Skye Paige & The Original Recipe, Sawyer Family Band, Jeff Riddle, Hopeless Romantics
Jimbo’s Rock Lounge
Sept. 26

A decent crowd of local musicians, greasers, and pin-up babes congregated at Jimbo’s on a drizzly Sunday night for a four-act bill of rawkabilly and trash-blues. Local quartet Skye Paige and the Original Recipe shared a headlining slot with the Sawyer Family, four mean-lookin’ gents from Eugene, Ore.

I arrived in time to catch a few tunes from the opening guy/girl duo Hopeless Romantics, including a sweet version of the Penguins’ classic “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” and a shouty cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy.” They were like doo-wop revivalists with vintage punker attitude and gobs of eyeliner.

Songwriter Jeff Riddle, the frontman of punk band Steve Hit Mike, performed a lot of material from his recent, all-acoustic solo album 16 Reasons to Kill Jeff Riddle. Seated on a barstool at the stage front, Riddle looked like he’d just rolled into town after a nonstop, cross-country road trip. He strummed a sticker-covered six-string and sang, hollered, and whispered his lyrics with his eyes tightly closed.

“I haven’t had much sleep and I’ve bee drinking tonight,” he rambled. “I’ll trade someone a CD for a shot of whiskey.” Fortunately, he wasn’t too tipsy to belt out some strong stuff, ranging from blue-collar ballads (a la the Pogues or Billy Bragg) and a few more personalized anthems of anguish. His voice sounded shredded on the louder high notes, but the grittiness fit the tenacity of his set.

Clad in a bright-red vintage dress and all dolled up, singer/guitarist Skye Paige was in great spirits, despite having a sprained ankle from her previous night’s antics. She and her band — guitarist Bradley MacLean (of The BBQ Bros.) and bassist Mike Dumas and drummer Patrick Queen (both of The Defilers) — launched into the opening double-shot of “Bad Luck Woman” and “Mean Old Man,” both bluesy rockers from their recent album, Whole Lotta Woman. Tight, solid, and loud, they blasted the room with a twang-bang wall of guitars. Paige’s slide solos complemented McLean’s dense rhythm guitar work while Dumas and McQueen locked in on the fast rhythms.

The funniest moment of the set came when Paige introduced a rendition of Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” (she got Jimmy mixed up with Jerry Reed and Jimmy Dean). The sweetest moment was Paige’s dedication of their song “Hot Stuff” to local radio personality Amy Hutto.

The Sawyer Family guys wasted no time setting up their gear. Sportin’ the lowest-slung axe of the year, guitarist Seth Sawyer grabbed the center mic and barked, “Alrighty, everybody wake the fuck up!” They immediately revved things up from there, with upright bass player Zac Sawyer crooning on the opening song. From their fast-paced guitar-rock and punk songs to more prog-rockish metal-punk material, their technique and proficiency dazzled the crowd, especially Zac’s use of the bow on the big bass. Dynamic, super-tight, and, at times, cinematic, the Sawyers weren’t the by-the-book pyschobilly act some might have expected.