Vic Wong
This is part 3 of 3 in a Mission Mission Best of 2009 on The Bay Bridged.

My pick of 2009 is the rhythm & blues combo The California Honeydrops out of Oakland. These guys are DIY all the way, cranking out original hits from their “Blues Cave” secret lair (AKA drummer/percussionist Benjamin Malement’s living room). Bandleader Lech Wierzynski is a certifiable triple-threat. He plays blues guitar like a Stax session pro, blows horn like Louis Armstrong, and sings with an impeccable soulful wail which is enough to question the authenticity of his Polish façade. But the real unsung hero is Chris Burns on piano. His driving chops makes it a wonder why he doesn’t hold “local legend” status. In 2009, they traded in their iconic washtub bass (SOUL TUB!) for an actual upright bass in the form of Seth Ford-Young (Tom Waits, Mark Growden, Sean Hayes), but don’t hold that against them… they still bring it HARD. Try not to get sweaty at one of their shows, I dare you!

Vic Wong is a writer for Mission Mission.