I'm a Hotcake...Bang! Bang!

Need an excuse to get to the beach before Memorial Day? Here you go:

My new friends, The Hotcakes, got you covered. Hot singer...Hot Rock & Roll music...and ME?! You bet your ass. While not a permanent addition to the band, I'll be filling their newly acquired "guitar player void" as they head to the first annual Montauk Music Festival next week (May 14th & 15th.)

The world of music is an interesting thing. You meet people, who introduce you to other people, who introduce you to other people, and before you know it, you're playing guitar in a rock and roll band in the town you were ordering "off the boat" irishmen to flip a tuna steak during a lunch time rush in a seafood kitchen a decade ago. As I typed that run on sentence, I realized it is technically 11 years ago, this summer, that I broke my ass at The Lobster Roll or as many refer to it "Lunch." My youth is saturated in summer memories of Montauk, as a small kid on a boat (I know, sexy pose...I was ahead of my time) to a bigger kid in the midst of a hurricane, and a teenager in the midst of alcohol consumption and fried fish.

(It's no more "strange" to be playing the dives of Montauk than, say, anywhere else... but it wouldn't be a post from me without a digression.)

I'm pretty damn excited to be playing with a band, and THAT is worth noting. Like I said, you meet people who introduce you to more people, and that concept will always amaze me.  This particular endeavor is thanks to my good friend Jessica (Food Blogger, Wedding Planner & Vanderette,) for introducing me to Hotcakes lead singer, Erin Marsz...this is the part where I give The Hotcakes a glowing review.

Last summer, Jessica was promoting a particular show with The Hotcakes, as she was one of 2 backup singers, dubbed "The Cupcakes." We rallied a crew, and hit up Arlene's Grocery where I was pleasantly surprised with a raucous show that came and went in the blink of an eye. The band took the stage, the sound was phenomenal at Arlenes, and I will tell you what stood out in my mind, in this order:

1. Matt Stamm - keys & vocals - setting up his gear, the most complicated set up (maybe 2nd to a drummer? i dont know if Arlene's has their own kit or not) 2 keyboards & a laptop. That stood out, simply because I'm always impressed with the most "Tech" guy in the band, and I wonder what's on the laptop when people have them onstage. Is it just Facebook...or ESPN? Once the band launched into the first song, his sound was clearest and very "band defining" when you get to the style of the group, which I will...in a second.

2. Chris Hills - guitar - as a guitarist, I always size up the guitar player.  I have to check out the amp, pedals, guitar and most importantly the skill. Any show, ever, i'm looking at the guitar player thinking "can i do that?" In this case, I was impressed. He had good stage presence, and his solo's were clear but bluesy.  If you care to find out if I can "do that"...Get your asses to Monauk.

3. Lee Leshen - drummer - once again, by the band's first song, this man was beating the S%@! out of the drums, and it sounded big. Pair this with Matt's synth lines, and this is a BIG SOUND.

4. Kevin Snider - bass - As everyone was setting up the stage, Kevin was stage left with a knob issue...I think the volume knob on his bass wasn't cooperating and tried forcing it back on, to no avail. I'm not sure if he had a spare, if the next band had one, or if Arlene's had one, but Im pretty sure he used a different bass for the performance. Regardless, often the under appreciated musician, from a fans perspective, I can say with experience the bass player is the shoelace. Without it, your band is loose and this band is anything but.

5. Erin Marsz - lead vocals - I had met Erin before, but to see her on stage, in costume and in charge... was a different experience.  To see this product on stage, pounding through song after song of rock and roll guitar & synth, SCREAMED New York City. She puts on a show.

This is the sound people imagine when you read about New York City rock & roll. From the Lou Reed era, to Blondie, to The Strokes. I'm the first to admit that "loud" isn't necessarily my thing. I like to be sung into depression and that's a fact. But anyone who knows me, knows it's not all Sad Bastard all the time. I like my share of loud, and in this case...I like. By the time Jessica came out as a Cupcake, I was beaming with pride. Here I was, experiencing good old fashioned NYC rock & roll, and my friend was on-stage!

If I had to sum up how I saw this show from the audience, I'd say BIG SOUND. You go to a 'friends show' and you never know what to expect. I heard every instrument, and I heard it clear. The band was tight, they had a "look" and the songs were quick. Sounds like a recipe for success to me...and if you look closely, they're on their way, seeing as the Cincinnati Reds licensed their song "Paint The Town Red" as the team anthem. Buy their 2008 ep "The Hotcakes" on iTunes. "I'm A Gun" holds the EP's biggest, chorus hook and "Million Ways" gets the lyrical prize when Erin sings "Don't tell your friends about the two of us." If that's not a way to connect with every guy in the crowd, I don't know what is. When a tall, attractive blonde sings that to you...you listen. In this case, however, you should tell everyone you know about the two of you.

Tell your friends about this band. I am...and I'm pretty stoked to be on stage with 'em.

Also, we're playing late at night, which means, weather pending...I'll have plenty of time to do this:


(greatest video...but I still think he looks weird with hair)

See ya soon, hopefully at Salivar's after our set for sloppy eggs and hashbrowns. Bring your own toilet paper.