A Family Affair in Fullerton with Trip the Spring and the Darden Sisters
It's a family affair at Big's in Fullerton Saturday night as two bands Trip the Spring, a veteran ensemble that began performing more than 20 years ago in Fullerton, and the Darden Sisters, a youthful group of four wickedly talented sisters, join forces.
The headliner is Trip the Spring, one of the key forces in the left-of-center artistic community that flourished in and around Fullerton at a time when you couldn't spit and hit a bar with a DJ. There was music (and art and poetry and theater) in the cafes at night, and while revolution may not have been in the air, you absolutely got the sensation that a lot of OC suburban kids were shaking off the doldrums of stodgy, lifeless conservatism through their work.
There were musicians, poets, writers, actors and other assorted weirdos and ne'er do wells, and while there are still plenty of those in Fullerton these days, the difference is that it felt like an inclusive community where everyone knew, and worked, with each other. In short, it was a family, albeit one that could occasionally feel more like the Mansons than the Partridges.
And Trip the Spring was at the heart of it. The folksly-Celtic progressive alternative band's original line-up was comprised of two brothers and a cousin from a Scottish-as-fuck family: drummer David Dutton, singer Kevin Dutton and multi-instrumentalist Liana Dutton Williams. They were augmented by guitarist John Kraus and a myriad of bass players, the longest lasting being Steve Parks. The band released two albums and played at venues ranging from the long-gone Miki's and Fullerton Hofbrau to epic desert shows and the Back Alley. But, although they made a list of OC's top 100 bands in the early 2000s and gave it their best shot, they never hit the big time and, after about six years called it quits.
But they continued playing in several bands, including Honeyslide, the Goers, Barnacle, Rose's Pawn Shop and, two years ago, reformed for the first time in nearly 20 years. This is their second show since then and they are planning on releasing an EP of new material soon.
"It's a no pressure kind of thing," says David Dutton. "We're not concerned about producing 'the hit' or have throngs of fans that will bring us success. In a sense we brought the band together because we're all pretty much in the same boat, kids, families, older, and still love playing music and never stopped playing individually. Plus, it's so much fun."
Brother Kevin agrees.
"The time we spent all those years ago building songs are etched in our heads," he said. "It still feels natural and we still respect each other's opinions and going back to the old songs is like re-visiting a movie in which we all directed, acted in and watched many times. (and) the new songs seems as though we are all on the same page. It feels good."
The fact that the members have played with others artists over the years infuses the old Trip with new energy, says Liana Dutton Williams.
"I think we bring unique, new perspectives to the group based on the various other musical projects we have each pursued over the past many years, while still maintaining what is unique to Trip the Spring. We have a great bond based on a lot of fun memories creating music together."
Augmenting the family feel is a horn section from the Dixiedelics, which is comprised of guitarist Kraus's two brothers, David and Steven. And the enigmatic Chris Dalu, one of Orange County's most wickedly talented musicians, may join in on keyboards but, just as in the old days, no one really knows if he'll show up or not, David Dutton said.
And, since we're on the subject of families, why not toss the work of Steve Miller, David's brother-in-law, into the mix? Most of those venues, and the bands, are just creatures of memory now, but what a trip it was....
Bigs Fullerton, 323 N. State College Blvd., 714-526-4950. Sat., 9 p.m. No cover.All ages. www.bigsfullerton.com
Current show flyer
Bill St. Clair
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