Gig Seeker Pro


Flagstaff, Arizona, United States

Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Band Rock




"2BUKU/V1 Live @ Mia’s January 28, 2011 -5 chilies"

Live @ Mia’s
January 28, 2011
5 chilies

by Hannah Pralle

In keeping with Mia’s outstanding track record of attracting and supporting high-caliber live musicianship, on Jan. 28th local bands 2BUKU and V1 drew the largest, dancing-est, drinking-est, cheering-est crowd I’ve seen in all my bar-going Flagstaff years, short of several heavily promoted Orpheum features. Seriously, it was nuts-to-butts in there and worth every beer-sloshing jostle. Power-duo 2BUKU, comprised of guitarist Nate Davison and vocalist Dan “Danimal” Stahl kicked the night off with a long set of original music, seeming to mostly alternate between tasty grooves and super sick riffs, plus a sneaked-in cover of Crazy (à la Gnarls Barkley, not Patsy Cline). As Davison commented later, “Dan and I had this goal to put something together that’s not, you know, political or ‘conscious’; we just want it to be fun, energetic, and actually kind of sleazy.”

“It was all those things!” I enthused. “I’m pretty sure I felt my root shakra twitch a couple times.”

“Good! That’s good,” Davison assured me.

In any case, the duo boasts an irresistible blend of chops, flamboyance, and (for the ladies) rakish good looks to recommend them. Stahl has the kind of front-man (stage-right-man?) insouciance you’d associate with the Mick Jaggers and Steven Tylers of the world – a kind of face-y, lippy, upper-register-scaling, bandana’d, bare-chested magnetism, slam-dunking every syncopated get-down without breaking stride or missing a pelvic gyration. Stage presence? Um, yeah. He could probably teach it at the community college. Meanwhile, Davison’s riffs are as unforgettable as the 1933 National Steel Guitar he plays (with electrical pickups installed himself, post-Great Depression). Indeed, this stuff passes the humming test – you know, where you’re still humming a song days later. Tending towards the kind of hypnotic cyclicality popularized by the White Stripes (think Blue Orchid), albeit with an unmistakeable bluesy grind, Davison’s slide work establishes a visceral momentum that you’d have to be pretty much dead not to respond to. Stahl’s punchy, lyrical squall is a perfect compliment – the overall sense, for the listener, is of a style so rhythmic and percussive, it’s actually difficult to hold still or to frown.

V1, who took the stage next, is comprised of lead man and local favorite Dean Bonzani (owner, Zani gift shop) and drummer Mike “Mike Doyle” Doyle, both formerly of Buddha With A Gun, guitarist Ryan Elewaut (owner, Custom Sound Instruments), and bassist Nate Davison (yes, he’s in both bands). You know when you see one of those couples where they just look good together? And you think, “That’s a cute couple.” That’s how V1 is, except there’s four of them. This was the first live show for the band, who nevertheless disported themselves with panache. The group takes their distinctive and minimalist name from the devastating German buzz bomb Vergeltungswaffe (a.k.a. the Fieseler Fi 103), nearly 10,000 of which were dropped on England in World War Two. Apparently more interested in loving (and small business ownership) than fighting, however, V1 rocked the crowd – and I mean rocked, not hip-hopped or metalled or hippie shuffled or bluesy jammed or ska’d the crowd – with a fresh variety of originals and originally-re-imagined covers by such timeless greats as Tom Petty and The Talking Heads. Elewaut’s understated finesse combined with Bonzani’s categorical feistiness creates a camera-left/camera-right sort of appeal that’s just visually fun, while Doyle and Davison concern themselves with making the groove their bitch. The combined force of V1’s kickass sound, kickass presence, and kickass lightshow had everyone on their feet, and not just because Mia’s had run out of chairs hours before. No complaints were voiced, least of all concerning Bonzani’s gorgeously leggy wife Elizabeth’s dance moves, who proves that standing by your man is straight sexy. The most touching part of the night was when Birthday Bo Evans, who just turned 56, made a cameo appearance on-stage as lead vocalist, drink in hand, for a vigorous rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Who Knows”. The crowd actually did go wild. (Intriguing rumors abound, regarding an alleged project called BoTown – MoTown classics with Bo – and I call band-review-shotgun if this ever happens.)

