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Live! Graceland Mafia w/ Moonlight Cruisers & Hellbound Hayride 
Galaxy Concert Theater 
5 August 2005
by Gary Schwind

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This is the second time I have seen Graceland Mafia and I have to say this seemed like a much more fitting venue for them than the previous place. Melvis and the band take the stage, a la The King, to the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The band has undergone some wardrobe changes since I last saw them. Jimbo (guitar) and Jon (bass) now sport ties on stage and Melvis has added a cape. 

Luckily, though, there were no changes to their high-energy performance. UJ "The Woodchopper" drives the band with outstanding drumming and is joined in the very solid rhythm section by Jon. Jimbo is excellent on guitar, and Melvis, well, he's The King. 

The Graceland Mafia opened with "Burnin Love" and really set the tone. These guys play with a lot of energy and they sounded great, even better than the previous show I witnessed. The Mafia plowed through a fairly quick set, which included "Demon Lover," "Mr. Injustice" and a couple new songs. Frankie from Frankie's Broken Toy joined Melvis for "All U Got" and the closer, "Stepping Stone." 

Is Elvis alive? To be honest, I don't know. But Melvis is alive and well as The King of the Graceland Mafia. Another thing I know for sure is that I would not have minded at all if these guys got to play a few more songs.

The Graceland Mafia was followed by Moonlight Cruisers, who took the stage to the theme from A Fistful of Dollars. All four members wore serapes; two complimented the serape with a sombrero, two with a cowboy hat. 

After they played an instrumental intro, they all removed their serapes and headwear and got down to business. The singer held a rubber chicken in his hand as he performed the second song. Then, with the chicken in one hand, he reached for the gun in his waistband, put it to his mouth and…drank from it. Yes, that's right. The singer of Moonlight Cruisers had a flask that looked like a gun. 

Moonlight Cruisers played traditional rockabilly and also infused some sort of samba sounds into one of their songs. On one song, the singer sounded exactly like Chuck from Frantic Flintstones. In their closing song, the lead singer lay on his back, the bassist lay his bass down and the guitarist stood atop the bass playing his axe behind his head and shoulders.

These guys were a pleasant surprise because I knew nothing about them going into this show. The bassist plays an upright bass about as well as anyone I've seen. The guitarist and drummer were pretty remarkable too. They played a high-energy set that displayed their considerable talents. I would see this band again for sure.

Hellbound Hayride followed Moonlight Cruisers and although they sounded good, they didn't have the energy of the previous two bands. The played "Hot Rod Soul," "Pit Stop Honey" and "Five Feet of Snow," among others. The guitarist was really good and the other members of the band were OK, but Hellbound Hayride definitely lacked the energy that Graceland Mafia and Moonlight Cruisers displayed.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't stay for Billy Zoom, however with the Graceland Mafia and Moonlight Cruisers, I have two more bands that I'll check out when I have the opportunity. 

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