Michael Allred is best known as the creator of Madman and artist of iZombie, but behind the scenes Allred is an accomplished musician. His band The Gear has recorded two albums: Son of Red Rocket 7 in 1998 and Left of Center of the Universe in 2009.
Though the band has gone through some lineup changes, they’ve currently settled on a Partridge Family-style roster, with sons Bond and Han on guitar and drums, and Bond’s wife Nicole on bass. Papa Allred takes lead vocals and adds his own guitar.
In the past, The Gear’s desire to play live shows were hampered by stage fright, but Saturday night’s performance showed no trace of that. The author and artist was at ease behind the microphone, interacting with the audience and obviously enjoying himself.
Saturday night’s concert at TR!CKSTER began with artist Andy Kuhn (Hack/Slash, Marvel Team-Up), who is the lead singer for The Fuglees. Kuhn took an acoustic turn at his band’s three-album repertoire, including crowd favorite, “Get The F*.”
Next up on stage was Kyle Stevens, who along with Jim Demonakos (Emerald City Comicon) makes up the band Kirby Krackle. Operating out of Seattle, Kirby Krackle has three albums, all of which celebrate nerdiness in its myriad forms. Stevens kept the audience entertained through “Super Powered Love,” “Great Lakes Avengers,” “Ring Capacity,” and many more. Both acoustic performances were energetic and well-received.
The rest of The Gear minus Allred, calling themselves The Bad Acid Barretts, set up their equipment and ran through some mostly instrumental tunes. Bond Allred showed some real chops on guitar as the trio warmed up for the main event. Allred indicated that the group had recorded their music recently, and had CDs for sale.
Finally, The Gear took shape on stage. Allred asked the crowd if there were any in attendance who had rhythm, and passed out shaker eggs to the raised hands.
The band began to play, sounding at times like Pink Floyd and at others like Black Sabbath. Allred put energy into his performance, honed from appearances back in Coos Bay OR. As the evening went on, more and more dancers began to take the floor, encouraged by cartoonist Emi Lenox and Alabama Black Snake singer Greg Thompson. A guest appearance by Joe Keatinge on tamborine elicited more participation on the dance floor until there was no room left.
As the final chords echoed in the room, Allred thanked the crowd and made an effort to tell each and every person “I love you,” and the feeling was obviously mutual.