Aplscruf's Music Blog

Small Sur to Release “Tones” June 28

Tones

Tones, the new album by the Baltimore band Small Sur will be released June 28.  Check out my review of the album on Randomville.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Randomville, Small Sur | , | Leave a comment

Vicci Martinez at Big Daddy’s Place Woodinville, WA 4.29.11

Vicci Martinez

Opener: Red Cup

Big Daddy’s Place

Woodinville, WA

April 29, 2011

UPDATE! VICCI WILL BE “LIVE” TUESDAY, JUNE 14 ON THE VOICE! BE SURE TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR HER!!

CHECK OUT MY REVIEW ON RANDOMVILLE ! Vicci WON the “Battle Round” on The Voice Tuesday, May 10! GO, VICCI!

Vicci Martinez

Last night at Big Daddy’s in Woodinville the sold-out crowd of middle-aged suburbanites witnessed budding fame personified.  Vicci Martinez was just featured on NBC’s  The Voice on Tuesday, April 26.   I wouldn’t expect someone who is a contestant on a vocal talent show similar to American Idol to appear in a small suburban nightclub, but there she was, singing her heart out while we danced, ate, drank and shouted for more.

Backing up a bit…

We first took notice of Vicci when we discovered a little cafe on Bainbridge Island called The Treehouse Cafe.  It showcases various artists (including Vicci, who is from Tacoma) who also play in small Seattle clubs; but it’s a ferry ride away.  We thought it would be fun to stay at a little B&B nearby sometime and go see a show.  It would be a costly weekend, though, so we never got around to it.  Vicci was featured there recently and received much praise on the cafe’s website.  We checked out Vicci’s website which had a notice that said she would appear on The Voice on Tuesday, April 26.  I listened to a few of her songs that streamed on her website and liked what I heard.  She has such power in her voice;  I was curious to know how she’d do on The Voice.

P and I watched The Voice intently last Tuesday.  She came on early into the show, and totally impressed the coaches.  The four coaches (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton) seemed excited when she belted out a song  by Adele called “Rolling in the Deep.”  Christina and Cee Lo fought for her (the premise is, they will “coach” the unsigned singers to eventually compete and earn a chance for a recording contract and big money).  She ended up choosing Cee Lo as her coach.  The show moved on to other contestants.  We’ll be watching over the coming weeks to see what happens to her.

We got to Big Daddy’s about 7:30.  Not only is it located northeast of Seattle, it resides in a one-level industrial park.  Not very pretty, but the rent’s cheap compared to a Seattle venue.  The place was already packed.  It’s a nightclub from 9:00 on, but before that, they do allow families in to eat in the restaurant section.  We paid our $10 cover and found a couple of stools and a tiny, round table right by the door.  We had an angled view of the stage, but were pretty close.  We ordered some food: P had a large, tender steak and I settled for a “naked” chicken and steamed veggies.  I’d eaten lots of crappy food that day, so I thought I’d go light for dinner.  Big mistake.  More on that later.  We settled in with a pitcher of Manny’s and did some people-watching while awaiting for the opening band, Red Cup.

Red Cup’s lead singer, Steve Stefanowicz  is blind, but that doesn’t stop him from playing quite a nice blues guitar.  The bass player is owner Mike Summerfield, a.k.a. Big Daddy.  Eric Robert played organ and Darin Watkins was on drums.  The band played several covers, including B.B. King’s “Thrill is Gone,” Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” Van Morrison’s “Moon Dance,” and The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”  They also did an original song called “Desiree,” and finished the nice set with Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”  Stefanowicz had lots of nice solos and jammed with Robert and Watkins.

Big Daddy's House Band, Red Cup

I was getting a little sleepy during the intermission; it’s hard for me to go out on a Friday after a long day at work.  My day starts at 5:20 am, so it takes some fortitude to stay out past 9:00.   I guess that shows my age.  I tried to get comfortable and relax a bit, knowing Vicci would be on soon.  The bar stools were not so comfortable, and it was so crowded; people kept hitting our legs trying to get through the narrow aisle.

I was hungry again, as the diet food just didn’t cut it tonight.  Screw it, I ordered a plate of chicken nachos and a cosmo.  P laughed at my lack of will power!

After another half hour or so, Vicci Martinez took the stage to a shouting, whooping crowd.  Many people there were already fans of hers, some most likely saw her on The Voice (validated by the cheers of the audience when she asked if people saw her on TV this week), and some were there to see her for the first time.

