Saturday night, I was hiking to the Grotto from the next street over where I had parked my car when I ran into someone I see a lot at the local shows. The Grotto has its own parking lot, so it’s unusual for the ’hood around it to be this packed. He asked what was going on, and when I explained that Rivercrest Yacht Club and Darth Vato were playing the Grotto, well, no further explanation was needed. These two bands don’t play in public much anymore, so when they do, it’s an event.
Rivercrest Yacht Club is a bizarre sort of novelty rap group. Its members are Heffminster de la Roca, Generic MC, the Gaucho MC and DJ MC DDS (a dentist — no really). The rhythm section consists of Lee Zur Ly on bass, and the Rear Admiral on drums.
These guys always put on a fun show; it’s sorta like the Beastie Boys meets Lonely Island, with more dental references. Lee Zur Ly is one of the top bass players in Funkytown, and the Rear Admiral was flawless (as usual). After the show, the band members released this statement:
“We’re not going to be playing shows for a while, but we’ll still be working on other RYC projects (videos, new songs, etc.). We’ll be back on stage this summer. Until then, please start rival rap bands for us to beef with.”
Headlining the show was the legendary Darth Vato with Steve Steward (bass), Eric Dodson (drums) and Kerry Dean (guitar, vocals). This band has been around awhile, playing its first gig in 2002 and touring/playing extensively until 2009, when it took an extended break. Absent from the lineup Saturday was Jorts Richardson, who was busy receiving a Best Blues album Grammy Award for his drumming on Ben Harper’s Get Up (congrats, Jorts).
Darth Vato is a unholy mix of reggae, punk and rock, with Steward laying down a serious groove on a Rickenbacker bass and Dean filling the front-man role with style. They switched from reggae to punk and to metal and back again effortlessly and made it sound natural.
The crowd pushed in close to the stage and sang along with the band’s original songs. Steward and Dean kept up an entertaining stage banter about porn, Doritos and getting high. We’re not talking serious, pretentious art here, but fun and good music.
It’s a testimony to the talent of both of these bands that they can still draw loyal fans after taking so much time off. RYC and Darth Vato both will be playing sporadically later this year and you owe it to yourself to check them out when they do.