Two Show Reviews
I've become pretty picky in what shows I go so. I'm trying to avoid the Black Cat and 930 Club because of the crowds, the noise and the smoking.
The Tidbits @ Velvet Lounge 6/23/05 - Many years ago, Esmirelda, who sang dirty ditties and funny folk songs while seated on a toilet, became an offbeat opening act for many a shock rock outfits, opening up for Butthole Surfers, GWAR and even my old band (well, we opened up for her).
Now she's all grown down and become something of a shock rocker herself. Combining theatrical elements with one of the more positive and bubbly personalties around isn't always a great equation for rock and roll and partic. "shock and roll" (oh, ha ha ha, I'm tittering like a nun) but she pulls it off quite well and without the gore and only a little glitter make-up (alas).
She still has her "you can't sing that!" knack for songwriting and offending the blue bloods among us. Now it's like bigger, funner, stronger, meatier, did I say funner cuz funner's not really a word and louder, loud, loud, loud. Kinda like Hedwig (who isn't a real band or person), Cher (who unfortunately IS a real person) and AC/DC (whose video was playing ALL NIGHT LONG in the bar below) rolled up into one band of merry dirtballs. There's the stoic backbeat drummer, an aged hippy dude playing effortless lead guitar smackingly well and a competent androngynous bassist (everyone has to get one of those). Visit their website for latest gig info.
My first time at the Velvet Lounge and I'm not overly impressed. The music is in a tiny dark room at the top of the creaky stairs - the whole place just has this stoney frat boy turned tatooed rocker vibe to it. Though I suppose there's worse things frat boys could turn into.
Rachel Jacobs / Hope and Anchor / Bellafea @ Warehouse Next Door 6/25/05 - This was part of a festival put on by Exotic Fever records, a local label run by three ladies. It was their fifth anniversary. I got there when Ms. Jacobs was starting. For the Angry Girl with a Guitar And Little Life Experience and A Charming But Off Key Voice, she sure apologizes a lot to the audience for her f-ups. Yo, punk rock, sister, punk rock. I liked her last song - I believe it was called "Friends Overseas"...
Hope and Anchor set up themselves in a circle in the middle of the room and invited everyone to sit around. Apparently, they're new to Exotic Fever and recently moved from Portland to North Carolina.
A three member group - two girls and a boy, they trade off instruments from song to song and seats and they did a set of quiet, acoustic folk with occasional smatterings of psyche. instruments included a toyish accordian, brushes on drums, bass, guitar. Each song had a slightly different instrumentation. They left the vocals unmic'ed which when the girls sang together I was oddly reminded of my sisters screaming "are we there yet?" from the back of the station wagon on summer vacation. The songs were very short little tone poems (I'd say alot of them were under 2 minutes) and left no room for any soloing or improv. Some very nice stuff so I bought their $10 CD...
Bellafea have that tasty CD EP, an ambient-ish folk psyche CD that makes for good late night listening... they were the headliners for the night. A two person band - a girl on guitar and a guy on drums, the girl seems to do the songwriting and all the singer. They face each other on the stage giving the impression of confrontation. The girl starts out with a quite repetitive piece that just tightens the tension while the drummer patiently waits. Then they explode together in an angular and controlled, smash and slab of feedback that mostly goes on for the next several songs, none of them sounded very familiar even though their CD has been in heavy rotation in my car. The final song was once again the girl alone with her guitar, the drummer walking off the stage at that point. One of the audience -- I think one of the label owners -- asked for "Seasons" (off their CD) and the girl admitted she hadn't played it for a while and didn't know if she could remember all the words and so it seemed to be sung halfheartedly - the only, uh, dischordant note in the set. For the most part, a fine set & glad I went.
Exotic Fever Records.
Addendum: Someone else was at the show and wrote about it or at least wrote about the people there. I think I'm the "creepy guy" she refers to. I try really hard to give off that creepy vibe and I'm glad I have succeeded. Now Jamy is linked to my creepy blog.