COMBINED REPORTS - The Roxy, West Hollywood CA, August 29 2000

From: Kevin Cloud Brechner
Date: Fri, 01 Sept 2000
Subject: The Fabulous Roxy Theatre on the Fabulous Sunset Strip

Well, fans, it was standing room only August 31, 2000, for the Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks at the fabulous Roxy. Definitely booked as "and the Hot Licks" on the marquee and tickets.  Some of the audience were holdovers from the previous act of Jeremy Kayes, because there were absolutely no seats available when we arrived half and hour early. This legendary theatre that holds 3-400 people (at $22.50 a head). Gone are the $15 days at McCabes, I guess. After much jockeying for standing room that wouldn't block table sitters' views, we were able to stand (for the entire hour and half show) on a little piece of the dance floor to the left of the stage. It was at an angle to almost feel like we were in the backstage wings. Dan was in full profile from our spot. That put us under and back of the main speakers, so this was one of the worst sounding DHHL concerts I ever attended. Maybe it was a bad mix or maybe it was our location, but we could barely hear "The Groovettes" who were stage right, right in front of us. And the instruments were hard to hear well. It was a wonderful concert none-the less.

The Roxy is all black inside, walls, ceiling, floor, stage, big lighting setup. Dan and his band of renowned went on about 10:15 to an enthusiastic crowd. And by far a younger crowd then the aging ex-hippies who usually are mesmerized by Hixian rhythms. That is good. My personal hopes that Symphony C. Page would be fiddling were not to come to pass. He introduced the band a quarter of the way through the concert as:
Brian Godschaux, fiddle & mandolin
Tom Mitchell, guitar
Ossie Andrews, acoustic bass
and "The Groovettes." He slurred their names so I didn't get it but it sounded like Susan and jxjdidy" I don't know them well enough to know if it was Jessica Harper and Karla De Vito from the album. Maybe the dark haired one was Stephanie Fife, listed on the new album's liner notes as violin. When I saw DH and the Acoustic Warriors earlier this summer at McCabes, the dark haired Groovette also played fiddle. We will leave it to a knowledgeable Hixter to correctly identify these Groovettes.

The Groovettes were a short, smiley blond and taller dark haired woman wearing rhinestone sunglasses. Both wore feather boas, and had a table full of rhythm band instruments. Dan, the Man, was dressed in dark navy blue slacks, a loose fitting (and comfortable I am sure) black shirt with a reddish tinge to it. Dark gray sox and the highlight, his two toned cream and brown buckskin loafers. Brian was wearing his cornball little porkpie hat. Don't remember Tom, but Ossie wore a white shirt and black suit coat.

The concert began with a long delay. Sound problems. A feedback rumble coming off Dan's guitar. Dan, of course, used the delay to his advantage, to entertain the crowd. Nothing seemed to solve the problem, until Dan sent a barbed comment to the sound person that he will go a block up the street to the Whiskey A Go Go where they would have a sound engineer. Dan's comment got them running as we saw a technician scramble on stage to rearrange a floor monitor. Dan isolated the problem to one note on one string of his guitar. He offered to remove that string. He described how they "wanted everything to be perfect.....fucking perfect." Lots of shouts and hoots from the crowd including a woman who, through out the show, yelled "We love you!"  To which Dan kept replying "There's a lot of love in the house tonight."

The terrible "F" word found its way into several more comments until he made some comment about "fucking love." Then he said he was no longer going to use that word tonight, but let the audience guess whether he was referring to "fucking" or "love."

Dan mentioned the release earlier in the week of "Beatin' The Heat." He said that his earlier album "Where's The Money" was recorded up the street at The Troubadour. [For trivia fans: Dan's album "Shootin' Straight" was also recorded live in LA at McCabes.] Through out the night, whenever Dan said "Beatin' The Heat," the Groovettes scrambled to their mikes to sing in harmony "Beat, Beat, Beatin' The Heat." Crass commercialism that Dan acknowledged 2/3's of the way through the show, but said he did it because he liked hearing them sing "Beat, Beat, Beatin' the Heat."

