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It’s early June in Sacramento and the signs of summer are plentiful. The days are warming up, kids are starting summer vacation, and the nights are getting louder. What would normally be considered a school night turned into a Rock n Roll (Dog) Party at Luigi’s this past Thursday where Kepi Ghoulie and Dog Party kicked off the first night of their tour, with Pets joining the fun for the evening. All three bands toured the southwest together two years ago, but this time Kepi is taking Gwen and Lucy across the US to Florida, up through Vermont and back home to support their new album “Lost Control” on Asian Man Records.
Pets kicked things off with their tried and true brand of distorted pop punk. The interesting thing that separates them from other bands is their heavy use of reverb and distortion on otherwise conventionally fast and poppy songs: Allison saturates her guitar with 11 pedals while Derek adds a muffled crunch to his bass. Kepi and Lucy battled it out for drumming supremacy and Gwen jumped on stage to join David Houston on percussion after barely dodging a maraca to the skull from Kepi that David wasn’t shaking at the time. By the end of the very first set every musician set to perform was on stage, totaling six people and nineteen pedals!
Next the stage cleared for the teenage sister duo Dog Party, who performed an array of new and old songs as well as a couple covers. The kids in attendance were definitely celebrating the end of the school year, and the Giles sisters provided the soundtrack for their dance party with songs like “Lost Control,” “Box of Handkerchiefs” and the X cover “Los Angeles.” Hearing the girls mention “this is an old one” certainly elicited some chuckles from the more senior members of the audience.
Finally, after a Happy Birthday serenade to Linda Perry and cake intermission (the treat, not the band), Kepi Ghoulie wrapped things up with a fully electric set, backed by Dog Party. Playing on his Golden Arrow Bass, Kepi was in classic form rocking the crowd with some favorite Ghoulies tunes as well as his more recent solo offerings. The trio practiced over 50 songs to be ready for as many requests as possible on this tour, so the set list was more of a suggestion as fans shouted out wild cards like “99 Lives,” “Fortune Teller” and “Freaks on Parade.” With balloons flying around the room and the kids go go going crazy, it was another fun-filled evening at the newly and beautifully remodeled Luigi’s Slice Fungarden!

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