Name: Rock Lobster
Posts by Rock Lobster:
Max Weinberg blew into E’ville on this night to play guru to the UE Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Timothy Zipher. The 17 piece group is the current pride of the UE music department and was definitely up to the task when the performance commenced.
This was another fine event sponsored the Patricia H. Snyder (PHS) Concert Series. The late Ms. Snyder and her family are long time contributors to the University of Evansville and community arts and music. On this evening, the support was well received and much appreciated by the near capacity crowd at the Victory Theater. Because of the aforementioned generous support, this event was free and open to the public.
Max Weinberg’s pedigree is well known to most in attendance. Max Weinberg has combined a love for music into a career that has now spanned five decades. From a young aspiring drummer watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan to snagging the choice position as Springsteen’s E Street stickman, Max still has the awe and gratitude today that he surely had when Bruce gave him the nod back in 1974. Add to that his 17 year stint as the musical director on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and you have a career that is the envy of most in the business.
From kicking off the set with “Rat Race” to ending the concert with a rousing version of the Louis Prima classic, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” Weinberg gave a clinic to the musicians and audience alike. It was a fine performance. If there was such a thing, the only disappointing factor was that the first chair horn players never really cut loose with their parts. I don’t know if that was nerves or direction, but I would have like to see a bit more improvisation. I dare say it might hoe given Max a bit more room to breakout. If you ever get to see him with the Max Weinberg Big Band, you’ll know what I mean.
After the show, Weinberg gave a 25 minute talk about what music has meant to him and his family. Max’s son, Jay, has drummed with Springsteen and spent 2010 on tour with Mad Ball. He is currently the drummer with the punk rock group, Against Me! After the talk, Weinberg then took questions from the audience. He was very gracious and it was treat to hear someone with so much history and ability be that open and honest about himself and his career. Then, he was ushered to the lobby of the theater where the first 250 patrons, with a photo, got an autograph opportunity.
Thanks to the University of Evansville and the PHS Concert Series for a great evening. Also a big thanks to Paul Mattingly and WUEV 91.5 FM for a great interview with Max as the lead up to the event. This crustacean hopes that many more events like this one hits his rock!
From the first time Aly Tadros hit the tri-state , with her CD, Things Worth Keeping, until she came into Evansville in February 2010, the fan base for this folk debutante has gotten bigger and more passionate. That February, Aly was in the middle of the Ragged Haggard Tour with Douglass Jay Boyd. Aly then hooked up with Toronto native, Chloe Charles, and another chapter began.
And again, in the middle of another February, the gypsy jazz caravan made another stop in the tri-state. This time, the duo had added a double bassist, Sam McClellan. Originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, Sam was originally a classically-trained musician. After finishing at University of Toronto, she ditched the by-gone era she had been existing in and headed wherever the wind would take her. That “wind” took her to Chloe Charles, where she was featured on Charles’ 2010 EP, Little Green Bud. Now she is an integral part of what Aly and Chloe are singing, adding synergy to the heart and soul of the group.
Their first stop in the tri-state was a Sunday night house concert at the home of David Wells. David was their host while here in this area. He has also been involved in some regional promotion and bookings for the band. They headed to WUEV 91.5 FM (wuev.org) on Monday for a sit down with Paul Mattingly for an interview and performance to get their fans ready for their Monday evening gig. If it’s Monday night, it had to be Lamasco’s Bar & Grille. The west-side tavern has steadily grown a well-deserved rep for the best and most eclectic entertainment in Evansville. Amy Rivers-Word knows how to show the tri-state a good time and this night was no exception. The ladies brought all they had to the joint and the audience was most appreciative.
The last stop on this whirlwind was Tuesday night at the Cafe Arazu in Newburgh, Indiana. Cafe Arazu has the intimate atmosphere just right for Aly, Chloe, and Sam. When I arrived about an hour after they had began their show, it was already SRO and everyone had a smile on their face.
With the diverse expertise and backgrounds of these sirens of the world, their popularity is in perpetual motion while they criss-cross between the Americas and the rest of the globe. We in the tri-state will miss them and hope for a return trip that is tentatively scheduled for the early part of Summer 2011. When they return, the ladies will come back under the banner of “Sweetness.” This will be the name of the group and it will then include Douglass Jay Boyd. If you’d like to connect with the ladies and the tour you can catch up with them at alytadros.com, chloecharles.com or “friend” Aly, Chloe, and Sam (Antlers) on Facebook.
