Saturday, August 22, 2009

8/21/09 - Ella Minnow, Daniel Folmer, Big Round Spectacles Hailey's. solo.

Big Round Spectacles was up first. one dude on keyboards, sometimes wif harmonica. some pleasant little ditties, pretty standard stuff, fairly enjoyable, nothing overly compelling. voice was on-pitch at least, if not a little reedy. piano-playing was a touch inconsistent - wrong notes, tempo problems, etc. - which is kind of a handicap when that's the only instrument being played. still, it was entertaining enough that I watched the whole set, so...
Daniel Folmer was up next, accompanied by a bass player and drummer. I was pretty impressed with Daniel the first time I saw him, when he played a mostly-acoustic set at Dan's, but not as impressed the second time. Last night? Not a good night. Something was missing - he faced sideways, never looked at the audience, never smiled, no banter (except when he was castigating all the people at the bar who wouldn't come over and listen), and it just seemed like he was completely half-assin' it all set. Didn't see any of the emotion or passion that I remember from the first set at Dan's. Not sure what to make of it - maybe just an off night? (Pointless side note - the drummer reminded me of Kevin, Rod's brother in Hot Rod. Told you it was pointless).
Ella Minnow headlined, and holy shite, this band is phenomenal. I officially Fell In Love with Ella Minnow last night. Seen them a couple times before, and my appreciation of their talent grows every time. Incredible voice on the lead, with an amazing range - great lower register, plus a sometimes-shouty, growling, spoken-wordy-type style, plus a beautiful falsetto, and he flies across the whole range with incredible ease. And what an amazing amount of energy and passion he brings to the set - he is a sight to behold. And the songwriting - dear gawd, the songs! Whoever writes this stuff is a freakin' genius. Most songs are (relatively) long and somewhat complex, with multiple tempo changes, time-signature changes, and even genre-changes, all within one song (please don't get the impression that these are pretentious art-rock tunes or anything, cuz they're not - they flat-out rock!). Love that kind of creativity & uniqueness. Even when they stopped down and played a more-conventional alt-countryish tune, they managed to inject it with enough style, energy, and funkiness to make it unique. just an unbelievable set. definitely vaulted them near the top of my 'favorite local band' list. said they were working on a new album - can't wait for that. seriously, folks - check out this band - you will not be sorry.

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