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HomeBlogsJeff Hewitt's blogBig Bobby and the Nightcaps, The Cazz and Tornado Bait at the Taphouse

Big Bobby and the Nightcaps, The Cazz and Tornado Bait at the Taphouse

July 21, 2019800Views

Night is a nostalgia dancer, a cancer with time-stamped expiration. Memory waits around obscured corners, armed with great, nasty teeth and two-liter, green-glowy plastic bottles of ether.

We mosh in yesterday's shadow at the risk of staying too long. Glass slippers litter the road. O'erturned and abandoned, the bloated corpse of your pumpkin carriage is out of warranty. Wake with a hangover and a broken head full of briarpatch. Pray it was worth it. Desperately wait for the sun to surrender. Renew. Try your luck again. Burn the candle down. Fuck that candle, we'll flail in the dark and revel that we're still able to move. And if you're very good and very lucky, a band like Big Bobby and the Nightcaps serves as soundtrack for your adventure. Savor the extant. Breathe it in deep, because the alternative is boring as fuck, no? Because the only time you aren't alone is in the music. And in the company of others like you who love the music.

The group is a living, breathing history lesson on our scene, of course. They've ties to the M-80s, The Candy Snatchers, Buttsteak, Black Jesus, and a bunch of other bands I'm not gonna spend all day looking up. The sundry collection of badasses is ably led by a supremely competent bandleader, Rob Katherman -- he originally played bass for the M-80s with his brother Witt (who passed beyond the veil way too early in '05), Eddie Pierce, and Rusty Floyd starting back in the mid 80s.

Given the number of folks from those days who aren't with us anymore, I feel like every time I talk about these bands I end up running down a list of the fallen --but let's not do that this time. Let's assume that if you know these groups you know who they are and give all honor to their amazing musical talent and storied lives. A band like this runs a risk of becoming a sort of regional tribute act -- and they're not. They make real music, today. Bloody and compelling. We mourn the dead. We honor them. But this is a band that's alive and fucking well, doing great things right here in the vital now.

This lineup (and honestly, it can change on any given show) included: Drummer, Sergio Ponce, who is a magnificent beast behind the kit. Eric Thornton, one of the best players in the city. Bink Brown who can be seen regularly with the Mighty Buskers. He also sat in with Tornado Bait on lap steel, for this show. Maybe he's a full time member now? I can't keep track. Alex Harrison, formerly of The Real Tears, brought some tasty shredding as well. Jimmy Z, who is now fronting the Cazz stepped up to the mic for a few songs. Joe Annaruma, aka Joey Chainsaw (formerly of Isolated Cockpit // correction, -- Joe is still in the band //, helped out with a moving cover of "Ace" by The Real Tears that was originally sung by Darbe Warner -- who is sadly on that aforementioned list of folks no longer with us. Todd Owens joined on vocals for a bit as well. -- Thanks to Debra Persons of Hardcore Norfolk for helping me get these names straight!

Anyways: Big Bobby and the Nightcaps fucking rock. I'd very much like to see a new record from them. Go see 'em if you haven't.

. . .

The Cazz came out with what looks to be like a new singer -- Jimmy Z (aka James Zobel, who I'm told also has ties to the M-80s from back in the day.) Zobel is a dynamic presence in the band, and while I've always liked guitarist Paul Unger's energy on the mic, this new arrangement allows him to completely focus on git to monstrous effect. The group was a straight powerhouse of classic punk rock last night. The rhythm section of Denise Lawrence Brown on bass and drummer Dickie Fulcher (also formerly of the Real Tears) is a revelation. The Cazz is one of my favorite bands in the area -- easily in my top five. Scion of Hardcore Norfolk, James Persons stepped in for a bit -- he's a young man with a bright future and a thousand possibilities in front of him, but we'd be blessed if he started his own band full time.

Tornado Bait landed like a backyard mothership from the galactic region of not-fucking-around. I've written plenty about this band, and I'll not go on long here -- but they are a gift from the heavens. Carl Perkins meets the Melvins. Doris Day fronting Crass. Elvis meets L7. Hank Williams on the mic with Parliament Funkadelic. We're so damn lucky to have them.

--end transmission --

Big Bobby and the Nightcaps.

Norfolk. Punk.

The Cazz

Norfolk. Punk.

Tornado Bait

Hampton. Americana / Grunge-grass.

Words and photos from Jeff Hewitt.