Photo by James BunoanVavak
Michael Vavak used to take his guitar and his bouquet of blond dreads down to the Seal Beach pier and play Grateful Dead tunes to the tourists. That would probably get you fined today, but it got Vavak a gig on the side stage of Lollapalooza. That was many years and a couple of bands ago, and now Vavak's dreads are almost as famous as his voice—a big, brawny, room-engulfing wail that peels the shit right off your soul. Having only seen him live—where he belts it out like he cares not what happens to his vocal chords—we were surprised to hear it all reeled-in and smooth and Cat Stevens-y (at times) on the EP Parasol by the band that bares his last name. Parasol is named for the Seal Beach diner where Vavak fell hard for a waitress, but that was so long ago he has no clue what happened to her, and the EP was so long in the making the band has an entirely new rhythm section (On Parasol, Jen Fraser, now of the Warlocks, played bass and Michel Bravine, formerly of the Killingtons, played drums). Tony Kourmetis played guitar and Ikey Owens of Mars Volta/Free Moral Agents and Matt Wignall of Havalina Rail Co. each stopped in for a song on a record that is already a front-runner for one of the best things to come out of the area in 2005. None of those people will be onstage at Alex's for the release party, as Vavak is doing a solo acoustic gig, but we can still promise it will feel bigger than most full bands.
VAVAK WITH THE MAITLINS AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com. THURS., JAN. 13. CALL FOR TIME. FREE. 21+.
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana,
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