Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Plimsouls' Million Mile Journey

Peter Case

The Plimsouls took the stage at San Juan Capistrano's Coach House Friday night to the delight of many longtime fans. And a few who weren't even born when the band made it's first record!

You may remember The Plimsouls' early 1980's hit, "A Million Miles Away" from the "Valley Girl" soundtrack. It was a KROQ staple back in the day and helped launch The Plimsouls into the LA New Wave spotlight along side bands like The Go-Go's, X and The Knack.

Since the 80's, lead singer Peter Case has released several folk CDs and toured as a solo act. The Plimsouls released the mostly overlooked "Kool Trash" album in 1998. Their recent reformation is a long hoped for surprise for many early fans of the band.

Despite a harmonica malfunction, a guitar missing a strap and sporadic feedback problems, Case and his band mates stayed loose while forging through energetic versions of Plimsoul staples like "Now", "Oldest Story In The World" and "Everywhere At Once".

Between songs, Case joked that the band had just returned from an East Coast tour. A "28 year East Coast tour!", he said with a smile. Clearly, on stage is where The Plimsouls are in their element. Relaxed almost to the point of nonchalance, they retain the aura of local bar band made good.

A quarter of a century on, the band still features it's original members, with the exception of a new drummer. Case's road tested voice reveals a more gravelly singing tone than in the early days but just as much passion. Guitarist Eddie Munoz displays the bouncy enthusiasm of a kid who just discovered he could play. And bassist David Pahoa's steady rhythm helped get The Coach House crowd on it's feet and moving.

Case and company played a couple of new songs during their set and hinted that they are working on a new album. Then closed the show by giving an appreciative crowd what they came for- The Plimsouls playing a rousing rendition of the song that started their journey several decades and a "million miles" ago.

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