Sunday, July 01, 2012

Love Letters, Will Simmons & the Bundt Cake Bunch, Paul Labrise

Last night the Love Letters played at Hambone's, along with Paul Labrise and Will Simmons & the Bundt Cake Bunch (who were listed incorrectly as "the Bundt Cake Gang" on the flyer; my bad). Things got off to an auspicious start because the Bundt Cake Dudes actually showed up with real bundt cakes. Two in fact: one chocolate and one carrot cake. The latter was the winner in my book with a great consistancy and that delicious cream cheese icing that could've been a tad thicker but really was just fine as it was. The chocolate was equally good, but a bit rich and a bit heavy for that heat. Jo, the angel that books the shows there, set me up with a cup of coffee which was the perfect compliment to the pre-gig snacks. (When we play last I really try to go light on the booze, since gin kills what little vocal range I have.)

Paul was originally going to play with a bass player but said four-string guy was unable to make it so it was just Mr. Labrise and his acoustic guitar. He's a really great guitarist and a pretty clever songwriter so he put on a solid set of his own - catchy, pithy, good blend of chords that were picked and strummed with a few little lead-y things in there.

The audience size was fairly thin at that point and I felt it starting to bother me towards the end of Paul's set. One of my friends from work showed up, although she showed up in part because she's friends with Bill from the BCB. And two other friends texted that they wouldn't be able to make it.

But Will & the Gang snapped the mood into a postive groove from song one. He, bassist Greg and trombonist Bill used to play together in the Hope-Harveys and now they're bolstered by the addition of Red Bob, my former bandmate in Amoeba Knievel (with whom he still plays). Will was playing a Telecaster through a Fender twin, which really took me back to LA circa 1968 (key psychedelic era is what I was thinking of). But when they did one of his instrumentals that has a polka kind of feel, it took me to Redlands, CA circa '85, i.e. Camper Van Beethoven territory. Light-hearted and good timey but definitely not joke rock. Plus, they covered the great Al Hirt/New Orleans chestnut "Java."

Then us Love Letters took the stage. I felt like it was a good night. By then the lack of a larger audience didn't bother me too much. I was there to play. And we were pretty together from the start. Sandwiched between Aimee and Buck, I was getting a good dose of both organ and guitar. I was actually having a hard time hearing the snare drum, though. So there was one song where I think the tempo was a little slippery at first - but that's because there aren't any drums in it just yet. The show centerpiece, again, was "As We Go Along," the Monkees deep cut from Head sung by our drummer Erin. It was pretty exciting. Then I had to follow that, since I was singing the next song. In a move that could never have been planned for real, Erin lost a drum stick and it hit my leg during the next song. Luckily things didn't fall apart.

We have another show coming up on July 28, this time at Gooski's. Hopefully we'll get a better turnout for that.

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