January 19, 2011
As the Evansville area was recovering from its current deep-freeze, a fortunate few experienced a musical treat. On this day, as part of the Brown Bag Performance Series, one of the area’s most exceptional musicians gave this audience a dose of warm winter jazz. Monte Skelton put on his unique version of a “one-man show” and left the crowd wanting more.
The Brown Bag Performance Series is sponsored by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana and is held at the Bower-Suhrhenrich Gallery (BSG) at 318 Main Street on the Downtown Walkway. This event is a lunchtime performance series that features the diverse variety of performing talent in the Evansville area. It is held on Wednesdays from 12 noon until 1 pm. The Series occurs twice a year; from January through April and then again from October to December.
In addition to the great music and performance, the audience has an opportunity to witness the exhibits the Art Council Gallery has on display. During Monte’s concert, Art By Architects was presented. This showing, which runs through February 22nd, shows works in oils, digital photography and illustration, and, among other mediums, some three-dimensional art. The participating artists are from local architectural firms.
The concert began with some opening remarks of welcome from Mary Jane Schenk, the Executive Director, and Laurel Vaughn, the Secretary of the Gallery Board of Directors. Then, the musical magic commenced.
Monte started by playing his bass and, then with a kick of a switch, the bass riff became the rhythm track for his primary instrument, the saxophone. Whether he was playing the Kenny Dorham classic, “Blue Bossa,” or he had the audience “In A Mellow Tone,” Monte Skelton demonstrated why he has a crowd of admirers whenever he plays. On the electronic side, Monte has become most proficient with an instrument known as an EWI. “EWI” stands for electronic wind instrument and is associated with jazz fusion and New Age music. Played like a soprano sax, it can also be heard in the background of recent television shows and movies. Besides being the consummate showman, Monte took a turn as “teacher” as he demonstrated how this electronic wonder operated.
Monte continued through a set that included the Juan Tizol composition, “Caravan,” and then brought the Herbie Hancock tune, “Chameleon,” alive. He did this writer a favor by playing the often requested “Teddy Bear.” This was a fan favortie from a Monte Skelton release from several years ago entitled Times. Then he ended this all-too-short concert with the Errol Garner classic, “Misty.” As the show concluded, Monte Skelton received a well deserved standing ovation.
This concert also had a special distinction. It was the first of many of these events that will be broadcast live on WUEV 91.5 FM (wuev.org). For more information on the Brown Bag Performance Series contact the Arts Council Gallery at 812-422-2111 Or go online to artswin.evansville.net. And you can catch Monte and Skelton’s’ Montourage the first Friday of the every month at the Deerhead Sidewalk Cafe at 222 E. Columbia.
The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL) Foundation sponsored two musical programs of interest in their 2010 fall session. The first was on November 11th and had After Hours Jazz Ensemble performing in the lobby of the North Park Branch Library. A great evening of jazz with this seasoned group featured Cary Gray (vocals), Michael Gray (bass), Matt Kincaid (guitar), and Greg Martin (drums).
The second of these events is the focus of this chapter of YGTCTA. On a cold December night things heated up as the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Foundation presented The Browne Sisters. This was held once again at 6:30 pm and was in a meeting room off the lobby of the library.
With some trepidation, the event was still held. The National Weather Service had been forecasting all afternoon dire predictions of treacherous conditions due to an impending ice storm. However, at show time, the storm had not materialized. Michael Campese, the branch manager, was confidant that the crowd and the ‘Sisters would come together for a special holiday moment.
The Browne Sisters are well known in this area. They have been performing since 1986 when they auditioned for a single role in a Dick Engber’s production at Civic Theater entitled “The 1940 Radio Hour.” Rather than decide between these two incredible ladies, he cast them both and the rest of us have been enjoying them ever since. As one of the Tri-State’s best loved acts they have been voted “Best Entertainers” in the Evansville Living Magazine for both 2002 and 2003. They were also honored in 2003 as the “Artist of the Year” by the Evansville Arts Council.
This evening found Gina Moore and Joan Moore-Mobley accompanied by Eric Scales on piano. The show’s program would highlight the season and so all who were in attendance went caroling while still in their seats! After a brief intro by Mr. Campese, the ‘Sisters began with the classic “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.” Next featured Gina on a relatively new song in the Christmas retinue, the 1962 “Do You Hear What I Hear.” Gina does this thing where she is right in the middle of a song and someone will walk in that she knows and she will introduce them to the audience like everyone knows them. I always find it rather intimate fun and she does it without breaking stride in the music.
