Flamin’ Groovies

fgthisThe Flamin’ Groovies & Matt Hollywood & The Bad Feelings
The Chapel
Valencia Street, The Mission
San Francisco, California
By Victoria Joyce

The legendary Punk Pop Garage Band from San Francisco’s Summer of Love is back in business with (almost) the original guys.

The Flamin’ Groovies were the first to “drop the G” and took their name from a makeshift roach clip – marijuana cigarette or joint if you’re cool. They were the local kids and part of the 1960s San Francisco Music Scene you’ve heard so much about. That Summer of Love thing? Yeah, that. Fifty years ago – 1967.

The Flamin’ Groovies were the exception. They manifested a rough and ready texture of true Roots Rock with Eddie Cochran covers (“Something Else”) almost a nostalgic throwback and bridged the gap between the The Blues, Folk, Rock, Flower Power Psychedelic scene and the Power Pop Punk Rock scene that defined the 70s.

The Groovie’s signature hit song “Shake Some Action” is still in regular rotation and has been labeled The Greatest Pop Song ever by big shot rock critics world wide. Go ahead and ask one. They’ll tell ya.

Playing the legendary SF Venues: The Fillmore, Avalon, Straight Theater, Carousel Ballroom (Fillmore West), Longshoreman’s Hall, The Flamin’ Groovies shared the stage with The Charlatans, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother, Blue Cheer, Sly and the Family Stone, Credence Clearwater, Country Joe and The Fish, plus all those English bands and Blues Giants, etc.

Staying the course, The Groovies persevered and flourished and became the band other band’s copied. A genuine Template Band, like the NY Dolls or Guns & Roses. Copy Cats! Dirty Rats!

fgposterWords like “pioneer” and “cult” are routinely used to describe the Flamin’ Groovies. Legend has it that like The Velvet Underground – their first album didn’t sell a lot – but everyone who bought a copy started a band. It’s like that. Especially beloved in Britain, The Flamin’ Groovies were embraced by the Pre-Punk Scene in the mid 70s – the Ramones famously opened for them in London, 1976. Joe Strummer went to see them and it’s been safety pins ever since.

Founder Cyril Jordan has had other manifestations of the Groovies and other adjacent bands but this current reunion is pretty special with the addition of song writing partner, Chris Wilson after a happenstance meeting at a 2013 London show. When the word got out this reunion might be the real deal – the show offers came in. Kismet!

Hardly nostalgia – the reunion brought new material – and the FG’s songbook sounds as fresh, fast and ferocious as any dank dark rock club in any dangerous part of any abandoned city you can name. So playing the hits sounds even better because all these years on these guys means they are better musicians with even more expensive equipment.

Sold out show on the last Saturday night of July 2017 at the Chapel in San Fran’s Mission district on the heels of a highly successful Sacramento show Cyril and Chris took the stage and a packed house with SF rockers ranging from spoilt millennials to silver haired teeny boppers. Some kids never grow up.

Matt Hollywood and the Bad Feelings opened the evening with a quiet acoustic, low key blend of Alt Rock with sweet vocals. Mr. Hollywood is a survivor of The Brian Jonestown Massacre so lots of local support. Picking up the pace with jangly guitars their 10-song set nicely built it’s way to a more rocking beat and the promise a coming album. “Yay” said the fans.

The Flamin’ Groovies hit the stage about 10p with a lot of love from the crowd and flashing sparkling psychedelic lights. Like time had stopped and nothing ever changed. The opening song was very Who-like with I Can See for Miles sweeping guitars and snap boom drums.

Current line up is: Cyril Jordan on guitar and vocals, Chris Wilson same. Chris Von Sneidern on bass and Tony Sales bangs the drum.

Selections from a new album release are fierce and ferocious;  “Fantastic Plastic” filled the set with “What the Hell’s Going On,” “End of the World,” “Crazy Macy,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” (Beau Brummels cover), “Jumpin’ in the Night,” and of course included (Just play the Hits!) “Shake Some Action” and the immortal “Teen Age  Head.”

The fans were delighted and the mixed demographic included bleached blonde leather jacketed punks, fringe jacketed hippies with silver pony tails and almost all the gorgeous girls were in mini dresses with boots and fur, fake and vintage. Earrings and tattoos all over everyone. Rockers all.

fgbottomThe Flamin’ Groovies always bring excellent musicianship and serious song writing to the stage and the studio. This is still true and the comic book wink is there as well. Artist Cyril Jordan has always done the graphics for their records and still in fine form. Check out the cover art of “Fantastic Plastic.” Dracula conducts a band that includes Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Which says it all.

Currently touring, The reviews are amazing. This band is beloved by press and fans alike. And especially other Musicians!! August, September and October The Groovies are touring the East Coast, Europe and wrapping it up in the American Midwest. See dates below: