Oh, what a night, blogspot readers! And this was no April Fool's joke either. Friday night, the local scene was abuzzed with rockin' music everwhere - from the world famous House of Blues to the popular hot spot Elbo Room. First, SouthSide found herself at House of Blues with fans of all ages to see Ben Rector open for Matt Wertz. Afterwards, she made an unscheduled visit to Elbo Room to hold court with The Jesters and rock with Apache Stone (featuring Michael Lombardi of FX's Rescue Me) as well as enjoy a unique acoustic performance by Dave Hiltebrand.
There was only one problem with Ben Rector's opening performance, blogspot readers - too short. Not enough time (in SouthSide's opinion) to really soak her ears into this singer/songwriter's vibrant Alternative/Pop sound, romantically heartfelt lyrics and falsetto vocals. This artist (bursting with spontanity and energy even while between songs) had this all-ages crowd grooving to his fun momentum during his set. From a random pizza survey (btw, this reviewer suggests trying Apart Pizza located on Montrose near Lincoln) to improvising a thrid verse about bears (the animals not the football team), Ben's word of the evening was "fun" which truly accomplished its goal as he made the most out of his short set for all. SouthSide did have a fun time groovin' to his throwback song, Never Gonna Let You Go, that featured a soulful R&B/Funk sound within a lively downtempo pace. The crowd definitely came to life while assisting Ben with some snapping of fingers and clapping (and they stopped right on cue as he asked when the chorus ended) during The Beat (track 1 off his current album - Into The Morning) ...had many on the main floor dancing along to its melodic rhythms. Yet in between the fun times, blogspot readers, Ben demonstrated another side to his fun music which involved emotional pain and heartache. While performing When A Heart Breaks (also off his current album), this artist revealed a tiny part of himself (via the lyrics) since the words sang were so personal as well as powerful yet sounding sincere (as advice to a heartbroken friend) in his voice. And though the tempo was down a notch or two, the band wonderfully captured the solemn mood of this song by reverently keeping a steady rhythm to compliment Ben's vocals. Ending this performance acoustically with Loving You Is Easy (also off current albun featuring the improvised third verse about bears), the crowd was left wanting more. SouthSide highly recommends checking out Ben's Dance With Me Baby and Moving Backwards song videos on YouTube as well as snagging a copy or two (Ben will suggest purchasing two) of his current release Into The Morning. However, this reviewer suggests seeing this singer/songwriter live on stage to personally feel that fun energy yourself. Visit http://www.benrectormusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/benrector for tour details and other information.
Since the night was still rather young, SouthSide visited her good friends at Elbo Room to see and hear what's rockin' the acoustic and basement lounges. She highly recommends checking out this lively court of musicians known as The Jesters at their next performance. Dressed in their finest roaring 20s wear (for this particular appearance), this band rocked out the packed basement lounge with music that vibrantly popped and energetically spontaneous from a combination of Alternative/Soul/Ska/R&B/more, blogspot readers. The "more" came from The Jesters' liveliest horn section which totally brought hot funky danceable rhythms in reminiscent of big band swing throughout the set. And leading this lively court of musicians was their prettily dolled up femme fatale who impressed this reviewer with her dynamically powerful vocals. She truly had the stage and crowd feeling the fiery momentum of her voice especially during Shame On Me. Blogspot readers, expect a full review of this rockin' band in the near future but in the meantime visit http://www.jestersonline.com for more details about The Jesters.
Meanwhile upstairs, instrumental guitarist Dave Hiltebrand electrified Elbo Room's upstairs lounge with a unique performance featuring acoustic variations of a select list of popular songs done on the electric guitar. SouthSide enjoyed how this musician passionately infused his own spin to familiar rock songs like Tom Petty's Free Fallin' and Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is during his double set appearance. Dave rocked the stage with cool electric (sometimes with a steel or slide guitar riff feel) in a downtempo pace highlighting the beauty of the originator's composition with such grace and style. On the flipside, this musician performed under a cloud of vibrantly popping with some sweet Stax rhythms and soulful riffs especially during his rendition of American Woman. Then there was a moment when he made the guitar wail tenderly yet mournfully during Dave's cover of Eric Clapton's Can't Find My Way Home - best version SouthSide has heard so far. This reviewer highly recommends catching this instrumental artist, Dave Hiltebrand, at his next scheduled performance. Visit http://www.myspace.com/davehiltebrand for more details about him and his music.
Back downstairs, Apache Stone thrilled the crowded basement lounge with a thundering blast of guitar riffs and energetically popping rock music. Its front man, Michael (of FX's Rescue Me) strutted around the stage flaunting a sexy band image to the adoring screams of fans while pouring some heart and soul into the lyrically poetic words. However, Apache Stone, blogspot readers, was musically flat when it came to generating any crowd interest and/or excitement (unless it was a die-hard fan) as well as vocally flat due to Michael's vocals (in which SouthSide's discounting the fact his voice sounded a bit hoarse from her opinion) ...there wasn't much umph or dynamic power to really have her ears "feeling" the words. Collectively, the entire band (in SouthSide's opinion) was trying to do so much at the same time during Apache's performance which left no room for the music to take center stage even though it did thrill this reviewer with hardcore rhythms and melodies. Though Apache Stone rocked out the stage, the band really didn't rock out its audience. Visit http://www.apachestonemusic or http://www.myspace.com/apachestonemusic for more tour details and more.
Until next time, support your local scene,