The raucous rockabilly of the Twistin Tarantulas had the Raisin River Distillery hopping, thanks to Manchester Underground Music and Art.
Manchester Underground Music and Art Rocks
It has been a hot minute since we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a Manchester Underground Music and Art show in Manchester. When we arrived just a few minutes before show time, the team of Steve Girbach, Jason Heinrich, John Mooneyham, and Berkeley Tistle were busy getting people into the show and the sound system ready to roll for the Twistin Tarantulas at the Raisin River Distillery.
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the guys who make Manchester Underground Music and Art happen on the Fans With Bands podcast (the episode comes out July 12). Steve and John have been friends since high school, and back then, they dreamed about booking bands in their hometown to showcase local talent and share their love of music. The seeds of Manchester Underground Music and Art were sown.
When Steve later moved back to Manchester, he and John got to talking, and before you knew it, Manchester Underground Music and Art launched as a Facebook page in search of a venue and bands. When Jason moved to Manchester, Steve and John felt they had met a kindred spirit and asked him if he wanted to help with media and art. The same story with the newest member, Berkeley, who Steve met running sound at The Ark. Steve invited Berkeley out to a show and had him running the sound the minute he showed up.
Shaken not stirred: Raisin River Distillery
Initially, Manchester Underground Music and Art hosted shows in the Manchester Mill. We caught some of the early shows with Jim Roll, Zachariah Malachi, as well as Jennifer Westwood and Dynan Dunbar. The space at the mill was cozy (i.e., small) but fun.
As with much of the world, Covid changed the landscape. In search of a new venue, Steve contacted friends in Manchester who put him in touch with the Raisin River Distillery. The distillery, owned by Krista and Joe Jarvis, opened in the heart of the pandemic in July 2020. They transformed the historic Koebbe Welding shop into a fun, unique, and open space which highlights the old shop’s feel while adding a huge array of killer cocktails in a bright and welcoming space.
The Jarvis’s were more than open to supplying their patrons and the surrounding area with quality local music. The new performance space at the Raisin River Distillery is large and inviting, allowing Manchester Underground Music and Art to expand their bookings beyond solo or duo acts. After a few fits and starts, the Manchester Underground Music and Arts partnership kicked off in November of 2022. Their first act booked at the Raisin River Distillery was Hell native and Detroit blues legend Michael Katon.
Tearing it up with the Twistin Tarantulas
Tonight’s musical extravaganza from Manchester Underground Music and Art features the rockabilly of the Twistin Tarantulas. The Tarantulas have been kicking ass and taking names since 1993. Founded by “Pistol” Pete Midtgard, the band includes guitarist Carl Bradychok and drummer Nick Marocco. Together they play rockabilly with just a bit of extra zip sauce. It is the rock music version of jambalaya with a healthy spanking of hot sauce; hot, savory, and delicious.
Instead of a stream of covers that you might expect from a typical rockabilly band, the Twistin Tarantulas keep things fresh with a heavy helping of their original music. Pete provided engaging stories in-between a few tunes adding smiles and laughs to the mix.
The band was on point for this show at the Raisin River Distillery. Carl had his Gretsch singing its heart out with slick and sexy chords, wicked licks, and a tone that would make Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore smile. Nick kept the band snapping and jumping with enough swing to get your heart pumping and toes tapping. The legendary Pistol Pete had his bass popping while belting out fan favorites such as “Let’s Go” and “I’m The Boy.” The band also kicked out my personal favorite, “Thik Skull,” from their “The Subtle Sophisticated Sounds Of The Twistin Tarantulas” album.
Just because Cash is the King and Lemmy rules, the Twistin Tarantulas threw in a couple of humdinger covers with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.” The Motorhead cover wrapped an incredible set and performance of nearly two hours of music in fine fashion.
Check out more photos from the Manchester Underground Music and Art show featuring the Twistin Tarantulas at the Raisin River Distillery. Once you take a peek, be sure to let us know what you think.
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