Straight Flush Ghetto tour
Tonic Lounge, Portland, OR

After months of anticipation Sweden’s The Bones final made it to our shores. Our faithful readers will remember back to November (2004) that we featured Straight Flush Ghetto as our highly coveted “Record of the Month.” Indeed, the TCE headquarters were all a buzz when this monster plastic met our infernal speakers. There was something in the twin-guitars and the skull crushing rhythm that branded it as a classic. Now here we stand in front of the dimly-lit stage - eyes fixed on the Ghetto bad boys.

By the time The Bones arrived in Portland they had been to 33 US cities in 37 days. To say they were burned is an understatement. But what a trail of fire they left in their wake. Reports from SXSW heralded the band as “the way rock music should be played” and from Boston one of our fans wrote, “these guys mix up dirty rock’n roll with spit, sweat and blood – you need to see them every night!”

Still recovering from a mid-western cold that was making it’s way through the band we sat down with bassist Andi and brothers Spooky (d) and Beef (v,g) for a road report. “We started the tour with the Dropkick Murphys in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day,” says Beef. “Then we made our way down to Texas to do the Liquor and Poker showcase with the Backyard Babies. Before that we were on this package tour with the River City Rebels, The Black Halos and The Queers.”

In all their road miles the one thing that impressed the band was the actual size of the continent. Says bassist Andi, “We knew the US was going to be big but we didn’t know how big until we started driving from one gig to the next. Sometimes we drove all day, 10-12 hours, just to get to the next show. In Europe that would be four countries.” Chimes in Beef, “We are from a very small town in Sweden called Karlskrona. It’s about 500 kilometers southeast of Stockholm. So this is very big here.”

When asked to explain how Stockholm became the next Detroit musically Andi was quick to point out that, “We are all around the same age - us, Backyard, Hellacopters, Demons, Hives. We all listen to different styles from ‘70s hard rock and heavy metal to garage and country western. It binds us all together.” Says Beef, “Our biggest market is in Germany where they are excepting to a lot of styles. When we play Sweden sometimes we have to change our style to get gigs. We did one tour where we did all rocked-up country western. It paid the bills. But over here we played New York at The Continental at 3:30 in the afternoon and it was packed. Other cities too, we’ve been getting some great feedback from the crowds and that’s really exciting because it’s our first time here.”

Like all struggling band’s The Bones are paying there dues. Says Andi, “The exposure here has been good, but the money’s not there yet…and the food’s not there, and the showers aren’t there (breaks off laughing).” Beef injects, “But the spirit’s there and we’re having a great time. It’s very encouraging. We’ve been together ten years now. We have three full-length records and two EPs. We’ve toured Europe many times…so now it’s time for the US.”

When the lights illuminated the club’s stage a wall of sound poured over it like a fog rolling in. Beef, all 220lbs, stood squarely, both feet firmly planted - his Les Paul bellowing out open-chord riffs at 100 miles an hour. Guitarist/vocalist Boner, who had kept quite during our interview to save his throat for the show, was all business as he slung six-string mayhem with unbridled passion. The set read like their current record with “Spit It Out” getting the show going. “Do You Wanna…” had Spooky’s drums in the spotlight as he bashed out the intro and settled in to a rhythmic pounding while both guitars flayed at fevers pitch. The chorus “Do you wanna come along” instantly infected the crowd where they joined in singing at full volume.

Bassist Andi strutted across the stage striking the occasional rock star pose to the delight of the hip-shaking ladies crowding the stage. “Not A Lovesong” must have been dedicated to them in a trash-talking catchy sort-of-way. A handsome addition was “Slick”, “Home Sweet Hell”, “Dead End Cruisin’” and “Less Than Zero” from the band’s second long-player titled Screwed, Blued and Tattooed. Five weeks on the road had turned the four into a lean-mean machine. Very little chitchat between song just straight-ahead, high-octane rock. “The Chevy Devils” the bonus track off Straight Flush Ghetto got a great welcome as did “Memphis ’77.” As with all great shows this one ended far too early leaving us wanting more. It was all true - they mixed up dirty rock’n roll with spit, sweat and blood and we wish we could have see them every night of the tour!

Images taken from The Bones website ©2005


Spit It Out
Do You Wanna…
Not A Lovesong
Home Sweet Hell
Dead End
Chevy Devils
Less Than O
Memphis ’77

The Bones