Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Forget to Write

I still make it out to a few shows on a regular basis, but sometimes I forget to write about them. Unlike some bloggers whose very moves seem to be fodder for their blogs, I don't always get around to posting. But Saturday night, after the Love Letters played at Gooski's, and while City Steps was playing I was prodded by a friend of mine to make sure that I didn't forget to post about that show. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was our show. She was more interested in seeing me write more live reviews of locals gigs. Point well taken.

It's always great to have a large audience come out to see you, but I'd be lying if I thought that the Love Letters were a huge draw at this point. But sometimes it doesn't take a big crowd to make me feel positive about the night. Just seeing new faces in the crowd - friends and acquaintances who've never seen us before, who come to check us out - can get me going. And that's what happened at Gooski's on Saturday night. The bar was really thin, especially for Gooski's standards. There was a lot going on that night - a few other shows, some parties - but a handful of friends from work came out for the first time, which was really encouraging.

Our set went pretty well. I did something I don't usually do before a set: I had a shot of Bullet (to keep the throat loosened up) and it was gone before we even hit the stage so I figured why not get another one. It didn't totally throw me, but it did make my hands a little loose early on. I felt like I sang really well though. We added an old Mystery Date song to our set called "The Mysterious Stranger," and we thought it would be cool to have Erin come out from behind the drums to sing lead. That way Aimee would have a chance to whack away at the drums, like she did when we were in Mystery Date together.

Then City Steps went on. I love that band. Michael is a great songwriter, with a knack for catchy, ear-tugging chord changes, the likes of which remind me of classic British Invasion pop, with a dose of Belle & Sebastian thrown in. With Bill and Kate, late of the Hi-Frequencies, making up half the band, it's very easy to get an authentic '60s vibe from them, since their hearts lie with that stuff. Not to mention the fact that they're great musicians. And Joe the drummer (who's also Joe the bass player in Neighbours) is also a really great listener so he keeps everything in the pocket.

The band has been recording an album. In fact they were a bit late in getting there because they were finishing up some tracking that evening. I can't wait to hear it to see what they decide to do production-wise with their songs.

Michael plays acoustic guitar exclusively and wears it pretty high, which always makes me think of British Invasion players (Gerry & the Pacemakers especially). It made me want to yell out Herman's Hermits songs too because I can see these guys pulling off a good cover of something like "A Must To Avoid," one of HH's more credible songs. Maybe we ought to have a British invasion night somewhere. Neighbours should get involved too. (I can see their drummer Andy as Dave Clark in the Dave Clark Five.)

My friend who reminded me to post this also said City Steps sounded a bit like the '90s band Material Issue. I can't for the life of me remember them, instead getting them mixed up with Material, the revolving door funk-jazz project of Bill Laswell in the '80s. But she sent a link to me so we'll see.


Anonymous said...

Mike: I truly enjoy your reviews, both here and on Blurt. However, I must point out an error in your recent Blurt review of the Bear Stanley Joplin recording: Owsley Stanley was a Kentucky native and the grandson of a U.S. Senator and adopted Australia as his homeland. It definitely was not his place of birth.

shanleymusic said...

Eek. Thanks for the clarification. And thanks for reading and liking my stuff. It's appreciated.