Cool Ghouls, a West Coast phenomenon, takes to the road this March for a whirlwind trip across the country. The fast action tour – 20 cities in 25 days – pauses briefly in Austin for performances at SXSW. This will be the band’s first visit to the major East Coast markets, including New York and Boston.
The quintessential 21st century Cali band, Cool Ghouls gathers and transcends the musical styles that have come out of the region in the last 50 years, touching on trends from Haight-Ashbury acid to surfer cool to the folk-rock of the ‘60s. Critics wear out their keyboards pointing out references to the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, even Jim Morrison, in the band’s songs. Whatever.
Leading the Bay area’s psych-rock revival, Cool Ghouls is one of San Francisco’s most popular bands. Formed by four guys from the ‘burbs in 2011, the band is noted for its tight three-part vocal harmonies, its original songs that range from in tone from psychedelic to country twang, its amps turned all the way up, and most of all its wild stage shows, often including a doowop horn section. The Cool Ghouls tour extensively up and down the California coast with big fan bases in every city, and last year scored with one of the best sets at the First City Music Festival in Monterey.
The band is also noted for its lo-fi approach to music, epitomized by its most current recording A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, released Nov. 11, 2014. Recorded live to tape by San Francisco original Sonny Smith of Sonny and the Sunsets, and mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), the disc is a psychedelic garage jam gone mad. Empty Cellar Records released the album on CD and vinyl (including a 300-run limited edition on fire-swirled red vinyl) and Burger Records put it out on cassette. This is the group’s second full-length LP; the self-titled Cool Ghouls came out on Empty Cellar in 2013. It was preceded by the critically praised self-released Alright Cassette in 2012, and the Sneak Peek EP in 2011. All are available on Bandcamp.
The March 2015 tour in support of the new album will take the Cool Ghouls on their first barnstorm trip around the entire country, starting in Toronto and Chicago, moving on to the Boston area before two dates at NYC clubs. Then it’s on across the South with two stops in North Carolina in Raleigh and Asheville, Memphis, Oxford, MI and New Orleans, arriving in Texas just in time for SXSW.
In Austin, the group will play the Burger Records/Lolipop Records Party on March 19 at Whip-In. Burger is the indie label out of Fullerton, CA, that released A Swirling Fire on cassette and books the band often into its home venue. On March 20, the Cool Ghouls headline the annual Lakehaus Party, topping a bill of ten bands (and free beer).
On March 22, the band moves on to San Antonio, TX to play the Burger Records SXSW Hangover Fest at the Korova. Then it’s a quick run through Kansas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, Seattle and Portland, OR before returning to the Bay area. The complete tour schedule is below. All dates are subject to change. Check the Cool Ghouls Facebook page for current updates.
Cool Ghouls March Tour Dates:
3/4 San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
3/7 Omaha, NE - Barley Street Tavern
3/8 Chicago, IL - The Whistler
3/9 Toronto, ON - Double Double Land
3/10 Cambridge, MA - TT the Bear's Place
3/11 Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool
3/12 New York, NY - Cake Shop
3/13 Raleigh, NC - Nice Price Books & Records
3/14 Asheville, NC - Tiger Mountain
3/16 Memphis, TN - The Hi-Tone
3/17 Oxford, MI - Proud Larry's
3/18 New Orleans, LA - The Saint
3/19 Austin, TX - Burger/Lolipop Records Party
3/20 Austin, TX - SXSW Lakehaus Party
3/22 San Antonio, TX - Burger SXSW Hangover Fest at the Korova
3/24 Lawrence, KS - Replay Lounge
3/25 Denver, CO - Sidewinder
3/26 Salt Lake City, UT - Diabolical Records
3/27 Boise, ID - Treefort
3/28 Seattle, WA - Highline
3/29 Portland, OR - The Know