It’s been a while since I’ve done a review. I am happy that I got to review Tumbledown and Mike Herrera as they came to Tony’s Bar in Salt Lake City on 02/22/12. For old punkers, Mike Herrera is no stranger to you. He is the dark-haired, tattooed frontman of MxPx. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know one MxPx song. I remember seeing them several times on tour as a teenager, and they actually have a new album on the way. The band that Mike’s been with lately is Tumbledown. I’d say they’re rockabilly-punk fusion. The neat part about this particular show is that a friend of mine convinced Mike and the band to come to Utah for this performance instead of another state. She’s been in love with MxPx since I’ve known her, now about 13years or so. Through the magic of social networking, she spoke with Mike and he decided to roll his band and his rickety van(they had some vehicle trouble) on down to Utah.
As a result, Utah got a special night, that’s for sure. Mike opened for Tumbledown. He played audience requests of MXPX songs acoustically, much to the delight of the crowd. The crowd was about 50-60 people packed into a dimly-lit bar on the east side. We were able to stand about 2 feet from the stage, and sing along with all of the angsty songs of our youth. One of the audience members yelled out for Mike to play “Tomorrow is Another Day”. During this time, I had “a moment”. I stood there with my camera, listening to the words of this song. I thought long and hard about where I was in my life, and what the time I have left actually means. For me, this was a very revealing moment, and I was really emotional there for a second. Mike’s voice is amazing. Aside from being just a really nice man, he is quite the guitarist and vocalist. I think that there were others there having personal epiphanies while he took our requests and let us relive parts of our youth. And no, no one shouted out “Chick Magnet” in case you’re wondering.
After about 10 or so songs, a shot or two(courtesy of some happy fans) Mike and Tumbledown took the stage. The thing that got my attention first was the blurring arms of drummer Harley Trotland. The man is a monster behind the drum set. And he has to be as I stated before that this is some fast-paced music. Tumbledown did play some slower country-type ballads, remniscient of Johnny Cash. One of my favorites of the night was She’s in Texas, and I did enjoy the “Arrested in El Paso Blues” a lot. I liked this music because first off, it isn’t anything you’ve heard before. Secondly, you’re comfortable with it because you can move to it, dance, and sing a long. But most importantly, it is quality music. The upright bass player, Marshall Trotland thumps away on that bass like a heartbeat during a race. He also manages to dance while he plays. A shout out here to my pal Jesse as well for letting the band borrow his bass amp and head, thanks man!
There is a mellow, smooth dynamic in this band that leads you to believe they’ve been together 20 or so years, like an nice aged scotch. The guitarist, Jack Parker, lays down awesome, bluesy leads that just mesh well with Mike. I was very, very impressed by this band. Honestly, this was one of the best performances I’ve been to this year, and for a concert photographer that’s saying a lot. The band is technically skilled, well honed and something special to watch. If they come to a venue near you, check them out. I remember being in a sea of screaming teenage girls and boys just trying to get to the front of the stage of an MxPx show, even having my hair ripped out. The opportunity to behold Mike Herrera and Tumbledown in a small place, on a small stage, on a Wednesday night in Utah was fantastic. Check out some photos below. MxPx is hitting the road on a tour tomorrow as well. Also, here is Tumbledown’s site if you want to take a look.