The first tunes:
- Where's the Money?
- Canned Music
Dan complained about the banks of colored stage lights beating down on their necks. Then said "We're bitching a lot tonight."
- My Cello
- Hell, I'd Go
Dan sang the introduction to What's It All About, Alfie?
- Strike It While It's Hot!
- Somebody Tell Me The Truth (written by Jon Hendricks)
Dan gave an homage to Jon Hendricks, of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross fame, who was one of Dan's major inspirations. [As an aside, Jon Hendricks released a dynamite cd, "Freddie The Freeloader," in 1990.]
Dan described his music as Folk Swing, "like folk rock, Chris Hillman & those guys, but swing. And I am the father of folk swing," said humorously in the spirit of a has-been trying to remind people of his contribution to music.
- The Buzzard Was Their Friend
Dan admitted he was "glad that is over," suggesting that they maybe had played it a little too fast. Then Dan went into a lengthy essay on the capo, so that a lay audience would know what the next song was about.
- I've got A Capo on My Brain
Next was an instrumental medley featuring Tom and Brian. Dan said, "These are by Duke Ellington and Woody Herman, I think."
Instrumental Medley: Caravan & ???
- At The End of a Love Affair
Dan switched to playing a shuffle on the snare drum. Dan had previously announced that Bette Midler, Tom Waits, and Brian Seltzer were going to guest star later, and he called out for them to join him on the next song. Amazingly, they did not appear. Maybe they didn't hear his introduction. Nor did we see Woody Allen who Dan announced was in the crowd.
- I Scare Myself
I think the Groovettes kind of overdid the rhythm instruments. Although, to my ears, their harmonies are not as complex and tight as the legendary Lickettes, I am oh so glad that he has female voices backing him again! The solos by the guitar and fiddle were very good (not as good as I have heard both of them do at other gigs), but the bass solo by Ossie Andrews was absolutely fabulous. I guess he is a new guy they are breaking in, because all night he had his eyes glued on his music stand like he was reading the charts. But his solo was incredibly good, as incredibly good as this songalways demands. In fact, before the song Dan spoke about the "violin freakout" to come. Ossie had another solo later in one of the songs and it was just as fantastic. They have a real gem there.
Next Dan sang a short comedy parody of a famous standard song, which this next day, I can't recall its title or tune [Hixters come to the rescue!] "Well, I missed the toilet last night," he sang. It went on and was hilarious bathroom excretion humor of a junior high level [some may say "middle school"]. Dan said he learned it when he was ten "and it still works."
- The Piano Has Been Drinking (written by Tom Waits)
- I Don't Want Love
Dan back on the snare drum. During the instrumental break, Dan joined The Groovettes in a choreographed dance number. Dan, with his middle aged paunch and swept back hair, is pretty darned agile and did some quick complicated moves with his legs and hands.)

Dan pointed out that it was a show business thing, but they would have to get off the stage at sometime. "It is an old show biz adage to not stay on-stage too long."

The audience began yelling out requests, which Dan politely said they would ignore. After they continued, Dan pretended that they couldn't hear the audience at all.

Dan again mentioned the new album "Beatin' The Heat." {Groovettes: "Beat, Beat, Beatin' The Heat".] Dan said he really had wanted to title the album "Songs for the Forehead," but indicated the producers nixed that idea.
- How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away
More hollering from the audience. Dan said, "You know, nobody likes a wise ass."
- Driftin'
Two young girls in the audience walked up to the center aisle near the front of the stage and were holding up a "Where's The Money?" LP between them and swaying to the music. They turned a full 360 degrees to show the album to the entire audience. It wasn't clear if they were showing off an autograph, or wished they had one.
- Four or Five Times (written by Bob Wills)
This was the final tune of a long set. It brought an immediate standing ovation as they left the stage. It's a little game the musicians play, to be coaxed back on stage for an encore, and DHHL played the timing right so that they returned before the long applause waned.

- Soda Fountain Baby
- Chattanooga Shoe-Shine Boy

They left the stage to another standing ovation and screams and hollers that lasted a full five minutes, but no amount of praise was going to bring this act back. The applause was squashed by the houselights coming on. And the rest is history. Back to the garish neon lights of the Sunset Strip, giant video screens, and towering billboards ramming current fashion down your throat. The billboards are second only to Times Square in New York for rental costs. Stretch limos pass in the night.

Incidently, Surfdog had a table with CDs for sale and some promotional posters on the wall. I tried to talk the attendant out of a poster, but he said I could write to Surfdog and they would send me one. You could try it too.

So there you have it, one of the first, if not the first, concerts of the rebirth of Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks.

Respectfully submitted by (sorry, no picture this time)
Kevin Cloud Brechner


From: J. Thorpe Walsh
Date: 05 Sept 2000
Subject: Dan and the (new) Licks at the Roxy in L.A.

Hi everyone, whoever you are. Just thought I'd drop a note about the blast I had the other night (8/31) at the Roxy Theater on the Sunset Strip.

I saw in the L.A. Times Calendar section that Dan Hicks was going to be playing in town, and as I recall, it was billed as a reunion of the Hot Licks. My wife and I have been long time fans, so of course we made plans to go. I hadn't heard anything about Dan for about 10 years, since I saw him in Santa Barbara with the Acoustic Warriors (that show was erroneously billed as Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, and on stage, Dan let the audience know how peeved he was at the false publicity).

Well, the Roxy show the other night was really a gas! I was initially disappointed when it turned out that not one of the original Hot Licks was taking the stage (although one of the new Lickettes -- or "Groovettes" as Dan referred to them -- did look a lot like Maryann Price). My disappointment quickly faded, though, as the music was just fabulous. They opened with Canned Music, and followed with Where's the Money.

The instrumentation was pretty much the same as I remember, Dan on rhythm guitar, another "lead" guitar player, a stand-up bass, two female vocalists with various small percussion pieces, and a violin player who also played the mandolin on a few tunes. All were excellent, although the female back up singers were not really used to full effect. They weren't bad, it was more like they were underused, and not miked very loudly. Now that I think about it, they added more to the visual effect than the sound itself.