Another highlight was Joan doing a animated version of “The Christmas Song” taking a verse to say “Merry Christmas” in several languages. Then, breaking from the holiday program, Gina did a killer version of the 1979 Amanda McBroom composition “The Rose.” This song, from the movie of the same name, was one of the game-makers for Bette Midler’s career. Gina’s turn with this classic would have made Ms. Midler take notice. This prompted Joan for a moment of encouragement with testimonies of individuals battling cancer. Joan describe this as the “thorn” that life can deliver. But, the important thing was to realize that life was “a rose” and should therefore always be cherished.
As the audience got the maximum dose of The Browne Sisters, the ladies harmonized through “O Holy Night” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Joan sang “Ave Maria” accappella and did it in Latin. Never did a ”dead” language sound so alive! “Jingle Bell Rock” brought Gina and a friend to the dance floor and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was another crowd sing-a-long favorite.
After a reminder about the REAL reason for the season, the show came to an end. “What A Wonderful World,” the 1968 Louis Armstrong classic, brought the house down and showed Gina’s best ‘Satchmo’ improv. And the end came with a “Silent Night” as the trio put a bit of New Orleans Christmas groove to the tune for good measure.
The EVPL Foundation should be congratulated for such a gift to the community. And I hope that The Browne Sisters will continue to perform for many years to come. It certainly did make a “Merry Christmas” that much merrier.
On a recent Wednesday evening, I found myself at the Main Gate on the Downtown Walkway, warming up to a solo act playing for a rather sparse clientele. Andrea Wirth was playing her heart out, letting that powerful presence captivate the fortunate few who happened to be there at the time. She played the Bobby Gentry hit, “Ode to Billie Joe,” as a personal request and then wowed us with one of the cuts of her new release, Something to Hold On To. The song, “Walking on Whisky” seem to always be on the request list everywhere Andrea goes, whether it is as a solo act or with her band, The Dirty Lil Fun-Havers. I’ll get to them it a bit. But the tune that got me on that blustery night was a mash up of “Folsom Prison Blues,” the Johnny Cash classic and “That’s All Right (Mama)” the 1954 Elvis Presley hit. What a combo and brought off by Ms. Wirth like it was originally written that way!
I want to cycle around a tad to several days before. I was out on a Friday night with the plan to end up at the late set by Andrea and her band at Lanhuck’s Tavern, at the corner of Columbia and Gavin here in Evansville. This is where the true essence of the corner bar still resides, with a little bit of 1960′s déjà vu added to spice up the joint. This night found Andrea Wirth and the Dirty Lil Fun-Havers in rare form. Anyone who has ever been in the place knows the lay-out. The band is in right in front of audience, in all that black-light glory with the musicians and stage almost in your lap. While the decibel load can be a little challenging, the whole atmosphere is designed to bring the Lanhuck’s patrons face to face with the best music the Tri-State has to offer.
I got there at 1st break so I had an entire set in front of me. I settle back and actually got some time with Andrea. She was excited about how the band was doing and the fact that they were going to Nashville, Tennessee the next day to play a gig. Then, after the round up that usually takes place on band breaks, the band turned on, tuned up, and kicked out the jams… well, you know the rest of it!
They wailed thru the set like a semi rolling down a southwestern highway, with Wirth all up in front and definitely in command. Whether it was drummer Kim McCready singing and striking the beat, Zack Killebrew dancing with his bass or Gerd Ellis making his guitar croon, the Dirty Lil Fun-Havers were as complete of a group as I have seen in quite a while.
The bulk of the set were songs from the newly released Something to Hold On To. One of the high lights, as with the solo effort I mentioned before, was “Walking on Whisky.” The set ended with a rocking version of the Kris Kristofferson classic “Me and Bobby McGee.” I thought at that moment that Janis would have been proud.
Now I want to get back to the solo gig at the Main Gate on that Wednesday night. Andrea and her girls where all buzzed about the Nashville gig. Seems Andrea’s sister had booked the group in a showcase in Music City called the Eastside Performing Artist Co-op at Five Points on the east side of Nashville. It was the CD release party for the Nashville area. And the band played to a good crowd, did some business, and was going to go back to the hotel. Somehow, and you’ll have to ask Andrea for more details, the band and some of the crowd they had just played for ended at Big Shotz, on the corner of 2nd and Broadway in downtown Nashville, across from the Wildhorse Saloon. The owner told Andrea and TDLF-H that they could do 3 songs. That turned into playing for a very appreciative crowd until last call. As the saying goes, if the mountain won’t come to you, you must go to the mountain. And this one radon opportunity may lead to a regular gig in Nashville. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. This girl and this band have the talent to go to that kind of venue and pull it off. Andrea Wirth and the Dirty Lil Fun-Havers could be that group that we all are glad we knew way back when.