I've seen Ryan Thomas Becker perform in many different modes: As a solo act; as part of RTB2; as part of Missile Men, and probably some I can't think of at the moment. But one thing has remained a constant -- if Becker is involved in a musical project, I won't be disappointed. So when I saw him carrying gear into Lola's, I knew I had to see what he had cooking.
Turns out, it was the latest installment of The Good Show Live Music series, co-sponsored by DFW.com. I barely got inside before the opening act, Jefferson Colby, took the stage -- and and then proceeded to break Lola's.
I mean that literally. The band was doing their normal face melting rock-and-roll show, and suddenly the lights went out in half the club. Unfortunately it was the half that contained the electrical outlets for their amps. Lola's ace crew scrambled to restore functionality to the club, as Matt Mabe allowed himself to be goaded into doing a drum solo -- which broke the rest of the club somehow, and left us all in total darkness.
Eventually the power was restored, the band played on, until it went out again, and so on for the rest of the set. Considering the difficult circumstance, they performed ably; I'll be eager to check them out when their raw energy isn't so frequently interrupted.
Up next was El Cento, consisting of Don Cento (guitar, vocals), Earl Darling(drums), and Dave Prez . The first thing that came to mind is this band would have been the hip band in a John Hughes movie in the '80s. There is some serious musical talent here, and I dug some of it -- but mostly it seemed to fall short of what it could be. There was a good bit of David Byrne style mixed in, but where Byrne would build you up to a point and then you would go right off the cliff, El Cento just let you wander back down the hill.
Maybe it was an off night -- the power kept going out on them too -- but it seemed like everything from the bass tone to the guitar riffs had the edge sanded off them. I wanted to like this band, but eventually I found myself distracted by the flashing lights out front.
Yup, it was that kind of night. Those flashing lights turned out to be an ambulance that had showed up for a man who had collapsed and was being given oxygen. Tony Diaz, co-host of The Good Show, was arguing with the TABC, who had apparently decided they needed more of an image problem, and were trying to confiscate the money that had been collected at the door to pay the bands. (I tried to found out why, but never did get to the bottom of the matter.) Eventually the three way feud between the TABC, Lola's and electricity was settled. The TABC retreated, and most of the lights were back to functioning, as long as they didn't turn them up very bright.
Just in time, too, because Tony Ferraro and the Satans of Soft Rock were taking the stage.
This band consists of Tony Ferraro (vocals, guitar), Ryan Thomas Becker (guitar, vocals), Chris Gomez (keyboard), Justin Collins (drums) and David Howard (bass). The music was quirky, and at times discordant (in a good way); and the vocals were rough and edgy. As I said, I've never seen a band involving Becker that I didn't like, and this was no exception. It was creative, original, and satisfying -- well worth sitting in the dark for.
Despite the weirdness (or perhaps partly because of it), this was a terrific show -- and that's what I've come to expect from Tony Diaz and his co-host Tom Urquhart of The Good Show on FM 88.7 FM. Props the staff of Lola's, for their epic effort in keeping things running, despite the multiple snafus.