Believe It: The Wailers At The Croc

Just when you thought you'd heard and seen it all, that no more weird cross-gender or generational pollination could happen in this little burg, the totally unexpected happens:

The fabulous Wailers at the Crocodile Cafe.

Yep, next Monday, the boys from Tacoma - including original keyboard man and vocalist Kent Morrill, near charter member/bassist Buck Ormsby, ace guitarist Rich Dangel, saxophonist Kim Eggers, a drummer to be named Monday and a few guests - will show up at one of Seattle's most notable nightclubs. How? Why?

"Why not?" says keeper of the flame and professional curmudgeon Ormsby. "We still get calls and letters from people, wanting to know when we're going to play again, especially after we played last year at Puyallup. So I spread the word to some of the other guys and we slapped together a few shows. The people at The Crocodile were sincerely interested and we've never played there, so why not?"

The members of the Wailers were still in high school when they had their first hit, "Tall Cool One," in 1959. They recorded "Louie Louie" before the Kingsmen. While their raw, ragged garage sound brought them national attention, the Northwest was still a cordoned-off spot, pretty much left it to develop on its own.

Still, it was a sound heard 'round the world. The English were especially receptive to imported Wailers records. George Harrison was talking about the Wailers as an influence when the Beatles first started. And after the Wailers came such other Northwest bands as Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Kingsmen, the Sonics and a slew of other grunge forerunners.

As for Ormsby, he says you just have to get back together once in a while. He still runs the band's indie label, Etiquette, which put out a 27-song anthology of the Wailers' 10-year history last year. "We're hoping to get a little recording done while Kent is in town," he says.

The Wailers will also play Club Broadway in Everett on Friday, The Three B's in Bellingham on Saturday - both with Stompkitchen - The Swiss in Tacoma on Sunday and The Croc on Monday. Girl Trouble will open that show.

"Kent is leaving after Monday," says Ormsby, "so we'll be pretty busy in-between." The show is at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance.

-- The Croc also has San Diego's humorously twisted Rugburns tonight, a special appearance by TAD on Saturday, and Portland's Spinanes on Sunday.

-- Shane MacGowan, rude, surly, practically toothless and one of the most gifted songwriters and singers to come out of Ireland in the last decade, will show up at Under The Rail on Saturday with his new band, the Popes. MacGowan formed and wrote most of the songs for the Pogues, who were arguably the first to mix rock with traditional Irish music. MacGowan has finally released a new solo album, "The Snake," after three years in virtual hiding. Advance word has MacGowan's recent live appearances as being nothing short of wondrous. He can be completely captivating.

-- It's Dokken, and, yes, they're still rockin.' After a long hiatus - about eight years - the band has worked out whatever problems led to its dissolution at the height of its popularity. The original members have reformed and released the well-received "Dysfunctional." Lead vocalist Don Dokken has retained his signature scream and guitarist George Lynch remains a firebrand. The band burns down the Ballard Firehouse on Saturday night.

-- Lazy Susan will be at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard next Wednesday. For those who can't wait, the band plays the Central Tavern in Tacoma tonight with Those Who Dig. Also in Ballard come Wednesday: The Jimi Hendrix Guitar Competition, with young would-be Jimies playing their fingers to the bone. The battle takes place at 7:30 at The Backstage. The competition climaxes during Bumbershoot, Labor Day weekend.

-- Sage, who have just released the sublime new CD "7th Standard Rd.," will play Moe's tomorrow night with Micron 7, A.C. Autolux and Lucky Me. Moe's also has a "Special Guest" show Tuesday night, whatever that means. Appearing with the "special guests" will be The Teenage Angels and 66 Saints. How heavenly.