Posted by flotz on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 | Live Review

flyersingersongwriterThe Triple Door now doing singer-songwriter showcases in the Musicquarium lounge on Tuesday nights. Other than the giant pillar that sits right in front of the stage, it’s a great space for intimate singer songwriter stuff. Dig the giant aquarium.  Glad to see the Triple Door supporting the singer songwriter scene, giving folks a venue to play.

On this past Tuesday, first up was Beth Whitney accompanied by a standup bass player who added texture to her tunes, a Jaco Pastorius/Joni Mitchell vibe. She had some nice tunes, a sweet voice and a spry presence. Did a Dylan cover of “Make You Feel My Love.” Always thought that was a weird line.  Not sure it works.

Next was Susy Sundborg on the keys. Refreshing to hear the piano, so much more complex than folk guitar which tends to be limited to strumming major/minor triads whereas the piano lends itself to modulations, sharps/flats, inversions and generally more chordal nuance. She’s a facile piano player. Played one tune without vocals that was damned pretty.  Did a cover of a Christian rock anthem from the 90s ballad style.

Last up was Kate Lynne Logan, who was joined by a guy playing bass ukulele, straight up country style. He added some nice harmony too. She’s got an alt country thing going on with a real breathy voice.  Would be cool to hear them with a drummer.

You see some pics from the show by George Bentley here:

Posted by flotz on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | Live Review

Bettye Lavette mesmerizing last night, living up to her billing as “emotionally charged soul maven.”  At 66, she commanded the stage with such warmth, wit and verve, not to mention a vocal delivery capable of eliciting chills and tears. She would bend notes, deliver lines with weird flourishes, and generally own every word, every syllable.  Captivating to watch on stage as she danced and gesticulated, performing, aware of her presence. And, when she wanted to emote, she could just rip yr heart out.

If you aren’t familiar with her repertoire, it’s about the interpretation of classic rock, lots of British invasion tunes, others as well.   She’s straight up about it, saying at one point (to the mostly white boomer crowd) “These were the songs of your youth, but they were a nemesis to me. When they started to get popular in the sixties, it was the death of black music on the radio. The Supremes barely survived.”  But interestingly, this project of hers has been the resurgence of her career, leading to two grammy nominated records, which she enjoyed pointing out.  She played four tunes by the fab four, starting out her set with a Beatles song, “The Word” from Rubber Soul.  Also, “Blackbird” from The White Album, “Isn’t It A Pity” by George Harrison from All Things Must Pass and “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr (which was released as a single in 1971). Another one of her great quips: all these songs were written by white boys who were high, now they’re being sung by a black woman whose drunk.

Other tunes she destroyed included “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young, “Love Reign O’er Me” by Pete Townshend, “Joy” by Lucinda Williams and “Your Time To Cry” by Joe Simon. She closed with one of her own tunes, “Got My Own Hell To Raise” exiting stage right to a standing ovation while the band still played, and then re-emerged, still singing on the remote mic, then the band exiting and she closed with a bone chilling acapella song.

Speaking of the band, they were of course amazing, so restrained, never over playing, tight as hell, always subservient to what the song needed, bringing out the compositions. Guitarist played some sweet ebow on “Isn’t It A Pity” and had many moments of glory on a Fender Strat through a Twin Reverb.

She’s playing again tonight – definitely worth seeing someone who truly is a soul diva legend.

Posted by flotz on Friday, April 13, 2012 | Live Review

Caught Thomas Marriott at Tula's. Exquisite set with top notch players. Marc Searles on the keys was golden. Had a killer sound with delay and sustain, provided this deep layer underneath everything.  Sometimes he'd have one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the grand piano.  So tasteful. That's a good word for the quartet overall.  The sounds Marriott coaxes out of his trumpet and flugal horn are rich and melodic. Bassist Jeff Johnson and D’Vonne Lewis on drums never overplayed, but kept it cookin.  Cool to hear some new tunes; you could sense the band was exploring them for the first time -- Marriott would play the head, take a solo, and then sit down and listen to what the band did with his composition. 

Posted by flotz on Monday, April 2, 2012 | Live Review

Kelly Hogan fantastic at The Triple Door. Something so likeable about Hogan, find yrself rootin for her.  She’s got this endearing combo of sweet and sassy. Her new record (out in June) is comprised of songs written for her by other people: Vic Chesnutt, the Magnetic Fields, Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Jon Langford of the Mekons, Catherine Irwin of Freakwater, the Handsome Family, Robyn Hitchcock, Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings/Daptone Records, and others.

She played a bunch these, including the Hitchcock tune, “I Like To Keep Myself In Pain”, awesome, with gnarly key changes and great lyrics. Hogan joked about it being “I Like To Keep Myself In Bread” as the French version.  Wonder about the Hitchcock/Hogan connection cause the Jody Grind (awesome band of Hogan’s from the 90s) opened up for him in 1990. 

She sang the M. Ward song, “Daddy’s Little Girl,” about Sinatra, clever tune with line “some men need a woman to love them; he needed the world to love him." She sang one of her own tunes which she wrote for Neko Case called “Golden.”  Also did a Vic Chesnutt song, “Way of this World” which she called the southern Marlene Dietrich ballad – it was minor and gave space for Hogan to show her vocal prowess.  Her vocal range and timbre are wide; she’ll sometimes get all raspy, sometimes be clear as a bell, and lots in between.  “Slumber’s Sympathy” by Gabriel Roth was pretty, more heartbreak.  She did a couple songs by Magnetic Fields, including “Papa Was a Rodeo” from her record Beneath the Country Undergod. The mirror ball came on for it appropriately and Puddles from the opening band joined her and gave a Johnny Cash baritone treatment to the chorus.

For the entirety of the set, she was accompanied by a guitarist, Chris Scruggs, who switched between acoustic and a Tele straight into a Fender Twin Reverb, no pedals at all, some tasty licks he pulled off here and there,  and a bassist, Casey McDonald (sp?) who also played piano and sang some harmony. Great show. The background lighting of the stage at The Triple Door was trippy as usual.  Here’s an interview with her by The Stranger:

Posted by flotz on Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Live Review

Caught Kathryn Calder at The Mix in Georgetown on the last stop of her tour.  Hearing these songs live, you are reminded how catchy her songs are. She write pop very much in the tradition of The New Pornographers. Yes, if you like that band, you’ll like Kathryn Calder – she’s definitely following in that vein of Canadian indie pop.  Her voice sounded great; it was dominant in the mix, as it should be. She started out playing a tele and then switched to keyboard for the remainder of the show. Played with her eyes shut mostly, her foot tapping to the music, occasionally peeking out at the crowd, but seemed intent on internal evocation.  Can’t remember exact set list, but it featured all the pop songs from her two records, no covers. She’s got this one song “Who Are You” which always makes me think of The Who’s song of the same name.  Backing band knew their stuff.   Satisfying show.