Last Night: Ryan Bradley Affair

Nine times out of ten, a computer malfunction is a major disaster from which nothing positive occurs. Last night was that one time when something good can come from pure misery.

My friend called me literally as my computer was beginning to grind to a complete halt. He asked what I was doing, and before I could say, "putting my fist through my monitor," I said, "nothing." He told me about a cool band playing at the Pike in Long Beach and with no possibility of work getting done, I agreed.

We took two seats at the bar just as the group was starting. Called the Ryan Bradley Affair, the trio soundchecked with a really cool rhythm & blues song and I hoped it was one of those "let's warm up with a song that sounds nothing like the rest of our set." Luckily, it wasn't.

My first thought, and one that continued to race through my Pabst Blue Ribbon -soaked mind, was how these three guys were playing real rockabilly, not that "tattooed/leopard print/tough guy/we used to be punks" shit, but real rockabilly, the kind that emerges when you blend R&B, honky tonk and rock 'n' roll.

The group didn't rely on the standard E to G chord progression or sing a bunch of corny songs about Cadillacs. The bassist moved his fingers across his fretboard in a tasty way while the drummer held down that boom-chicka-boom without overpowering the tunes. This smooth rythm section allowed Bradley to get nice on the six string. Unlike all these Cramps wannabees (and don't write any comments about the Cramps -- I love 'em but I despise all the terrible bands who ape them), Bradley didn't play over the bass the entire time. Instead, he played like the greats -- Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins -- who peppered licks when the songs called for a lil' guitar action.

What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig? The Ryan Bradley Affair is good. They don't wear costumes, they don't have anything to do with modern rockabilly and they can actually play.

PS So far today, the computer is working just fine. Thanks for wondering.


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