Anthology is Fabulous with the Thunderbirds

Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:55

by Daniel Knighton |

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

The Fabulous Thunderbirds


Melony and I started out the evening with a trip to El Indio taco shop, one of my all-time favorites. Though my family and I had been frequenting this gem since the 1970’s, it recently gained national fame by being featured on the hit Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri. Mel had the San Diego burrito, a monster burrito made with grilled chicken, guacamole, sour cream and loads of cheddar cheese. Well, she had half of it, saving the rest for later. I passed on my usual enchilada plate in order to feed my craving for tacos, deciding on the two taco plate with rice and beans. A good choice! Plenty of parking, freeway close, wonderful food and excellent service! Despite their being a line to the door when we got there, we were actually in and out of there in about 30 minutes, tummies full and ready to rock out at Anthology.

The Supper Club

Anthology is one of the places that I had not had the pleasure of seeing a show at, now I can scratch them off my concert bucket list. The best way I can describe Anthology is a “supper club”. Nestled just south of San Diego’s Little Italy section near downtown, there is plenty of street parking and a few lots nearby. Most of the seating is at tables or booths, either on the floor, one of the many booths around the edges, or upstairs on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Beautifully decorated, decent lighting, excellent food, attentive and gracious staff. A real class act.

That class comes with a price though, in addition to your ticket cost, be ready to shell out an additional $15 in mandatory food and beverage per person. We weren’t aware of this policy beforehand, or we would have skipped El Indio and given the food there a try. Just make sure you consider this in your budget (and dinner plans) before going.

As we waited for the show to begin, we got to know a very nice gentleman at the next table named Keith. As it turns out, Keith is also a photographer and does some pretty decent surf photography in addition to his day job at the Old Globe. He lives within walking distance of Anthology and frequently attends shows there. Later in the evening, with the band in full swing we enjoyed some crazy people watching, poking fun amongst ourselves at the drunken revelry all around us. I hope he’s sitting next to us next time we are there, that was a blast!

The Show

The Fabulous Thunderbirds performed two sold-out shows Saturday night, the first at 7:30 and the second at 9:30. We caught the late show. Kim Wilson is one of the best, his soulfull voice and smooth harmonica riffs are the Thunderbirds. Though the lineup has changed many times over the last 30 years, it’s always been Wilson’s band. And Wilson knows the blues.

Guitarist Johnny Moeller, while sharing duties with Mike Keller, handles the lion’s share of the lead. Moeller was definitely on his game tonight, and I found myself watching him more than any other member, even Wilson. Eyes shut, grimacing with each bent string, teeth gnashing as his fingers worked their way up and down the frets, all I could do was smile. Keller was on target as well, but Moeller was the star of this show.

The second of two Moeller’s in the band, brother Jay handles the drumming duties. A capable drummer, but lacking in passion and energy and it seemed as if he was just going through the motions tonight. Bassist Randy Bermudes held up his end though, providing a solid bass track throughout the show.

One thing I noticed early on, is that the band does not use set lists. I normally try to get a copy for reference after the show, but not this time. According to stage manager Steve Thomas, Kim Wilson just calls out a song and the band plays it. Totally old school, love it! I would have loved to provide a run-down of songs they played, but honestly I only recognized two, “Wrap It Up” and “Tuff Enuff”. But even without knowing all the songs, I enjoyed every one.

Something about a good blues band just seems to lift the blues from people. The crowd at Anthology was no different. Despite minimal dance room, all available space was taken for most of the show. When I wasn’t mesmerized by Johnny Moeller’s licks, I was hypnotized by the antics of the ways people attempted to dance to the blues. There was the tall, thin, extremely intoxicated brunette who’s moves looked like a cross between yoga and the Grateful Dead. There was an overly enthusiastic, rubenesque blond who seemed just moments away from a tragic wardrobe malfunction. Oh, I could go on… but you get the picture. If you like to people-watch like we do, concerts are an all you can eat buffet for the eyes!

All in all it was a great night. A gorgeous venue, a good band, and fantastic company. Let’s do it again, and soon.