Vicci started the show by first saying, “I know it’s TV and it’s cool, but we still do what we do the way we do it.”  Cheers erupted from the audience.  In other words, she’s staying true to herself and her band by playing her original music the way she wants to do it.  She actually tried out for American Idol at sixteen, got through to the Hollywood round, and then decided she wasn’t quite ready.  Pretty big decision for such a young woman.  Now, in her mid-20’s, she’s about to make it big.

Vicci, Darin and Jeff

Her voice is clear, bluesy, powerful and emotional, very surprising for her diminutive frame.  When she gets into the upper octave of her range, she tends to get raspy, but in a rocking, Melissa Etheridge sort of way. The rest of the band was tight, and wavered between pop/jazz sessions and blues, with organ and guitar leading the way.  She got down to business during the long set.  Most songs were original, except for a Michael Jackson medley near the end.  She played rhythm guitar, letting the long solos go to her lead guitarist Rod Cook.  She crouched down while getting into a song, threw her head back and wailed, smiled and hammed it up with the dance crowd.

She played over a dozen songs from her five albums.  She also has a new live album that was recorded at Tacoma’s Jazzbones.  Some of the songs from her set list included:

Fire In Her Eyes

Leave The Light On (great slide guitar, with very bluesy feel)
Check out a YouTube video of this song here:

Hold Me Darlin’ (featured on The Mountain 103.7)

Wake Me Up (she switched it up to a little reggae beat in the middle)

Michael Jackson Medley (included “Billie Jean,” “Rock With You,” and “ABC”)

Mexico (one of my faves…just a cool vibe to this song)

She interrupted the set at one point to plug the purchase of her version of Adele’s song on iTunes to help her stay on the show.

We left after “Mexico.”  She promised to play a couple more songs, but we were pretty tired and ready for a soft bed.

No matter the outcome on The Voice, Vicci Martinez will keep doing what she does, the way she wants; and her loyal fans will be right there with her.

More Pics…

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Big Daddy's Place, Concert Season 2011, Music, Vicci Martinez | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old 97’s at the Showbox 01.24.2011

Wind-Miller

Monday, January 24, 2011

Old 97’s at The Showbox at the Market, Seattle

Langhorne Slim Opened

See my Randomville review here

Monday’s show at The Showbox was quite a ride.  Not only did the opening act Langhorne Slim totally deliver, but the Old 97’s shook the Showbox with a steady, churning mix of old and new material.  The diehard fans packed the house and partied like it was a Friday night.

We wandered around the cavernous Showbox and scoped out our spot, a railing on the right side, a.k.a. Murryside (Murry Hammond, the Old 97’s bass player’s customary side of the stage–thanks, West Coast Fan!).  We were two people deep from the stage, pretty much under the speakers, which helped keep our ears away from the speaker blast zone.

Langhorne Slim

Slim and Moore

Langhorne Slim took the stage just minutes after we arrived.  I was thoroughly entertained by his short set of five or six upbeat folk/Americana songs, infused with a lot of soul.  Slim has a high, soulful voice, which at times reaches a throat-tightening scream.  His charismatic performance was fun to watch; he reminded me of the quirky Ryan Adams.  He bounced around the stage and lost his hat, fell to his knees seemingly begging the audience to hear his words, and at one point lay on his back with his legs straight up and kicked the air.

Slim and Moore Jamming

I don’t have the exact titles of the songs he played except “Collette.”  I’ll try to find a set list soon.

Raised By Wolves

I Ain’t Dead Anymore  (soul/r&b sound)

I would Do Anything For You

Collette

Slim was accompanied by drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, Jeff Ratner on standup bass, and David Moore on keys/banjo.  They played off each other’s energy and absorbed the audience’s joyous noise.  Their tight, percussive sound was so much bigger than their compact appearance on the large stage.  And David Moore temporarily left the planet every time he picked up his banjo.  He shredded that banjo and pounded out percussion sounds in a trance-like state.  Moore could give Scott Avett a run for his money.  In fact, Langhorne and the band will be opening for the Avett Brothers this spring, throughout Florida, Georgia and Texas.

After about a 20 minute intermission, the lights dimmed, and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” blasted over the speakers.  The veteran fans knew that was a cue for the Old 97’s to take the stage.  With our choice viewing spot, we were able to see the Old 97’s rush out of the green room and up the short flight of steps to the stage.  The screaming increased in decibels with each step!

