Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Omar and the Stringpoppers, JD McPherson play the Echo this Friday

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L.A. singer and guitarist Omar Romero is a rock 'n' roll hard-ass who hits that 1956 mystery spot between the flying saucer and the swamp--he hiccups like Charlie Feathers, unspools the fuzz like Johnny Burnette and shouts like an animal man to announce particularly ripping guitar solos. As engineer at the storied local label Wild Records, Romero is some kind of primal genius, making analog tape and a roomful of horse blankets and egg crates sound like Sun Studios just after Carl Perkins ducked out for dinner. And as leader of his Stringpoppers (and sometime solo artist--his Hog Wild is a label standout) he's pretty much a man on fire. "String Melters" was probably taken by Joe Maphis but he got as close as he could.

Headliner J.D. McPherson is an Oklahoman with an acrobatic voice that flips from sweet--well, sweet with scruff, like Dion back when the Belmonts were one of the toughest things going--to savage, like the R&B shouters on the famous rock 'n' archaeology reissue series Savage Kicks. (Or Jook Block Busters, or Rock 'n' Roll Vs Rhythm N Blues, or White Label Rockabilly or ...) "North Side Gal" is his hit and it deserves it, but there's plenty wilder on his Signs and Signifiers album. Are they playing the piano with a whiskey bottle? They might as well be.

You can see both bands Friday, June 8 at the Echo on Sunset. Doors open at 8:30pm.

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