HOW THE WHISTLE STOP GOT FLIM-FLAMMED

Grampdrew Flim Flam review

Once a month, on a Saturday late afternoon, grampadrew’s Flim Flam Review throws a no-holds-barred, good time, old fashioned hootenanny at South Park’s Whistle Stop Bar.

A motley crew of local musicians treat the crowd with three free hours of picking, hollering, hooting, and singing their hearts out alongside acoustic guitars, banjos, and harmonicas.

Featuring a scattering of some of San Diego’s finest songwriters from bands like Transfer, River City, Midnight Pine, and Trailduster, the Flim Flam Review is an off shoot of the Tin Can Country Club Monday night get together at the Tin Can Ale House.

Hosted by grampadrew, aka Drew Douglas, the afternoon is run like a well-oiled open mic minus the sign-up sheet. Douglas keeps the time between songs to a minimum, giving the show a quirky but fluid pace that rarely lags. He cracks just enough MC whip to keep the musicians moving in, up, and off the stage at a decent clip. As quasi-leader of this pack, he goads and guides the audience, cracking wise about the tip bucket, chastising the lack of audience response to his question of, “How you doing tonight?” and dropping enough f-bombs to make sure everyone is paying attention. He’s also known to step in and play with select musicians as well as performing a few songs by himself.

The Whistle Stop’s lack of bandstand provides the perfect non-addition to the organic casual feel of the afternoon. The artists just stroll on up and plug in once Douglas calls out for them. And most are ready to fire away a few tunes before returning to their seats among the crowd. The music is singer songwriter based, though the nature of how it’s presented differ from artists to artist. The spontaneous vibe is loose, a little sloppy, and sometimes a bit out of key, but that’s what gives this hootenanny it’s soul; the passion of the performance is where this gathering hangs its hat.

The nothing-too-planned approached of the Flim Flam Review has picked up enough steam and audience that it’s just booked a night at The Casbah on March 15th. So, if you like the spontaneous nature of musical talents colliding and are ready to welcome some lighthearted unpredictability into your life, this is a San Diego get together you don’t want to miss!

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