Martin Bennett keeps the beat to classic tunes with two local bands, U.S. 99 and Hound Dog Dave and the Mel-Tones
Two bands, one mission: to rock around the clock.
That’s the deal, daddy-o, when U.S. 99 and Hound Dog Dave and the Mel-Tones — a pair of bands with percussionist Martin Bennett (aka Sonny “B”) as the backbone — play high-energy gigs this week, U.S. 99 on Saturday at Hinano Café in Venice and Hound Dog and the Mel-Tones on Tuesday at the Santa Monica Airport’s Typhoon restaurant.
Both bands play a huge swath of rock ‘n roll and country rock classics, including a Johnny Cash suite featuring “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison” and “A Boy Named Sue,” and early Elvis Presley numbers such as “Jailhouse Rock” and, no doubt, “Hound Dog.”
The difference between the two bands is a bass player: U.S. 99 is a trio, while Hound Dog Dave and the Mel-Tones is a quartet.
Hound Dog Dave and the Mel-Tones often play Hinano and Westchester’s Melody Bar.
U.S. 99 practically has a residency at Hinano, which offers “a fun for all ages mixed crowd but everyone is there to have a good time,” said Bennett, a Culver City resident.
“Both venues invite dancing,” he said. “If people are not dancing at Hinano, it’s like, ‘Hmm, I wonder what happened tonight!’”
Typhoon is also a favorite venue.
“Of the places we play, for the ambiance, it’s the nicest environment, overlooking the Santa Monica Airport,” Bennett said. “They have a really good sound system.”
Bennett and his boys have performed from Lake Angeles down to Lake Forest, but it’s always the local shows that they look forward to rocking.
The best part of drumming for both bands, he said, is when “the music is flowing. To just sit back and enjoy the music and watching the people have a good time.”
U.S. 99 goes on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hinano Cafe, 15 Washington Blvd., Venice. No cover. (310) 822-3902; hinanocafevenice.com
Hound Dog Dave and the Mel-Tones start at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Typhoon, 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South, Santa Monica. $5. (310) 390-6565; typhoon.biz
— Michael Aushenker