Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ollin Mondays

The quaking sons of City Terrace, Randy and Scott Rodarte have fronted Ollin since its inception in 1994. An often unheralded band of musical heroes who make legions from Berkeley to Boyle Heights dizzy with delight, they deliver high energy live sets with an eclectic range that takes punk through organic twists and turns in a laberynth of folk rhythms drawn from throughout the world. Their annual St. Patrick's Day show of Pogues covers is unworldly. And on Mondays through November, they're holding court at Mr. T's Bowl, a former bowling alley turned dive music venue in the heart of Highland Park. Have to confess that this Monday was particularly rivetting. Following a live open mic jazz jam at the classic Columbo's in Eagle Rock in the company of poets and printmakers, I stepped in and was lucky enough to catch a few signature tunes at the tail end of the gig. And it being Veteran's Day, Ollin once again had me throat knotted with a version of "Waltzing Matilda," a stirring Australian folk song at that follows a young soldier to war. Sad, true and moving in light of the stream of casualties coming home from Iraq... Ollin's featuring San Antonio Visual artist Vincent Valdez on trumpet these days. Valdez also did the cover art for San Patricios, a new CD that alludes to the brave and noble Irish lads who fought on the Mexican side during the U.S. invasion and subsequent landgrab that looted over half of Mexico's territory.

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