Anyway, they did several tunes from the new album, Beatin' the Heat, which were all top notch, just like the Dan Hicks of old. The night was heightened by the fact that the crowd in the theater, which only holds about 500 people, or maybe a little more, included the owner of the club, Lou Adler, and his buddy, Jack Nicholson. I guess Jack's an old fan as well.

Anyway, the old favorites performed that night included How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away, Milk Shakin' Mama, I Scare Myself, and a few others I can't recall right now.

I'm thrilled to see Dan out there doin' it, doin' it again (or at least in my neighborhood for a change, if that's more accurate), and it's nice to know there are other folks out there that dig Dan the way I do. Take care!


From: ikedadm
Date: 01 Sept 2000
Subject: Dan at the Roxy

Just saw Dan at the Roxy last night. It was a great show. Dan was in fine form, singing both new and classic Hot Licks tunes with few old standards thrown in. His hilarious between-song patter and stylish in-song dancin' had the crowd roaring its approval. Even persistent sound problems couldn't detract from the great time everyone had. There was definitely a lot of love in the room.

That said, it is not really fair to bill this as a "Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks" concert. With no other members of the original "Hot Licks", this was more "Dan Hicks and the New Licks". Dan was backed by Tom on guitar, Brian on violin/mandolin and Ozzie on stand-up bass with two female "Lickette" backup singers (sorry I forgot their names). The songs sounded great, but there seemed to be a lack of chemistry bewteen Dan and the band, especially with the Lickettes. Where as the old Lickettes were frequently featured in the old tunes, the new Lickettes were strictly backup singers. Songs like "Canned Music" and "The Buzzard was Their Friend" didn't have Dan and the Lickettes trading vocals. It seemed like this group is still trying to get a feel for each other. The potential is definitely there; I just hope they stay around long enough to fulfill it.


From: Kathy & Ken
Date: 01 Sept 2000
Subject: Re: The Fabulous Roxy Theatre on the Fabulous Sunset Strip

Kevin and ikedadm gave great show reports, so we'll just fill in some details.

The Roxy show was quite an experience. Buffalo Al, Queenie, Ken and I left the hotel at about 6PM, with the idea of having a quick dinner at the Rainbow (next to the Roxy), then getting in line at 7PM. But when we got to the Roxy, there were already several people in line, so we joined the queue.

When the doors finally opened sometime after 8PM, we made our way to a table at the front of the room. Sitting close to the band, to get some of the acoustic ambience, enhances our enjoyment of a Dan show. As Kevin mentioned, the sound was less than stellar, and we were glad to have the benefit of the acoustic sound from where we sat. The mix was pretty bad, and from where the Groovettes were stationed, we couldn't really hear much vocal blending. Except during the snappy "Beat-beat-beatin' the heat" jingle which was the night's theme.

It was great to see Tom Mitchell with Dan again - it's been a long time since we've seen him at those Texas shows!

Re Groovettes/Lickettes: ikedadm commented in his report, "Where as the old Lickettes were frequently featured in the old tunes, the new Lickettes were strictly backup singers." We would say instead that the Lickettes were frequently featured in the old tunes and the Groovettes are strictly backup singers.

When Dan first brought the Groovettes into the band, we also made comparisons to the Lickettes, but over time, it seems to us that the Groovettes are a different concept to Dan than the Lickettes were.

Re "it is not really fair to bill this as a "Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks" concert": the way we look at it, "The Hot Licks" is the name of the ensemble. The lineup of The Thundering Herd at a Woody Herman show wasn't the same each time, either.

Re "Missed The Toilet Last Night": this is a parody of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (best known by the Duke Ellington band) with lyrics that would horrify Jerry Seinfeld:

"Missed the toilet last night
Went all over the floor
Cleaned it up with my toothbrush
Don't brush my teeth much any more"

Right before Dan and the band came on, Ken looked in the back of the room to see fellow Hicks fan Jack Nicholson being seated.

As both ikedadm and Kevin reported, there was indeed a lot of love in the room last night. It was a thrill for us to be there.

Kathy & Ken


From: Steve Shipman
Date: 01 Sept 2000
Subject: Roxy

Although the LA crowd looked like a class reunion of folks who graduated from high school in the 'sixties, Dan received a warm welcome from fans who were not in the least disappointed by his performance. The only negative that interfered with a perfect evening was the sound management at the Roxy. One could not believe that a venue of this import was unable to rid the place of a persistent hum that emanated from the stage. It drove Dan crazy and he made a few pointed comments, but proceeded with the show in true professional fashion.

Unlike the McCabe appearances with the Acoustic Warriors, Dan's recreation of the Hot Licks will be a stunning success. He has wonderful accompaniment in guitar, violin, and a young bassist; the Hot Lickettes are a graceful and humorous presence. Dan provided a good mix of the new with the old, but purposely chose to emphasize the 'new.' To his credit, tunes on Beating the Heat are wonderful and will stand the test of time from the self-proclaimed 'father of folk swing.'