Doc Parks 2024 Encore Tour at The Kon-Tiki

I’m late in posting about the amazing event held at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki that served as the first event of Doc Parks’ 2024 Encore Tour. The former Zombie Village and Wilfred’s Lounge GM took over the Kon-Tiki with a custom menu featuring some fabulous cocktails. The Kon-Tiki was packed and it was all hands on deck including guest bartender Julio Palacios.

Doc Parks

Music was provided by DJ Woody Miller who opened the venue with a mellow set of tunes that gradually increased the tempo in advance of Oakland surf band The Greasy Gills who started their tight and groovy set a little after 6:30. The three-piece band played energetically and pulled in a number of fans who crowded the makeshift dance floor in the center of the Kon-Tiki space.

The star of the show for us were the cocktails provided. I started with the Banana Afterlife, recently featured on the Make & Drink YouTube show, including three rums, juices, banana liqueur, and Doc’s signature Passionola. This isn’t actually that banana-forward but is another killer cocktail from the good doctor, featuring an incredible lantern garnish from the Kon-Tigo Tiki Bar. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai was enthusiastic about the Unicorn Tears, a milk punch with coconut and ube that are two of her favorite flavors.

Mister, Might I…

Mister, Might I… was a great variant of our favorite cocktail including Denizen Merchant’s Reserve and Tanduay Gold as a base, with a touch of Passionola and a Worthy Park 109 float that was doctored with spices and liqueurs. In a brilliant stoke, this Mai Tai was served with a side of pineapple juice for you to choose your own adventure. Do you add it to the drink? Or do you take it as a shot? I love this idea and this will be on my year-end Mai Tai list for sure.

The Gong Show was my final cocktail and included seven rums (yes, seven), plus cinnamon, black tea, spices, lime, and grapefruit. And served on fire, because of course it was. Totally amazing cocktail and such a great night at The Kon-Tiki.

I’ve been fortunate to check out a couple of these Doc Parks tour stops and if you have the opportunity be sure to take it if you’re a fan of amazing cocktails.

Song of the Year: “Train Kept A Rollin’” by The Surfrajettes

After a series of singles and EPs, Toronto’s Surfrajettes released their first album this weekend. Roller Fink is a collection of originals and covers, tied loosely around the theme of a roller rink. A couple songs have atmospheric roller rink introductions, but otherwise it’s just straight surf rock. The cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” is the new single and treads similar ground to the group’s breakthrough video covering Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (6.2m views and counting). The bright, plucky sound of “Heart of Glass” fits in well with 2021’s single “Couch Surfing” and the roller rink theme.

A few songs on the album have a harder edge, including the title track. But most impressive is the incredible raucous cover of “Train Kept a Rollin’. This fast version is reminiscent of The Yardbird’s infamous rendition from the movie Blowup, with Nicole Damoff’s lead guitar being just as impactful as Jeff Beck’s. The song fits in well with The Surfrajette’s 1960s sensibilities but displays a more confident approach to the material, musical virtuosity, and the surf genre. The song features a brief vocal interlude with the band members shouting one of the song’s memorable lines, “Looking so good I couldn’t let her go!” Be sure to check this track out.

Roller Fink is available on Hi-Tide Recordings and The Surfrajettes are appearing at Hukilau in June and northeast venues in July.

Mai Tai in Pop Culture: “Mai Tais on the Moon” by Tikiyaki Orchestra

When you’re drinking a Mai Tai, the stuff in the glass is the most important part. But the place where you drink the Mai Tai is also key. Do you want to hear loud hair metal while drinking a Mai Tai? No, you want relaxing exotic music that helps transport you to a different place or at least to forget the cares of the world. We call this music Exotica.

The most prominent Exotica band currently performing and putting out new music is the Tikiyaki Orchestra. The group was formed by Jim Bacchi and to date they’ve issued several well regarded albums with tracks that are frequently played in tiki bars worldwide and also in places like Adventureland at Disneyland. Tikiyaki plays live as a seven-piece group at several tiki-related events each year. In the last couple years, a four-person combo has been producing surf-oriented recordings and playing live under the moniker Tikiyaki 5-0.

The first Tikiyaki Orchestra album featured a song called “Mai Tais on the Mood” and is representative of the group’s signature sound. It’s a mix of classic exotic percussion, vibraphone, slack key, and surf guitar. This was actually the first song Bacchi recorded as Tikiyaki Orchestra.

Wait, there’s more!

As I was preparing this post, we learned there is new Tikiyaki music being made available as of today! In fact, it has only been recently conceived and recorded.

Sketches with Guitar and Bongos is being issued under the moniker “Tikiyaki minus orchestra” because it’s a stripped-down arrangement featuring percussion and guitars. The songs are right in line with previous Tikiyaki recordings in that they’ll fit in just fine at the tiki bar. This is great stuff and maybe the first positive thing to come out of the COVID-19 social shutdown.

Head on over to the Tikiyaki Orchestra website or go to Bandcamp to purchase the album

Tonight we’ll raise a Mai Tai to Tikiyaki!

Jim Bacchi performing with Tikiyaki 5-0 at Tiki Kon 2018.