Rhett Solo

The Old 97’s, the Texas alt-country/rock band fronted by the hideous Rhett Miller (yes, girls, I’m being sarcastic) delivered all night, with lots of sweat, spit, windmills, thundering solos and a few broken strings!  They fired up the evening with “Grand Theatre” off their latest album by the same name.  Throughout the set, they mixed in several new songs, and the faithful fans gave them enthusiastic props.  Within the first few beats of the older songs, the audience (myself included) jumped up and down, hollered and sang along unabashedly.  They played many favorites, including “Oppenheimer,” “Barrier Reef,” “Rollerskate Skinny,” and “Big Brown Eyes.”  A few of their newer songs are on their way to becoming Old 97’s classics, such as “A State of Texas,” “Champaign, Illinois,” that Miller said he “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan (he added lyrics to the Dylan song), “Dance Class” and the biting and bouncy “Every Night is Friday Night (Without You).”

Rhett

Ken and Rhett

Set List:

Grand Theatre (latest album title)

Get Me Through This Lord (not sure of exact title)

Dance Class (G.T.)

On a Bus

You Smoke Too Much (Murry)

Oppenheimer

Champaign, Illinois (G.T. – Rhett “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan – he added lyrics)

The New Kid

West TX Teardrops (Murry)

A State of Texas (G.T.)

Stoned

I’ve Got a Question

Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, False start (Murry)

Waltz-paced Love is What You Are (G.T.)

Barrier Reef

Rollerskate Skinny

Smoker (Murry)

Please Hold on While the Train is Moving (G.T.) Funky psychedelic middle part, like a Beach Boys Pet Sounds song, muted guitar

4 Leaf Clover

(Short break, Encore)

Singular Girl  (request from internet)

Valentine (Murry)

Won’t be Home No More

Big Brown Eyes (my fave)

Every Night is Friday Night (Without You) (G.T.)

Time Bomb

Miller still has that front man “it” factor.  He had the girls in the front row swooning and screaming over “I’ve Got a Question,” the cheesy marriage proposal song.  Throughout the set, he shook his booty and strutted around the stage.  His manscaped chest glistened with sweat.  His dripping hair looked like he’d just stepped out of a shower; and when he was head-banging to Ken’s Bethea’s amazing guitar solos, many lucky front-row girls (and boys) got to take a little bit of Rhett home with them that night!

Murry

The rest of the band added fuel to Miller’s fire.  Murry Hammond, the beloved bass player with Harry Potter rims, had his turn at the mic quite a few times.  He sang “You Smoke Too Much” off Grand Theatre, “West TX Teardrops,” Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” and “Smoker.”  After a short break, he also came out and did an acoustical version of “Valentine,” honoring a song request from several audience members. Ken Bethea’s guitar skills are legendary, and he proved himself worthy as he dove into raging solos and teased the front row by bending low for an up-close view of his moves–and his soul patch. Drummer Philip Peeples is also impressive.  I’m sure he must hit the drums three times more per minute than a typical rock drummer; his sticks were just a blur.  He also had to pay close attention to false starts, solos, and keep up with sudden changes in the set list.

The near-capacity crowd got the Showbox shuddering when Old 97’s performed their traditional closer, “Time Bomb.”  There was a frenzy of cheers as Rhett departed while the rest of the band stayed to play the final notes.   It no longer mattered that it was a Monday; the Old 97’s make every night a Friday night.

Ken Solo

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Langhorne Slim, Music, Old 97's, Randomville, Seattle, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Singles Club Reviews

Check out randomville for song reviews in a segment called “Singles Club,” including my choice: The David Wax Museum’s “Beatrice.”  I had a blast writing short reviews for this project.  Four other writers, with very different musical tastes, also contributed songs and reviews.  It was interesting to read other people’s perspectives on the songs.

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Music, Randomville, The David Wax Museum | , , | Leave a comment

New Mexico, via San Diego

New Mexico

Check out my review of New Mexico, a post-punk band from San Diego!  They ROCK!! The review posted on randomville today: http://randomville.com/wordpress/?p=9698

You can also check out their MySpace site or Bandcamp for more info.

(photos courtesy of New Mexico)

November 22, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2010, Music, New Mexico, Randomville | , | Leave a comment