Live Review: hot damn scandal, gallus brothers, hazel ra

Nov. 16, 2013 • green frog

The Green Frog was packed Friday night to see Bellingham’s folk heroes Hot Damn Scandal, and the scene was stirring with an array of characters just waiting to cause a ruckus.  The energy was vibrant and the feeling was good as Hazel Ra started the show off with a bit of swooning in a lovely easy-listening melodic set.  Heart-warming and engaging, the act on the road from Portland in promotion of their new album The Shadows we’re terrific and are always welcome here in Bellingham.
At this point in the evening navigating in the Green Frog has become a problem, as the line to the bar is practically to the stage and the crowd is ready to hoedown. Local favorites the Gallus Brothers had just made a performance at TedX Bellingham earlier in the week and were looking quite dapper dressed in convincing old-wild-west attire.  The duo took the stage and suddenly the atmosphere changed, time warped back and the crowd was taken back to the Gold Rush days. The Green Frog became this old timey blues saloon. Devin Champlin started pluckin’ on the guitar and with some ‘mhmms’ and ‘ahyeahs’ from the microphone all eyes in the room begin to gravitate towards the stage. Lucas Hicks ran his finger symbols up and down the washboard he was sporting and the hootin’ and hollerin’ began.  Boots were stompin’, folks we’re dancing, and The Gallus Brothers wholeheartedly captured the energy in the room and never gave it back.
The beat couldn’t be ignored as Hicks kept the rhythm fresh by exploring all the mighty-fine sounds of his homemade percussion set he calls “the marvelous contraption.” Using an old suitcase as a bass drum and a set of antique silverware as his drumsticks, Hicks proceeded to give the good people what they needed as the Gallus Brothers put on one-helluva-show. Hats we’re flying off, kazoos were blaring, the songs were upbeat and had good character. The Gallus Brothers never missed a beat, they even had a whistling harmony for goodness sake.
The set didn’t end with their final song. The cheer was triumphant and the applause did not die down, so The Gallus Brothers kindly obliged to play the crowd an encore tune which as you’d all expect by now rocked-that-house. These two guys are great, and truly put on a memorable experience. Lucky for us all they call Bellingham home! Catch them when you can.
Hot Damn Scandal! This beloved hometown accompaniment led by front man Stinky Pete Irving took the stage and it was evident that the circus had arrived as horns blared and hillbilly clowns with face paint stormed the front of the stage to get it started. The platform was packed as seven amazingly talented musicians were on stage, including an upright bass player, slide-guitarist, acoustic guitarist, violinist, washboard player, saxophonist, and a trombonist! Together Hot Damn Scandal jammed tunes overflowing with passion as Stinky Pete sang with powerful conviction of despair, happiness, and love. One such love song was dedicated to the happily young married newlyweds in the crowd, a sweet moment that was shared with everyone in the room, celebrated by cheers and even more dancing.
The sweetness would live long until the end of the night as this joyous occasion of some of Bellingham’s finest folk talent put on an outstanding performance on the Green Frog stage!
–Mark Broyles