Life Without Elvis

The Mermaid Lounge

December 26, 2003

Even though Life Without Elvis were rooted in rockabilly and surf guitar instrumentals, they were pretty loud. Thrashabilly, you might call it. Rockabilly soul with a rock heart.

The band's spine was drummer Rocker, whose attack and fills were so powerful and ferocious that I felt like he might lose control at any second. The drummer couldn't be ignored, so if you couldn't accept his fly off the handle approach, the music wouldn’t work. The rest of the band was bassist Joel and guitarist Dave. The band offered up originals and covers equally.

The band had a Californian and Mexican feel. Their rockabilly roots were driven home by their ‘50’s style drum kit, mics and shirts. Also straight out of the rockabilly handbook were lyrics about dead things on the side of a dusty road. They were reminiscent of Los Lobos when all three of them shouted in unison.

The best crowd response came after a rockin’ version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” When the band went from the song’s original speed to a faster tempo, there was a wonderful feeling that Cash’s spirit would never be gone, that he was in the room. My only complaint is that the songs were too long—there were 8 in all.

Still, this band is sure to make you curl your upper lip and dance off your blue suede shoes.

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