At Plan B Entertainment and Cocktails, Saturday, September 7th @ 8pm
By Lisa Morgan
Mild mannered and good humored, Bradley Ryan has been an entertainment staple here in the desert for years now. His popularity rides largely on the fact that his on air (Mix 100.5) and off air personality is witty, genuine and consistent. What you see is what you get. But Ryan is going deeper with his latest and perhaps most passionate project yet, revealing an unexpected and surprisingly deep and talented dimension. The newly formed, unique and sonically skilled Drop Nine, is Bradley Ryan on vocals and turntable, David Burk on guitar, Jody Moses on bass and Chance Johnson on drums. If you are fan of hard, edgy, rock and roll, powerful in both sound and depth, Drop Nine will without a doubt, exceed your highest expectations.
I rolled up on Drop Nine’s practice Friday night to check them out. I was already impressed by the songs on their fan page www.facebook.com/dropninemusic, but I had no idea the level of talent that was about to be unveiled. Quite honestly, (and I apologize guys) I wondered how pure the recordings were, if they had been “ProTooled” or somewhat engineered to sound as good as they did. So there I sat at the top of the stairs looking down on a living room, empty except for the wall to wall equipment and instruments, dimly lit by a lone chandelier, as they proceeded to shake the rafters and very likely, cause neighborhood brown outs. They went into their first song, introduced by Bradley’s masterful turntable touch and taste for the sound experience. A voice from the past rang out from a sampling from the Twilight Zone episode “Maple Street”, with the iconic voice echoing, “One to the other… one to the other… one to the other….”. As soon as David joined in on guitar, with bass and drums in hot pursuit, I knew I was watching something very special happen. What I had heard recorded was the real deal, and what I was now experiencing LIVE, was even better.
Guitarist, David Burk, is as Bradley accurately described, “an alien”. His skill is definitely otherworldly, but at the same time he speaks through his guitar like a Nobel Prize winning author communicates through his writing; with depth and meaning. Playing a gawdzillion notes a measure, then slipping into a straightforward simple, but hooky melodic lead – the kind that identify a song for EVER – his contributions were always tasty and never egotistical but consistently awe striking. He created an engaging platform on which every song stood apart brilliantly. Jody and Chance brought in an insanely tight and thunderous rhythm section. Jody worked the bass seriously, skillfully, and at rapid fire, like the band’s personal centurion and gatekeeper of rhythm. Chance played it all out, heart and soul, not only with melt your face power, but emotionally and passionately. Together, they were really fun to watch and feel. Then, with a voice that seems to have been channeled from another body, Bradley Ryan delivered unexpectedly powerful vocals that soared with the music. He’s not a David Lee Roth type of front man (thank goodness). With instincts kindred to those of rock legacy, his voice and phrasing counter with the music with absolute tone and pitch accuracy and in perfect balance. He does what a lead vocal is supposed to do – intuitively attach you to the music and deliver the emotion identified in the lyrics not by being showy, but by delivering them with skill, from heart and soul. He does this with absolute precision, perhaps because he writes all of the lyrics. They speak for themselves:
ECHO: Let me peel it, Let me peel back your fear. We can do this, Unashamed, I will steer.
Find your way back, to your submissive state, and emotions…and emotions it creates.
And when the dust clears, will you look at me the same?
And when your throat is no longer dry, will your voice still echo?
If you’re staying, Let me make you a place – As I take another fall from ending grace.
Find your way back from the road your faith dictates, and emotions…and emotions it creates.
GHOST: I knew this would happen. I knew I’d be the one living with regret.
You thought it couldn’t happen, you thought and were mistaken
I knew I’d be the one living with regret.
I lie still in this big bed, afraid to move… afraid to make a sound
Your memory haunts me like a ghost. I knew this would end in tears.
I never was what you needed most, because we don’t fear the same fears
It’s very obvious that Bradley Ryan and his musical cohorts are all about the music, not about individual egos. They work together like a small fleet of heavily armed, synchronized warships. There is a raw honesty to the music and lyrics of Drop Nine, as if life has carved something deep into the souls of these players and this music is their only natural, therapeutic if not retaliatory response. Perhaps it comes from the same place the band’s name comes from. “A ‘Drop Nine’ is a cheap gun that can be thrown away after a crime,” one of the guys explained to me when I asked how they came up with the name. “Someone in the band felt cheap and used, like they were thrown away.” That individual wouldn’t reveal which band member they were referring to, but in all honesty, who hasn’t felt like a “Drop Nine” at one time or another. Drop Nine’s music is as universally relatable as their name. It’s power rock at its best without forgetting to be music. And the fact of the matter is, they are just getting started. After only half a year together, they have an entire arsenal of songs, and they are only beginning to discover their wheelhouse.
September 7th, Drop Nine will be making their debut and sharing the stage with The Sex Kittens and Speedwalker. Speedwalker hails from our own Coachella Valley, bringing good old fashioned, blue collar, dive bar rock and roll. Sex Kittens are coming to us from Ventura, self described as “Psycho-sexy funkified metallic grooves that make the boobies shake and the booties move!”. Plan B is definitely providing some hot music to go with their deliciously cool venue.
This Saturday’s show starts at 8pm. Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails is located at 32025 Monterey Avenue, Thousand Palms, on the corner of Monterey and Ramon Road, north of Interstate 10. You can check out, follow and support the music of all three bands at the following sites:
Drop Nine: www.facebook.com/dropninemusic
The Sex Kittens: www.facebook.com/THESEXKITTENSROCK