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The Blasters on Tour February 2015

blasters on tour

This February finds the Blasters on the road through the Southwest, starting on February 5 in Las Vegas and winding up in Long Beach on the 22nd after a long loop through Texas and back. Here’s the complete itinerary:

2.5    Las Vegas, NV - Backstage Bar

2.6    Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum Theater

2.7    Albuquerque, NM - Low Spirits

2.11    San Antonio, TX - Sam's Burger Joint

2.12    Austin, TX - Continental Club

2.13     Austin, TX - Continental Club

2.14    Houston, TX - Continental Club

2.16    Denton, TX - Dan's Silverleaf

2.17    Dallas, TX - Tree's

2.18    Lubbock, TX - Backstage

2.20    Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room

2.22    Long Beach, CA - Federal Bar

On February 8, Blaster singer Phil Alvin will fly back to LA to attend the Grammy Awards, where he and his brother Dave have been nominated for their album “Common Ground,” a collection of Big Bill Broonzy songs. We’ll be hoping that he rejoins us on the 11th toting a little extra hardware…

the blasters

If you’re in the neighborhood for any of these shows and can make it out, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself - it’s nice to meet people on video, but in person is even better. While we’re on the road I’ll also do my best to keep with the video exchanges via laptop - please bear with me if the audio and video quality isn’t quite up to the usual standards. 

Blasters Family Xmas Tour 2014

In December, for the second year in a row, the Blasters had the pleasure of joining LA-based punk pioneers X on their annual Xmas Tour. As in 2013, the tour began in Arizona and worked up the west coast to Seattle and back, but this year’s itinerary included a few different venues and at the same time X unveiled a much different sound - rather than their usual high-energy, hard-hitting electric set, they opted for semi-acoustic interpretations of their classic numbers along with a few new twists  to the songlist. Their normal lineup was also expanded to include multi-instrumentalist William Michael Kirkpatrick, who took over the drum set when DJ Bonebrake switched to vibes and also played acoustic guitar alongside Billy Zoom, who showcased a rarely-heard but considerable talent on the saxophone. Those who were expecting a classic balls-to-the-wall X set were no doubt taken aback, but for long-time fans it was an opportunity to experience a new side of four very talented musicians. Another change was that rather than the standard 60-minute opening set, the Blasters had more time to stretch out and piano player Gene Taylor joined us for the whole tour, so we took it up a notch in terms of sound and variety.

The opening date was at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, a restored theater in the rapidly gentrifying old-town section of the city. While the show was going on inside, an anti-police brutality demonstration was simmering outside and scores of riot police cordoned off streets around the theater, but fortunately cool heads prevailed all around. The streets were much quieter for the next show in Phoenix at the Carousel Ballroom, but inside the audience gave up a loud response to both bands.

The SoCal leg of the tour included the Casbah in San Diego, the Coach House in San Luis Capistrano, and the Canyon Club in Agoura. The Casbah was packed tight and the vibe was typically old-school punk, although most of the “punks” are in the same age demographic as the bands and accordingly less inclined to stage dive. The next night at the Coach House was essentially a home-town gig for the Blasters, who have played there countless times over the years, and the sold-out house was wildly receptive (even when Phil forgot the words to “I’m Shakin’”) and gave up several standing ovations during the set - definitely a high point of the tour. The Canyon Club, located in the outer northwest suburbs of LA, is somewhat like a larger version of the Coach House with a somewhat more supper-club vibe and the atmosphere was proportionately milder. 

The next week we headed up to Portland and Seattle. The Portland venue this year was the Star Theater, an old vaudeville house in the middle of downtown, and a good crowd turned out despite the cold, wet weather - just another typical day in Portland. The Seattle shows were again at El Corazon, a rough-edged punk venue, where like last year we did two nights to a very strong reception (highlighted by Exene’s guest appearance for “Jackson”) before heading back to Portland for a final show at the Star. After that show, some flew back to LA while others made the long drive down I-5 with a stopover in beautiful downtown Stockton, getting back to LA just before Christmas Eve.

The day after Christmas we reunited in San Francisco for the final two-night run at the Fillmore. The aura of the room can’t be overstated; there are plenty of bigger places, but none more iconic. Plus, we all have lots of friends in the Bay area so it feels like another home-town show, and like last year, the crowd gave us an extremely warm reception that ended the tour on the highest note. The next day we all headed back to LA to relax in the unseasonably warm sunshine - cold and wet weather may be the best thing for the climate, but there’s something to be said for bringing in the new year in shorts & t-shirt…

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