Phat J’s Birthday Bash featuring Tommy & The High Pilots @ Velvet Jones ~ March 1, 2013

There Ain't no Party Like a Phatty Party. 

The nth annual Birthday Bash for one of Santa Barbara’s most recognized DJ boasted a number of great local Santa Barbara bands – Matt Armor, Indian Trading Furs, Strikes At One, Winchester Rebels, and Tommy & The High Pilots. 

I came exclusively for Matt Armor, Indian Trading Furs, and The High Pilots. Although, can it be called “exclusive” when you’re trying to see three of five great bands?

Matt Armor played right at 9. An acoustic “roots rock” set in front of a growing crowd. With nothing but his guitar and his throaty growl, Armor set the tone for the rest of the night.
photo by j.puchli
Indian Trading Furs quickly followed, turning the energy in the house up a notch. The four-piece folk rock band filed the room with insane banjo, fast guitar, plunky bass, and snappy drum beats. ITF touts a dueling vocal style, with Kyran and Will playing off each other, creating an almost howling affect – which goes well with the folky punk rock. I can’t believe it was my first time seeing them play in a proper venue. Definitely staying on my radar.

Strikes Against One, then Winchester Rebels hit the stage. Both bands are stellar, but I thought they had a different flavor than the others on the bill. This showcase could have easily been split into two, with SAO and WR carrying a heavier rock show. But the people loved them.

photo by j.puchli
Then SB’s favorite hometown boys explode on stage. Tommy and the High Pilots can only be summed up with one word: rock. They have really grown into themselves, both their sound and stage presence getting better with age. T&THP played a crowd pleasing mix of their early hits, then “tested the waters” with some songs off their new album – which I recorded on a crappy iPhone so it just sounds like heavy breathing on my phone.  Bummer, guess I gotta wait for the real thing.

As always, Phat Js’ Birthday Bash was a phenomenal success. Thank you Phat J for being born to rock.