Thursday, December 27, 2012
Last spring, the Mystery Lights played for nearly 20,000 people at the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing. Looking out into an infinite sea of faces was a far cry from playing to 50 at Jose’s Lounge Underground. But the Salinas natives—Mike Brandon on guitar and vocals, L.A. Solano on lead guitar and Joe Styles on bass—won the international audience over with originals like “Don’t Look Back,” a Kinks-meets-The Stooges whirlwind of hyperactivity.
“They absolutely loved it and even brought us out for an encore,” Brandon says. “They didn’t know our songs but they were singing and clapping along as if we had been playing China for years.”
The large-scale fest was part of the Lights’ month-long tour in China—they also hit Thailand and Hong Kong. But things halted when they returned to New York City: Aside from a gig with Marky Ramone, the tour was the last time they played a live show together before going on hiatus to figure out their next move and take the Lights to that next level. The indefinite break also allowed time for the group to travel to its old stomping grounds and rock East Village on Saturday. They also plan on doing a full-on California tour in 2013.
“Since we’re figuring stuff out right now, we thought, ‘Let’s go [to California] and do a Mystery Lights show with Stephen Miller of the original lineup on drums,’” Brandon says.
The Lights’ homecoming also marks The Tomb Weavers’ coming-out show, and the beginning of a musical force that’s sure to be embraced.
The trio features rock encyclopedia/Vinyl Revolution owner Bob Gamber on drums, longtime area rocker/promoter Keigan Skydecker on bass and metal phenom Tom B. Weaver on guitar/vocals.
“This show is such an important way to introduce ourselves,” Skydecker says. “The Mystery Lights get where we’re coming from, where we’re headed, and they are on a similar path—appropriately, they were sent down their path with much admitted guidance from Bob.”
Gamber says younger-gen garage rockers like the Lights and The Shivas inspired the supergroup’s birth.
“We’re all just having a whole lot of fun playing old, fucked-up ’60s West Coast psychedelic rock,” he says.
Adds Skydecker, “We are a band that shouldn’t feel comfortable in the modern age…the musical influences of the last 40 years tear at us from all sides, but our goal is to convey the particular time and headspace of the mid- to late- ’60s psychedelic garage scene.”
So far, the outfit has nine original tunes rife with homages to those outer-limit groups. “Collecting Tyme,” one of two tracks that Burger Records will release on a 45 in the near future, radiates with crunchy, tube amplifier blues indicative of early Captain Beefheart. And Weavers’ vocals bear an ambiguous, Nico-like tone—falling somewhere in between bass and tenor—adding more authenticity to the spot-on coating of traditional blotter boogie.
THE MYSTERY LIGHTS, THE TOMB WEAVERS, THE PEOPLE and SODA GARDOCKI play at 9pm Saturday, Dec. 29, at East Village, 498 Washington St., Monterey. $8. 373-5601.