February 19, 2011

Old Man Markley @ Whiskey Richards ~ Feb. 18, 2011

"How are they all going to fit on that tiny little stage?" This was my main concern when walking in to Whiskey Richards tonight awaiting the performance of Old Man Markley, an eight piece bluegrass punk rock band from the San Fernando Valley (of course).

To set the picture, Whiskey Richards' stage is set in a back corner off a "corridor" that holds the bar. It is triangular shaped and small (I'd guess at the dimensions, but I am really bad at it). The eight piece band consists of guitar, bass, drums, autoharp, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and washboard. Yes, washboard. And to be make the picture really clear, the bass is a stand up bass guitar set in a metal tub with a plunger as a stand. There were three mic stands for five vocalist, including the lead, Johnny Carey, and cords everywhere! That said, I've seen Old Man Markley before on a much larger stage and they owned every corner of it - so this was going to be a very tight squeeze indeed.

But once Old Man Markley started playing, that concern quickly faded. They jumped right in with "Party Shack" setting the audience into a stomping frenzy for the next hour. The music was upbeat and high energy, reminiscent of a punk rock hoedown, complete with mandolin, fiddle, and washboard solos. Yes, washboard. OMM's high energy never faded as they smoothly maneuvered around each other and the cords, and encouraged the crowd to let loose.

Old Man Markely's performance was tight and well orchestrated - they easily could have fit three more players on that stage.