Suzy Williams & Her Solid Senders kick up a storm 1940s-style at Typhoon
By Michael Aushenker
There’s a certain glamour to the 1940s and ‘50s that has always appealed to Venice’s Suzy Williams, leader of the band Suzy Williams & Her Solid Senders.
“I’m a noir fan. I’ve always loved 1947,” Williams explained. “It was all about the cars, the clothes. There was some money coming in, people coming back from the war battered up and insane — the dark undercurrent.”
The era just seemed to fit hand in glove — or leg in stocking.
“I look great in Forties clothes,” she said. “I just have a body made for it.”
On Tuesday at Typhoon Restaurant in the Santa Monica Airport, Suzy and Her Solid Senders will perform some covers but mostly originals written in the style of the period.
Songs with cheeky titles and lyrics such as “Tijuana Bible Thumpin’ Mama,” “Knuckledown, Knucklehead!,” “Swingin’ on the Swing Set,” “A Fast Ticket to Thrillsville” and “Hurry Hurry Quick Quick” capture the energy of a bygone zeitgeist.
“My real specialty is melody,” Williams said, before breaking into her ditty, “Hard Shine:” “I shine with, Oh, what a sheen! You know what I mean, I think you doooo.”
Lyrics just start flowing when Williams meditates on a song title idea in the shower — words and melodies she takes to pianist Brad Kay, who hammers out the chords, and arranger Dan Weinstein, who gives the numbers body.
The eight-piece band includes a horn section and two additional singers, including Williams’ protégé, Nikki Knupp, who will perform three songs at Typhoon. Knupp will wear an auburn Bettie Page wig to match Williams’ black one.
Originally from Northern California, Williams headed east and spent 17 years singing early jazz in New Work’s West Village. Returning to the Golden State in 1994, she devised a persona of “a torch mistress,” a calculating vixen spouting off about the futility of love — the very opposite, in fact, of her romantic nature.
“I just wanted to put on another hat,” she said.
Suzy Williams & Her Solid Senders perform at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Typhoon Restaurant in the Santa Monica Airport, 3221 Donald Douglass Loop South, Santa Monica. $10. Call (310) 390-6565 or visit typhoon.biz.