Show Overview: Rockabilly Riot “Shake it Baby” - Saturday, March 31, 2012 @ The Seahorse Tavern

The BlackratsRockabilly.

It could possibly be the last socially acceptable bastion of true balls-out 50s style music. Sure, swing had it’s hey-dey in the early-mid 90s, and even the late 2000s soul movement brought back some of the fun and retro feel of that era; but Rockabilly has maintained a fairly strong undercurrent throughout the years. More subculture than subgenre, Rockabilly carries with it a sense of style, attitude, and fun-times-anger not really matched by any other group of misfits. There’s anger, but there’s no hate. There’s swearing, but there are no slurs. There’s sex, but there’s ..well there’s not a TON of violence.  I’ve been hearing rumblings of how involved the Halifax Rockabilly scene has been for a year or so now, so it was with thinly veiled excitement that I strutted into the Seahorse for the “Shake it Baby” incarnation of Rockabilly Riot.
Did I mention there were Burlesque ladies performing?

There were Burlesque ladies performing.
Music first.

The Green Reflectors were surprising, to say the least. Surf rock with some nards. Equal parts Dick Dale, Iggy pop, and with the teeeeeniest pinch of White Stripes riffage. The Reflectors were sent to destroy by any means necessary, but only if those means turned out to be noisy surf pop. Guitar player Kyle Furlotte had the rubberiest legs, and seemed to lose accessories with every song; glasses, shoes, inhibitions; they all eventually fell to the floor, rendered unnecessary and useless. Even though the Furlotte boys (brother Aaron rounds out the instrumental two-piece) played first, I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed an opening band get the joint warmed up like they did. I’m excited to see these guys again, and you should be too.

The Green Reflectors The Green Reflectors The Green Reflectors The Green Reflectors

“THE BLACKRATS FUCKING RULE!” screamed a man standing directly beside me at the end of every Blackrats song. While my left ear may never be the same, his excitement was not unfounded. The Black Rats did, indeed, rule. As much swagger as a psychobilly band can have, and just enough menace to make people not familiar with the genre stand up and take notice, the Rats got the floor crowded, sweaty and dance-tastic.  With the jauntiness of ska, the furiousness of punk, and the storytelling of country, The Black Rats played up a great relationship with the audience. Vocalist Brad Smith dropped his guitar about halfway through the set and focused on signing and interacting, a great decision that had the packed dance floor eating out of his hands. Having a party, drinking whiskey, and looking for a band to get things sweaty? Hire The Blackrats. Ye shan’t be disappointed.

The Blackrats The Blackrats The Blackrats The Blackrats

Dare I say that The Trouble Shooters are the elder statesmen of Rockabilly in Halifax? If I’m to judge by attitude, hosting duties, and the addition of SO MANY 1970’s snap button country shirts, then yes, yes they are the elder statesmen of rockabilly in Halifax. In my second encounter with these “daddios” (I’m a hep cat, I’m allowed to say that) I can say that nary a beat was missed. By this time of the night, the crowd was well lubricated and the band was incorporating performances by the lovely burlesque ladies. To be honest, The Trouble Shooters could have been playing Chumbawumba covers, and I would have been STOKED. But they weren’t playing mid-nineties electronica, they were playing soulful, solid, and sensuous rock and roll. The band rocked standards and originals, and laid down some great instrumentals while the ladies of burlesque came out and strutted their collective stuff. All in all, The Trouble Shooters made the end of the night great. They packed the front of house, they had mostly nude ladies on stage, and they never missed a beat. Mission accomplished.

The Trouble Shooters The Trouble Shooters The Trouble Shooters The Trouble Shooters

There was burlesque. It’s time for the burlesque report.

Drama is an overused term, I think. Burlesque dancers, or performers, have a fairly strong sense of drama, timing, and cock-tease-ery. Throughout the night these ladies made the crowd sit up and take notice, as only mostly nude girls can. But it was different from the standard strip-club fare; there was a sense of pageantry, elegance, and pure, unrelenting sexiness. While the ladies, Helena Darling, Miss Magenta, and Scarlett Sparks strutted the vast majority of their stuff – and made me feel like a total pervert for taking pictures of them from stage right – there was a great element of fun to their striptease. No shame, no fear, just good times.

Helena Darling Miss Magenta Scarlett Sparks Helena Darling Scarlett Sparks Helena Darling Helena Darling Scarlett Sparks Scarlett Sparks Scarlett Sparks

Near nudity at The Seahorse? Surprisingly amazing music? Oh, you better believe I’ll be hitting of the Rockabilly Riot again.

See all the photos here:

Words/Photos by Stan Béland


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