By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
It is always fun for Matt Martinez and I to attend a show at the famous Slide Bar in Fullerton, Calif. We were back there on July 16th, to witness hard rocks’ newest sensation, Blacktop Mojo. It did feel a little macabre to be back there because in the previous week, we saw Adrenaline Mob perform there. It would mark the first and only time that we would see their new extraordinary bassist, Dave Z. The following week, Dave passed away due to an unfortunate highway accident, involving a big rig and Adrenaline Mob’s tour bus. It is eerie to know that we saw him, and a week later, he is gone. However, I felt the best way to honor his memory, would be going back to the venue that did him justice. Joining Blacktop Mojo was a couple of local bands looking for some well-earned recognition, Big Rig Dollhouse and Slater Slums. Let the night of rock commence!!
Big Rig Dollhouse went up first. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform. They have both the look and sound of a classic 1970s hard rock band. Sporting retro 70s shirts and bell-bottom pants, they gave the fans a good dose of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll fun. Frontman/guitarist Rob Castle has this tantalizing voice that reeks of archetypal rock star singing from the 1960s and 1970s. He is a true Englishman who knows how to move the crowd. Lead guitarist Jarett Glodt plays with spirit and passion. They are heavily influenced by the great bands such as Thin Lizzy, MC5 and Led Zeppelin. I loved the originality in their songs, especially “Dancing In My Shadow” and “Bury Me.” Drummer Brian Dropkin and bassist Ty Tryon performed beautiful grooves that yield to the songs a sense of lust. This is a raw, talented band that created magic that night.
Full Big Rig Dollhouse slideshow below:
Following them was Huntington Beach’s favorite sons, Slater Slums. I remember seeing them back in September 2016 at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, and they still kick ass. I would describe them as Queens of the Stone Age meets Black Sabbath and Nirvana. Vocalist Kevin Brown alerts his authority with a strong voice. Drummer Joe Lemerise is a boss on the kit, clang and banging away with fashion. I loved the aggressive style of their playing and they bring a good source of songs to the fold. They recently brought bassist Tommee Nabong and guitarist Nico, and both have proven to be effective members that give the band reason to headbang, with offerings such as “Loaded Gun,” “Back Against The Wall,” and “I Can’t Love,” My favorite song was “Slummy,” because it deals with how millennials are crybabies about the recent Presidential election. Do not mean to go political, but it is funny. Slater Slums is one of those diamonds in the rough, waiting to be shined up. They are working on some new music, and I am anxiously waiting to give a listen to what they bring.
Full Slater Slums slideshow below:
At last, coming all the way from Palestine, Tex., Blacktop Mojo walked up, cocked and ready to rock. They have recently released their sophomore record, Burn the Ships, and I recommend this to any fan that loves southern rock and grunge. Their vocalist, Matt James, has one of the best young voices in rock and could become one of the next great frontman. Not only does he have a great mid-tempo range, he reaches that high falsetto that would melt the ladies. The guitar duo of lead Ryan Kiefer and rhythm Kenneth Irwin was staggering to watch. Kiefer was blazing solos left and right, especially on the songs “I Am” and “Shadows On The Wall.” Their recent single, “Where the Wind Blows,” has been tearing up the charts, and it sounds even better live. Nathan Gillis kills on drums, while Matt Curtis licks it up on bass. Not only did they play grand originals, Blacktop rocked out some mean covers, including Alice in Chains “Man In the Box” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” where James nails it on the high pitch. It would make Steven Tyler jealous.
Full Blacktop Mojo slideshow below:
It is never a dull moment at the Slide Bar. So many great acts have come through there this year, from Fused By Defiance to Adrenaline Mob and Eyes Set to Kill. I can now add Blacktop Mojo and friends as great performers to come to Fullerton. Big Rig Dollhouse and Slater Slums are bands that should be reveled for their originality, and their resolve to be the best. They usually play covers in the Huntington Beach area, so I would recommend them. Mojo are bringing some serious mojo to the music scene that will catch on soon enough. To Blacktop Mojo, Slater Slums, and Big Rig Dollhouse, I salute you. Horns up!!!