Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jon and the Nightriders - Raw and Alive '98dotdotdotdotdot
artworkJon and the Nightriders have long been on the surf instro scene, from their humble beginnings in a living room in 1979, where they launched the surf revival, to their current vital and powerful live shows. John Blair is the founder and lead guitarist. The Nightriders are Dusty Watson - drums (Slacktone, Agent Orange, Dick Dale), Dave Wronski - guitar (Slacktone), and Pete Curry - bass (Halibuts). This CD-R was cut from Jay Hector's live DAT, recorded at the Foothill Club on July 10, 1998. Jon and the Nightriders continue to be an essential band on the surf scene, and as these tracks demonstrate, a power to be reckoned with. This is modern high potency surf, crunchy and intense, and played with extreme talent. This is Jon and the Nightriders as they are.
Picks: Thunder Over Rincon, Tailspin, Geronimo, Boogie Board, Moving Target, Molakai Cocktail, Rumble At Waikiki, Horror Hayride, Hurricane, Twitchin', Grommet, Shake-N-Stomp, Storm Dancer, Banzai Washout

Track by Track Review

Thunder Over Rincon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is raucous performance of "Thunder Over Rincon." What a tuff way to open a live set, with a hard chargin' song like this. A thundering ominous rumbler of a tune, gutsy and dark.

Tailspin dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Los Straitjackets rocked with this, but Jon and the Nightriders simply pound the sand like a 50 foot wall! Highly infectious and melodic, extremely strong and engaging. Yeow!

Geronimo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the great modern Indian riff based surf track, all pumped up live like there's no tomorrow. Entirely infectious, and not the usual trite Indian theme stuff either, but still readily recognizable as within that genre. Totally stoked!

Boogie Board dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big note bender, rumbling progression, major pound. Simple and sorta Freddie King like, but not... if ya know what I mean. Infectious and suave.

Moving Target dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Over a "Pipeline" styled rhythm track, a fine infectious melody lurks, commanding attention and infecting the soul. A fine track with great whammy and glissandoes, and major oomph. Too cool.

Molakai Cocktail dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a suave new tune, swimming in whammy and sporting a great melody line. John Blair's flair for the guitar line comes through loud and clear here. The writing is quite inspired, as is the sad spirit of the tune. Marvelous.

Rumble At Waikiki dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song remains a staple of John's set, big, rippin', and utterly hot! It has all the right elements, from the thundering glissandoes to the pounding percussion. Totally infectious.

Horror Hayride dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Webb Wilder did this originally. Jon and the Nightriders do it more swimmingly, more surfilly, more rippin', just more...

Hurricane dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big waves driven by the big winds, swirling around the rocks, rippin' the beach apart, with surf ridden only by the brave or the stupid. Very infectious and melodic, and as energetic as they come. Intriguing structure and melody from the obscure Conrad and the Hurricanes single.

Twitchin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Soest's great tune, rocked and swayed by an increased pace and pumped energy. Steve's original demo was great, his version with his band the Torquays is great too. Jon and the Nightriders do it mighty proud! Infectious and unusual.

Grommet dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Words like "wingnut" and "grommet" bring images of useless or bogus people to mind. This is somewhat whimsical, and very fun. The melody is strong, and well accented with whammy. A fine bass run too.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale originated this over thirty five years ago. Jon and the Nightriders bring it into the modern era with thundering and racing attack, and a fine balance between the two guitars. Bravo! Best cover of it yet.

Storm Dancer dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the best numbers John has written. Very hot and infectious. Jon and the Nightriders have added a new first guitar line that is great. The power and assault of this track is unmistakable. It screams "raging surf" while racing down the wave. Utterly fantastic!!

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas' great tune, amped up for the end of the millennium. Whammy twang, infectious melody, and very strong guitar work.