There's a little thing in journalism we like to call "full disclosure." Full disclosure mandates that before I tell you about one of the best live music shows in Tucson in the past six months, you know it occurred at a bar run by one of my good friends.
Normally, a posting in this space in the context of said disclosure loses credibility when I praise the tremendous turnaround and rise of The Hut as a live music venue. But for those of us who remember The Hut as a seedy outpost of canned reggae and shady characters that we scurried past on our way to hipper destinations, the transformation over the past year has been nothing short of amazing.
New management invested in a state-of-the-art PA system and slowly and steadily edged its way onto the Fourth Avenue music scene by featuring a wide variety of local and out-of-town musicians. Last night was a coming out party of sorts for The Hut, in front of a small but fortunate crowd treated to the rockin' Bolshevik Revolution that is The Red Elvises.
If you saw the swingingest and cheesiest band this side of the Caspian Sea recently at Plush, the Rockabilly Russians (and one dude from Minnesota) elevated their pajama-clad act with Chuck Berry (via Marty McFly) guitar riffs, the only four-person drum solo I've ever seen, near-perfect sound, singalong lyrics, an ICBM-sized bass guitar, and the slinkiest, sassiest female keyboard/accordion soloist to ever strut the stage in a gold cutaway mini-dress.
In a heavy Russian accent, bass player Oleg Bernov sang, "We gonna rock this joint until we sound like Pink Floyd." And rock they did, complete with a bar-length conga line and one of four encores featuring female volunteers (and one male) joining the band on stage to answer the musical call, "I Want To See You Belly Dance."
The only ironic homage to The Hut of old was the finale, when zebra-striped lead singer and guitarist Igor Yusov crooned, "Natasha's Playing Reggae."
But now I border on hyperbole. I'll let photos and video speak for themselves. The camera phone does not lie (although its audio leaves much to be desired).