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Scott "Rip Thrillby" Rogers
Memorial/Tribute Show
July 2003

July 4, 2003, we skipped all the fireworks and family fun for a long evening of musical mourning at Echo Lounge. Scott "Rip Thrillby" Rogers had a lot of friends and fans and a few of them came out to catch a dozen or so bands paying him homage.
We arrived for the end of The Blue Velvets. Unfortunately, I don't even remember after the blur of music and mayhem that was the long weekend. We only caught a song or three before they ended their set. Each band only  had a short set before they were hauled off and another act was set up in record time thanks to keeping the same "back line" of equipment.

Sonoramic Commando followed with the usual rootsy country sans drummer, good stuff but I have to curse Chad Proctor. Nobody should
be blessed with such smooth fingers, dammit. Excellent original songs by the group too, so I'm looking forward to their first CD, due out
sometime soon if I remember correctly.

Next up, the required surf set, starting with Big Ray, furious furious furious surf a la Dick Dale, fast and frenetic.

Swap out lead guitarists and you get The X-Rays, not quite as furious but still fine. They brought up Sticks from The Penetrators do to a Penetrators cover tune, then brought up the lead guitarist from Big Ray again for a triple surf guitar overload. Sloppy, but fun.
Catfight! followed, but with their drummer, Suzanne, off on her honeymoon, they switched from the all-girl lineup to a
boy-girl-boy-girl lineup, with Jennifer's husband on drums and Katy's husband on second guitar. It added a little extra something to the sound, though their material hasn't changed in ages. Those who know
of Scott's fetish for GTO's got teary-eyed when Jen belted out the opening lines to Back Seat Baby, "You know I always wanna do it in the back of a GTO!"
The surviving members of The Penetrators got up, some with grins, some stoic, some reverent, and did a short set with something obviously missing, both visually and audibly.
But it seemed
appropriate that it wouldn't sound quite right and nobody could complain, especially when Johnny Knox got up and added a
not-exactly-perfect-yet-oh-so-right guitar solo into the mix.
Spanky, formerly the rhythm guitarist, stepped up to the mike and said, "Now we'd like to introduce a special guest" or something of
that nature, then the soundman spun up a CD featuring Rip's lead guitar, probably pulled from the masters just for the occasion, and the rest of the band played along, something like the weird Elvis "reunion" show that happened a while back. Virtual Rip wasn't mixed perfectly and the band took a little while to adjust to the speed, but by the end of the song you could close your eyes and imagine Rip there, left side of the stage, hardly moving except for his flying fingers, and any technical imperfection was completely forgotten and forgiven.
Teary-eyed friends, fans and family clapped for an encore but there would be none, so most headed out the door or to the back bar to reminisce.
Which left Slick 57 with an all but empty room. They set up like a rockabilly act, big standup bass and big hollow body guitar, but then came on like post-modern punk pop, very reminiscent of Green Day. Tiny moments of rockabilly would pop in from time to time, but for the most part it sounded like a lot of stuff that gets played on 99X. This didn't impress the few retro hipsters that stuck around, but I enjoyed it. But I'm probably the only person my age, and the only Star Bar regular, that thinks highly of Green Day.
Meh, it's art, there's no accounting for taste.
A few more fans showed up for headliners Gravyboat, but I felt sorry for them, and Slick 57. It's all but impossible to compete with the holiday, but add a memorial show before your set and you may as well stay home. But Gravyboat soldiered on, cranking up their hard edged honky tonk delivered with tons of talent. Personally, I think their live show outshines their CD by miles. Next time they come to town I hope more of the town comes to them.

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