Gas House Gorillas Mix It Up At Roxy & Dukes

Posted by D.A. Gutierrez in Gas House Gorillas, Jazz Events, Recaps & Reviews, Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen, NJ

March 2nd, 2013   Comments Off on Gas House Gorillas Mix It Up At Roxy & Dukes

The Gas House Gorillas perform at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen on March 1, 2013.

The Gas House Gorillas perform at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen on March 1, 2013.

Last night we recently made our first trip to a venue we’ve been clamoring to visit. Having opened a few years ago to much fanfare, Roxy & Dukes caught our attention with word of their unique style and dance floor — a feature missing from many jazz venues these days.

Upon entering Roxy & Dukes, you’re immediately hit with the heavy-on-red, off-beat decor. The venue is lovingly curated with artifacts from a bygone era that exudes a 1930s traveling Vaudeville roadshow feel. Between the antique signs and the saloon-style doors leading to the bathrooms, it’s evident that a larger-than-average amount of time was spent putting together the atmosphere. More than an afterthought, the decor was central to Roxy and Dukes’ charm.


After a brief sound check, the Gorillas took a break, waiting for the place to fill up. They walked around, cordially greeting fans they’ve gathered through their extensive tour schedule. At the appointed time, the Gorillas took the stage and immediately had everyone’s attention with their energetic, high-wattage mix of old and new sounds.


At first, the audience kind of seemed shell-shocked, with everyone kind of hanging back, clinging to their tables. Lead Gorilla, Rick Fink, urged the crowd to “get up and loosen your tight ass”, but the crowd had not yet imbibed enough to feel at home. One couple got up and I thought that would open the floodgates, sending other couples streaming out onto the dance floor, but they were so impressive that everyone gripped their tables harder.


After the first set (and more than a few libations), everyone seemed to loosen up and there was a constant stream of new couples filtering up to the dance floor. The Gorillas never let up with their antics, ribbing the crowd and each other between classic Gorilla originals along with rockabilly covers of rock songs and cuts off their new album, which they promoted to the point of having it sell out.


At one point, Rick Fink came to our table and planted himself firmly on one of our table-mate’s laps as he performed a solo acoustic number on his ukelele — one of the rare low-key “breather” numbers you get when the Gorillas perform. But just as quickly, it’s back to the over-the-top numbers that have your adrenaline gushing and your heart pounding.


The Gorillas never fail to bring the house down with their zany blend of old and new sounds, their unbridled energy and their never-ending interaction with the crowd. Roxy and Dukes is a great venue to watch them in, not just for the highly-stylized atmosphere, but for the copious dancing space you have to spread out and “loosen your tight ass.”

If you get the opportunity to hear these primates live, you will not want to pass it up!

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