By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Yeah, well, I'd sooner bathe in a tub of bong water as get between the sheets with Koko's naked, withered old clam, but I'd still rather hear Taylor belt the blues than any of her more fetching young-blood sisters like Zakiya Hooker or Shemekia Copeland. On Royal Blue, Taylor has aged noticeably but oh-so-gracefully.
I have very little patience with cartoon bands who need to inject some dumb-ass shtick into their act to get their music over. So why do I love THE RED ELVISES so much? Because they're genuinely amusing. And because these strutting, arrogant Russian greaser-niks can play really, really, really well. According to the group's website bio (at www.redelvises.com), their "musical influences include Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla, Chuck Berry, Spice Girls and speeches by Comrade Fidel Castro." Allow me to add to that: I also hear strains of Dick Dale and Duane Eddy, Bob Marley and Prince Buster, Bob Wills and Tito Puente, Gene Vincent and Carl Perkins and . . . Weird Al Yankovic.
This hot-shit, four-piece pleasure machine plays rockabilly, swing, surf, ska, reggae, Latin, country, Russian folk music, and old-fashioned rock & roll with wild chops to spare and a sense of absurdist merriment conspicuously missing from most pop music since the days of groups like Madness and Ian Dury & the Blockheads. "Kick-Ass Rock & Roll From Siberia," they call it. "Ve don't golf . . . VE ROCK!" is their motto—a fine motto to have, if one must have one.
Amazingly, these luna-chiks have released seven CDs in the past four years, somewhat justifying their claim to be "The Hardest-Working Band in Show Business"—another of their many mottoes, this one appropriated from James Brown, of course. I'm pretty sure that most hardcore fans of rockabilly or surf rock wouldn't approve of the Red Elvises, as they piss in the face of pop-music culture pieties and make jest of just about everything such people view as sacred. That lack of approval from stone-faced trendies is just one more reason to love this band. Get brainwashed by the Commies on Sunday night at the Blue Cafe.
JOHN MAYALL performs AT THE COACH HOUSE, 33157 CAMINO CAPISTRANO, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, (949) 496-8930. SAT., 8 P.M. $19.50; THE RED ELVISES play AT THE BLUE CAFE, 210 THE PROMENADE, LONG BEACH, (562) 983-7111. SUN., 10 P.M. $6.