Splice Magazine

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20 Watt Tombstone Rocks St. Pete

Saint Petersburg, Florida (June 5, 2018) Saint Petersburg, FL Every now and then a band you’ve never heard of comes along and scratches an itch perfectly. For me, that itch was scratched by 20 Watt Tombstone. This two-piece band hailing from Wausau, Wisconsin was formed back in 2007. Formerly known as the Goddamns, they changed their name to 20 Watt Tombstone in 2015. Consisting of Tom Jordan on guitar and vocals, and Mitch Ostrowski on drums, it is amazing just what these two guys can do with their instruments. If punk rock and old school blues decided to have a kid, it would be these guys.

When I found out that they would be playing at Fubar Downtown in St. Petersburg, FL, I jumped at the chance to see them play live. Fubar is an intimate bar and live music venue that showcases local bands as well as touring bands if you are lucky enough to catch one there. Opening for 20 Watt Tombstone this evening was Man the Hunter and El Coyote, both local bands. Tonight sure promises to be a good night of music!

At 9pm Man the Hunter was the first band to hit the stage. This three-piece band out of Tampa features vocalist/guitarist Jim Mellody, Ryan Gerardi on bass, and drummer Ryan Frazer. Tonight, they played their very own combination of distortion blues and stoner rock. Having never heard of them, I was surprised as to how good they were. Looking around at the crowd, you could tell that everyone was enjoying their set; that is one of the great things about shows like tonight’s and the venue as well. Sure, you get to see a band that is touring the country, but you also get to see local talent that you’ve never heard of in an intimate environment that gets you right up front with the all the bands. Seeing a big name in an arena is a lot of fun, but grit like tonight is what rock n roll is all about.

After Man the Hunter was done, next up was another local band El Coyote. This Clearwater-based band features guitarist and vocalist Anthony, Michael on guitars, Ross on drums, and Jeremy on bass. Indeed, this was another really good local band. You could tell through their music that they are influenced by bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss.

Now it was time for the band everyone there wanted to see, 20 Watt Tombstone. Their style of music that they call “death blues”, is something to behold. That this two-piece band can make such full sound is amazing. Jordan’s guitar playing flat out rips; he is a master of slide guitar. When you combine that slide work with distortion, fuzz and of course, a good dose of volume, you get the heart of this band. Ostrowski’s drum work is the backbone that fills out the sound that they create. I must admit the crash of the cymbals and the overdriven guitar work made me forget that I had to get up for work the next and I was lost in the music. For me, my favorite moment is when they played “Your Man’s a Jerk” off their EP Death Blues vs the Dirty Spliff. This great song is an ode to showing a girl her partner is a jerk and you’re ready when she is. If I could come up with one complaint about tonight is it was too short! I wanted to see them keep playing.

If you like the blues, and I’m taking Robert Johnson blues not some English guitarist version, with a dose of punk rock thrown in, you will have found exactly what you’re looking for in 20 watt Tombstone. You can also look for their two EP’s Wisco Disco and Death Blues vs the Dirty Spliff to get a taste of what they are about. Their tour will be continuing through July. So, catch them while you can!

20 Watt Tombstone:

Man the Hunter:

El Coyote:

Fubar Downtown:

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