THE BASH DOGS + THE SOUL BEACONS @ SOUL KITCHEN
Photos by Maximilian Ho Words by Madison Desler
The Foundation Room—a VIP area adjacent to the main venue at the House of Blues in Anaheim—is an interesting place to see a show. With its gaudy, but cheap looking decor (enclave ceiling, giant golden deities) that could be described as “Neon Marrakesh,” or “Trendy Hindu,” it looks more like a Vegas nightclub—the kind where girls stumble around like baby deer on stilt-like heels—than a place that would house a groovy 60’s revival night like “Soul Kitchen.”
Conceived by OC rockers The Bash Dogs, “Soul Kitchen” stands as an an attempt to bring a not-yet-seen 60’s dance party to Orange County, the kind that LA venues like The Echo and Los Globos have been doing for years—but with the added element of live music.
Awkward venue aside—a very intimate space where the middle-aged singles in Hawaiian shirts and leopard print were impossible to avoid, and there seemed to be an oblivious birthday party taking place in the center of the room—the music was bangin’. First up were The Soul Beacons, whose organ-fueled, jammy goodness filled the dance floor with enthusiastic dancers, pounding out, funky, soulful tunes that would make Booker T. and the M.G.’s very proud. Around the time they hit everyone with a cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” most of the elderly had filed out, the birthday girl had blown out her candles, and it was time to get down.
The Bash Dogs hit the stage after midnight—decked out in long hair and sharp suits—giving the crowd all the lava-lamp, psyched-out, wah-wah guitar riffs they could handle. You could hear influences ranging from the Doors to Jimi Hendrix inside their Eastern-influenced, acid rock, with long instrumental jams taking center stage in most of their tunes. Succeeding in their dance party mission, all the kids in fringe vests and unbuttoned shirts were shaking their stuff along with the enthusiastic go-go dancers that stole the show up on stage. By the time the clock got close to two, the Bash Dogs wrapped things up with a mash-up of guaranteed house-rocker “Twist and Shout” with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” sending kids out into the night with kaleidoscope visions of days gone by.
In between sets, DJ’s spun an ear-pleasing mix of 60’s soul, R&B, and psych rock, keeping the atmosphere up while attendees perused a modest rack of vintage clothes for sale, and took photos with funky props in front of a “Soul Kitchen” backdrop. If the Bash Dogs are hoping to make “Soul Kitchen” a regular occurrence, they’re well on their way. If you put together tight bands, a free price of admission, and music built for dancing, those crazy, nostalgia-loving Orange County kids will most certainly sniff it out.