Spokane got all hot and bothered over the Refreshments playing Outback Jack’s on a June weeknight for a cover charge of four clams. Living up to its name, the band quenched a packed house on the summer’s eve.
The rock ‘n’ roll bandits will make another stand at Outback Jack’s on Monday with The Ocean Blue and Super Drive.
In June, the band was all over the radio with “Banditos,” an anthemic tale of sticking up banks south of the border.
Who could forget the chorus: “Everybody knows/ that the world is full of stupid people/ so meet me at the mission at midnight/ we’ll divvy up there.”
Not long after its release, radio programmers at both mainstream and alternative rock stations grabbed ahold of it and turned the tune into a hit single. “Banditos” stayed on the Modern Rock charts and the Mainstream Rock charts for more than 20 weeks.
Alas, the song ran its course and now we’re waiting to see if the Refreshments can follow up with another single.
At the moment, the band’s album, “Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy,” is still hovering in the Top 200 on the Billboard charts. The album’s second single “Down Together” has begun to climb the charts.
The Refreshments formed in 1993 and hails from Tempe, Ariz., a city not known for producing fresh talent.
The four won over a local audience by making witty and sarcastic observations about the human condition into blistering pop songs, and also for their beer-soaked, juvenile stage antics and carefree attitude.
Band members once donned road worker safety suits, shower caps, out-of-style shades and - my personal favorite - water wings on stage. In short, anything to get the crowd’s attention.
Now it appears they’ve scrapped their silly accessories for the more Southwestern look of two-bit bandits.
In 1994, the Refreshments released a debut album, “Wheelie,” on a tiny independent label. The record’s local reception was staggering. It sold 400 copies at the band’s record release show.
The Refreshments were signed in 1995 by Mercury Records, based on a spring performance at the South-by-Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. (Worthy of note, Seattle’s Presidents of the United States of America, who preceded the Refreshments on stage the same night, were also inked to a deal because of their show at the same conference.)
In February, the Refreshments made their major-label debut with “Fizzy Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy.”
This show will likely sell out, so buy your tickets in advance. They’re $7 and are available at Outback Jack’s. Showtime’s at 8 p.m.
Hell Upside Down sunny side up
Hell Upside Down’s moniker can be misleading.
Just on name alone, someone might think the band forges death metal, industrial or even worse, grunge. But none of us should pass judgment based on the band’s name.
Seattle’s Hell Upside Down, which plays Ichabod’s North tonight with Quitters Inc., doesn’t fit any of those categories. No, this four-piece, guitar-driven unit swims in a hell all its own.
It’s quirky and it takes listeners on a musical joyride, shifting from tempo to tempo and stitching together a battery of tones. No wonder one critic likens the band to the Treepeople and Steel Wool, two off-center Northwest combos (the Treepeople have splintered into Stuntman and Built to Spill).
Hell Upside Down has racked up one album and one seven-inch vinyl single. A new long-player is on the way.
Congratulations to Quitters Inc. The Spokane combo was awarded a slot at the North-by-Northwest music conference in Portland, Ore., next week. This four-day conference, sponsored by the producers of South-by-Southwest, will include performances by 300 bands and draw talent scouts from dozens of labels.
Quitters Inc. will play a showcase concert at EJ’s in Portland on Thursday with fellow Spokane band the Flies. If you can get out of town for a night, go lend some moral support.
Tonight’s show starts at 9:30. The cover is $3.
Bell ringing at Northern Corner
It’s been a pretty good week for music. Only 90 percent of the CDs and tapes that came across my desk were chucked.
One of the albums that wasn’t tossed into the little brown file cabinet - where most major-label paraphernalia and my lunch usually wind up - was the debut CD by Seattle’s Bell, which plays the Northern Corner Saturday with Shoveljerk and Manray.
On their striking record, titled “A Clear Sense of Beauty,” Bell rings with gritty, roots rock and chimes with raw, bluesy, garage-rock riffs. Bell is further enhanced by the meaty pipes of singer-guitarist Vanessa Veselka, whose voice knows no limits.
If you’ve got the dough, “A Clear Sense of Beauty” is worth picking up.
Bell opens the show at 9:30 p.m. Don’t be late. The cover is $6.
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