Just when it seemed the event couldn’t get any better, 2BUKU returned with local musical master-of-puppets Rafe Sweet on drums, Clint Alday on bass, and Ceta Govinda Das Singley on keyboard for a fully-realized reload of the earlier set. Oddly, the addition of this musical backbone didn’t change the sound as dramatically as you’d think – 2BUKU got bigger and fuller, but they’d already maxed out on swank.

Almost last but not least, Eric Hatt’s role as sound engineer mustn’t go uncelebrated, as he achieved what, for me, represents the pinnacle of sound engineermanship: I didn’t have a single thought about levels or EQ all night long. It just sounded good.

As a whole, the event reaffirmed my faith in the local Flagstaff music scene, as well as intimating the existence of some fresh, new currents. Both 2BUKU and V1 maintain an internet presence via Facebook, and they’d appreciate it if you’d stop in and press their “like” buttons next time you’re online.

Last and least in actuality, I’d like to volunteer the fact that I’d thought I was done with my band-review-writing days, but I’ve been thrust from early retirement by the desire to express my pleasure at this specific show. Just sayin’. - The Noise--see our pictures for jpeg of article--publication does not have online viewing


Who cares!?

If you do, we have a demo, but the LP is in the works.



2BUKU is not just a line from a Stanley Kubrick film. Actually it is, but we decided to make it mean something else. It's about being who you are, not taking life too seriously, and just having fun. Oh, and talking up your average-sized wiener. We figure if we're having enough fun, a few other people might have some fun too. We get a kick out of you getting a kick.

We don't think anyone actually gives a crap about what our influences are. What sets us apart from other bands? We live in Flagstaff, Arizona, and we're more interesting than them. Nate has a shiny 1933 National steel guitar and lives in a 150-year-old brothel. Danimal looks like Grizzly Adams but sings like Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury's love child and plays harmonica like a circus clown.

Want more?

Basically, two guys started playing together because some chick thought it would be cool if we did an old timey version of Supertramp's "Logical." We never did that. Somehow we ended up at an open mic at a local establishment (read: dive bar) known for its great live music. After we played, the bar's general manager asked if we'd like to play a show there sometime. We let it go to our heads, and wrote seven crappy songs because we thought playing covers was beneath us. After the show, people told us they'd never heard anything like it before. Clearly they'd never heard tomcats fighting in an alley. Still, we let it go to our heads. Anyway, at this point we thought we sounded just like Led Zeppelin unplugged, and told people so. To make matters worse, we met a guy who said he knew somebody at MTV. More head swelling.

We tried to record a demo, but that was an epic failure. Luckily more people told us we were cool. Also, we found out that chicks dig street musicians. It couldn't have been the really cute dog, right? But still, we let that go to our heads. So we held a a photo shoot. You know, 'cause we'd played one show. It turns out chicks REALLY dig cameras. With prize-pumpkin-sized heads we decided it prudent to conquer some large city far away.

Fortunately, a friend of Nate's in San Francisco insisted he play lap steel on an album he'd composed. Danimal tagged along with the hopes of striking studio gold. We thought we'd rake in the cash playing the streets of San Fran, but instead we fell deathly ill (yes, BOTH of us). Somehow we talked an engineer into recording us and recovered just in time to cut a not-so-shitty demo in just 12 hours, with the third song being written mostly in the studio. Cue the head swelling. We somehow made it back to Arizona despite a glove-box full of parking tickets and a sputtering pickup truck.

Bored yet?

Eventually our heads became too big for just two heads, so we decided to involve some more heads. Enter Rafe and Clint: the rhythm section and guys who actually know stuff. It took a super-sweet vintage guitar amp to rope them in, but hey, it worked. Oh, and did we mention that they're metalheads? So here we are: a few ordinary guys trying to have an extraordinary amount of fun.