience, it looked bad—L.T. was gonna miss his cue after the solo. Then, with no time to spare, L.T. raised his hands above his head with the glasses as if they were a prize trout. He put them back on, stood up and did a perfect Ozzy Osborne, right as Tringali ended his solo. It was a strange but memorable Red Light Nightmare moment for me. I’m sure local fans have other equally rich memories of the band.
This past October, three core members of Red Light Nightmare—charismatic vocalist L.T., guitarist Tringali and drummer Matt Gnibus—teamed up with the bassist Keigan Skydecker, formerly of the Infrareds, to form Serpico. Tringali believes the new group is a significant departure from Red Light Nightmare. “Musically, it’s a different dynamic,” he says. “The material, in general, is all over the board. Red Light was just pure energy all the way.”
While Red Light Nightmare almost solely played the amped up rock of Black Sabbath and AC/DC, the repertoire of Serpico is truly wide ranging. The band can do a hard-rocking version of Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film,” a droned out metal take on The Beatles “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and—maybe most surprising of all—sunny ‘70s pop, like D.W. Stevenson’s “My Maria.”
Serpico has also written some original material that it hopes to have out on a CD by the end of the summer. One new number is “Elvis 9,” a piece that starts off with L.T. talking about a future dystopia over Tringali’s bluesy licks. The four-part song eventually reaches a galloping pace with L.T.’s wail: “Nothing matters.”
“It started out being our version of ‘Soft Parade,’ by The Doors,” Tringali says of the tune.
While Red Light Nightmare frequently played area clubs like Viva’s and Ocean Thunder, Serpico’s Friday performance at the London Bridge Pub will be just its third public performance since forming last October. L.T. says the band wants to surprise its audience with new material at each gig. “We want to put something different in every show,” he says.
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Opening for Serpico is Sex Farm, formerly known as the Darktown Rounders. The impressive tattooed guitarist and vocalist Rosie says that the name switch was for practical rather than artistic reasons. “I got tired of trying to explain that name, and people remember Sex Farm,” he says.
The blues, country and rockabilly group is notable for having four members—Kristi Fennell, Sunshine Jackson, Davey Ketchum and Rosie—who trade lead vocals. “I think it keeps the performance from getting stagnant,” Rosie says.
At a recent Monterey Live gig, the band did a stirring take on Muddy Waters’ “I Got My Mojo Working” with Fennell on vocals, and performed a subdued electric version of the Steve Earle gem “South Nashville Blues.” Rosie says the band also frequently covers songs by the ‘40s and ‘50s blues act The Big Three Trio, which featured blues icon Willie Dixon.
Sex Farm also has a handful of originals, including some that range back to the Darktown Rounders’ earliest incarnation (which featured guitarist Adam Roach, who has since moved on to a successful music career in Texas).
The band’s original work includes a languid, harmonica laden blues song titled “Ain’t Nothin’ Can Be Done” along with “Fucked Up Family,” a twanged up, foot stompin’ song about deadbeat relatives, including a gambling dad and a dope-dealing mother.
SERPICO AND SEX FARM perform 9:30pm Friday, June 1, at London Bridge Pub, under Saporro Restaurant next to Wharf Number Two, Monterey. No cover. 655-2879.