Rescue mission, bounty hunters, boat live-aboards, runaways, process servers, knights in Balboa Park
Various Authors 8:30 a.m., Dec. 15
Legendary sixties garage rockers, The Standells, with guest guitarist Johnny Echols of Love, topped the bill on the first day of the 2013 Adams Avenue Street Fair.
The Standells' current incarnation includes founding keyboardist Larry Tamblyn, mid-Sixties bassist John Fleck, and new guys, guitarist Mark Adrian and drummer Greg Burnham. Notably, Fleck was also the original bassist in Love.
The band released its first studio album since 1967 on August 9, Bump, playing three dates to promote it; August 9 at The Satellite Club in Los Angeles, September 28 at the Adams Avenue Street Fair and October 5 at New Orleans Ponderosa Stomp music festival.
The Standells beginnings go back to 1962 and on this night they seemed eager to prove there is life in the old band yet. Indeed, pretty much all of their new disc was played in their hour-plus set.
They opened strong to the sound of a police siren and their 1967 single “Riot on Sunset Strip,” going on to perform their classics, such as “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” (1966) and “Try It” (1967).
The new songs slotted well amongst the band's Sixties material with Tamblyn’s views on current events front and center on songs such as “Mr. One Percent” and “It’s All About The Money.” The latter showcased one of the bands strengths, the vocals, particularly from Adrian. He took lead on the group’s 1966 single “Rari.”
The concert also included several covers from the new album, including the Seeds tune “Pushin’ Too Hard” (1965 #36) and a song from Boston based band, the Lyres, “Help You Ann” (1982).
The Standells were clearly thrilled to be playing, though not everything ran smoothly. There were problems with the monitors at one point, with a clearly peeved Adrian, pointing at said monitor in front of him and saying “All I can hear is keyboards!” Without missing a beat Tamblyn responded with “What’s wrong with that?,” earning a laugh from the crowd.
While the Standells were very well received, the biggest crowd response came when Love guitarist Johnny Echols joined the group for the last few numbers: Love’s take on musical standard “Hey Joe” (1966), their Burt Bacharach-penned hit, “My Little Red Book” (#52 1966) and “7 & 7 Is” (#33 1966). With Echols still on guitar, the Standells closed the set the their own biggest hit, “Dirty Water” (#11 1966), turning it into a sing along which ended with “San Diego” in place of “Boston” in the song’s signature tag line.
They soon returned for a two song encore which included an extended work out on the Troggs “Wild Thing” (#1 1966) and finishing up with the track from from which their new album's title is taken, “Bump in the Night.”
The band was solid throughout the show. If I had a quibble, it was Adrian’s guitar riffing, which strayed into metal territory at times and seemed a bit at odds with the garage rock surrounding it, but the hits were reproduced faithfully and with exuberance. As might be expected with a band that has had multiple line ups over decades, the best-sounding material was the new stuff as recorded by the current roster. It was nice to hear the hits but it was clear from this show that the Standells are not a band looking to just recreate past glories, they are a band looking to create new ones.