Concert Reports


Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot

06/01/2018, Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez

Ain’t nothing like the sizzling sound of rockabilly, and BRIAN SETZER always amps it up with his rockin’ style and guitar assault to leave audiences smiling.

All Photos: Steve Kennedy


The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy Award-winner is on the road for his 2018 “ROCKABILLY RIOT!” Summer Tour, which made a stop locally in SANTA YNEZ on FRIDAY, JUNE 1 at CHUMASH CASINO.


Brian Setzer kicked off his 2018 Rock-a-Billy Riot Tour at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Ca. The tour is set to roll across the U.S. throughout the month of June. The Chumash Casino boasts incredible hospitality and multi-million dollar sound and lighting set up creating an intimate stage for Setzer to kick off his tour. The band blazed through a 90 minute set showcasing Setzer's solo material as well as a few Stray Cats classics.  

If you like slap bass rock then Mark Winchester is your man. His flawless tone coupled with the searing rhythms of drummer Noah Levy laid the ground work for piano player Kevin McKendree and Setzer to rip up the rock a billy vibe. Setzer known for his talented guitar prowess showed off playing several different hollow bodied trademark Gretsch guitars including a sparkling hot rod green gem. Setzer riffed his way through venerable tunes like Rumble in Brighton, Stray Cat Strut, Jump, Jive an' Wail,  plus other electrifying songs like “Let’s Shake” from his latest solo studio album Rockabilly Riot!: All Original, and closing the show with Rock this Town.

SETZER’s red hot compadres for the “ROCKABILLY RIOT!” Summer Tour are Noah Levy on drums, Kevin McKendree on piano/guitar and Mark Winchester on bass.


“When you look up rockabilly in the dictionary there is a picture of Mark Winchester,” notes SETZER. “He grew up slapping the bass and is in a class of his own. The relationship with the drummer and the bass player in rockabilly is very unique. The slap bass is a rhythmic sounding instrument, so the drummer has to be very in time with him in order not to sound sloppy. Noah Levy is a very on-the-beat solid drummer, whereas me, as a guitar player, I push everything while they hold it all in place. And when you’re talking about the great rockabilly piano players, it’s a very short list, and Kevin McKendree is on it. And he also plays guitar incredibly well. We all just complement each other.”


Asked what he’d like to overhear fans saying after a gig, SETZER says: “I would love to hear, ‘You know, that Rockabilly Riot squad has all the energy and great things I like about the original rockabilly sound, yet they’re a modern band making this music sound new.”


In late 2016, SETZER released his live Blu-Ray/CD package, BRIAN SETZER’S ROCKABILLY RIOT: OSAKA ROCKA! – LIVE IN JAPAN, a sizzling rockabilly album from start to finish that highlights the same band. More information on the Blu-Ray/CD and to Purchase click here.



About Brian Setzer:


Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER is a “Musician’s Musician” credited with continually taking chances with innovative and daring musical styles. Setzer is widely credited for taking two forgotten genres, rockabilly and swing, adding his own blend of gunpowder and rockin style, and completely reinventing and single-handedly resurrecting them in the process. Along the way, he has scored chart-topping hits, sold 13 million records and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his decorated career as founder/leader of the Stray Cats, his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, and as a solo artist. He is consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, and has a best-selling, extensive line of elite Gretsch signature model guitars bearing his name. BRIAN appeared in the 1987 film, La Bamba, portraying rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran. In 2002, BRIAN earned the privilege of being one of the few musicians to be animated in an episode of “The Simpsons.” That same year, SETZER was personally requested to induct Chet Atkins into the 17th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. SETZER had the honor of being invited in 2006 to perform at the White House for the President of the United States. In 2014, SETZER received the distinct honor of being asked by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to donate a replica of his original 1959 Gretsch 6120 “Stray Cat” guitar, joining an elite collection of iconic treasures at the museum.


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