Friday, April 7, 2023

The Smokes

Crystal Hotel - Al's Den

6:30 pm, doors, 7 pm show

$10 in advance, $10 day of show
Limited Seating, first come first serve.
Expect standing room.

21 and over

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About The Smokes

Gritty, swampy rock 'n' roll

The Smokes

The Smokes make boozy, gritty, swampy rock 'n' roll music. Their nine-song, full-length effort 4-5-6 is 40 minutes of tempered fury produced by Northwest savant (and former Smokes' guitarist) Pat Kearns. Kearns is responsible for some of Oregon's most powerful rock music, with credits including the Exploding Hearts, Clorox Girls, Soda Pop Kids, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, The Nice Boys and Jerry Joseph + The Jackmormons. Driven by Robert Burnham's understated songwriting, blue-collar guitar and tobacco growl, The Smokes give a big nod to their forebears, but they don't wallow in nostalgia. They take a blowtorch to stacks of dusty 45s and LPs, leaving behind a misshapen, old-fashioned, and totally listenable hybrid. The music has the tube tones, analog warmth and grinding rhythms of classic radio rock like the Stones, T-Rex and CCR, plus The Cars' singalong hooks and Warren Zevon's ironic half-smirk. Other Smokes songs have more in common with iconic late-'70's punk acts like X or Iggy Pop. The Smokes roaring/bluesy/twangy set has earned them opening slots for cult-punkers like Sylvain Sylvain (of the New York Dolls). Fans of minimalism will appreciate the Smokes' ethics --nary a guitar solo appears on the nine songs of 4-5-6. Instead, keyboardist Mark Breitenbach delivers some of the grittiest Fender Rhodes you'll hear this decade. Seth Gibson's Motown bass rumble and Adam Alcala's disciplined drums lay down thick as yesterday's grits, never overstepping their bounds, never underplaying. The Smokes are old friends and have been sharing music for years, putting up with each other on the road and giving each other the feedback it takes to become a cohesive, well-schooled rock band.

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