Concert Review: The Paladins At The Zephyr Club


There’s an old saying that says “Everything old is new again.” Whoever first said this must have had the Paladins in mind. This San Diego based trio takes all the honesty of the blues, the soulfulness of R&B, and the exciting rawness of Rockabilly and turns all these ingredients into a style of hard driving Rock n’ Roll all their own.

The band’s show at the Zephyr Private Club in Salt Lake (The band’s first show in Utah in almost five years) a clinic on how great Rock n’ Roll should be played. The Zephyr show also marked the beginning of the Paladins’ new tour to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band, and twelve years since guitar player/singer Dave Gonzalez and bass player Thomas Yearsley first began playing together as 17-year old high school seniors in San Diego, California. Drummer Brian Fahey sounds out the trio in his second year on the drums with the Paladins.

While most bands are out trying to secure record deals through their groovy haircuts or hip wardrobe, the Paladins are out there with only one mission: preach the gospel of great Rock n’ Roll. With no hip MTV video or Top 40 single behind them, the Paladins make their living by touring  constantly, playing an average of 200 dates a year. This constant touring has turned  the Paladins into one of the tightest, most exciting acts around. The Zephyr show proved to be no exception.

From the first song to the last, the Paladins showed Utah what we’ve been missing for the last five years. The set was mostly songs off the bands latest album, “Let’s Buzz” on Alligator Records, but also included healthy doses of music from the band’s self-titled debut album on Wrestler/ Rounder Records, as well as music from their debut Alligator release, “Years Since Yesterday.”

There’s no finer guitarist alive than Dave Gonzalez and he was on fire at the Zephyr. Moving from hot, Texas Blues ala Stevie Ray Vaughn to barn-building Rockabilly, Gonzalez, had the crowd cheering after every solo. Oh, and by the way, his vocals kick ass as well. The rhythm section of Yearsley and Fahey kept the whole house rockin’ as Gonzalez put on the guitar clinic.

Like most shows, it took awhile for people to start dancing as nobody wanted to risk being the first person to take on the floor and possibly look stupid. The Paladins had an easy remedy for this; music that you can’t help but dance to, and by the end of the show, the joint was jumpin’! The Paladins may not be that well known in some parts of this large world we live in, but they’ve quietly built a loyal following through their extensive touring and three of the best rock n’ roll albums this side of Memphis, 1954.

Dave Gonzalez says that he hopes the band will be back in town some time this summer, so if you like a good time, dancing till you drop, and blistering Rock n’ Roll, keep your and ears peeled for the Paladins. To all you cats and kittens who made it out to the show at the Zephyr, well, you already know what I’m talking about. Like the Paladins would say, ”Let’s go, baby!”


For more from the SLUG Archives:

January 1990 Tape & Record Reviews
Concert Review: Peter Murphy and Nauvoo