Sometimes ...in this business, you have to meet the good, the bad and the okay when reviewing bands, blogspot readers. You also have to put friendships aside and treat your band friends as a band and not as your friends performing on stage. On such a night, it happened to SouthSide. After basking in the hazy afternoon sun at North Coast Music Festival, she headed to Elbo Room to review local band Hazel and The Grimms. Well, blogspot readers, this reviewer liked the band name but not the band performance on several different levels. In all honesty, she does see them having the potential of making an impact on the local music scene if they only change the following two things:
1. Practice, practice, practice
For example, Jackyln aka "Hazel" had this rusty dynamic soulful voice almost likened to the late great rocker - Janis Joplin who's voice made you feel that acid rawness of a human soul in songs like Me and Bobby McGee and Piece of My Heart. It was nice that Jackyln tried to bring a little of Janis into her songs however she was mostly overshadowed by her own band because of mainly the different guitar styles clashing against her especially when she's doing dual duties - vocals and guitar. When she wasn't on the guitar, "Hazel" turns into a dynamic and powerful vocalist to which SouthSide could clearly hear how dynamic and powerful her voice can as she added more heartfelt emotions into the lyrics without trying to sound like Janis on stage. When performing the Aretha Franklin classic Chain of Fools, it totally fell apart for this reviewer, blogspot readers, because she missed a golden opportunity to show off her vocal abilities. Why? There was too much Janis in Jackyln's voice to have that Motown soul and sound to emotionally belt out the lyrics ...not like Aretha but close enough to make her own song. No, instead, it sounded more like she was struggling to force the soul side out of her voice while amidst the band's dirty rock style chosen to cover this R&B rendition.
SouthSide's advice to Hazel and The Grimms - need to find what genre of rock do you want your band to be known for and under which vocal style does it compliment. She technically may not be a full fledged musician but she has enough experience as a vocalist to know that the two (music and voice) should meet somewhere in the middle and balance as well as compliment each other. A gritty Southern rock sound doesn't really compliment an acid Janis Joplin-sounding voice and vice versa. It's cool to pay homage to the legendary singer/songwriter however Jacklyn needs to find her own vocal range so it doesn't sound like Janis all of the time in every song. Plus not all songs especially classic Motown/R&B work well with a dirty Southern rock sound-Janis voice. Now, had the band chosen something like a Kid Rock tune or even Lynyrd Skynyrd or Janis Joplin classic, then their one cover song of the night could have worked well within the set list as well as enhanced their chosen genre style thus attracting more fans towards them.
2. Tighten the stage performance
SouthSide advises Hazel and The Grimms to do the following - be ready to start your set on time and know which songs you're going to perform and practice them as well as do a final practice set to see what your live performance would be before your next scheduled performance. Also engage your audience more ...interact with them ...make them feel this is the most awesome show they have ever attended without having to work too hard and being so obvious. The goal is gaining new fans. So add a little more showmanship to your set but make it fun. Make it seem you're having the best time of your life on stage while hoping everyone (besides your already established fans) are feeling the same too. A band only has 45 minutes to make a good impression on its audience ...even if there's a reviewer in the audience or not.
SouthSide is fully aware there are fans for every band like Hazel and The Grimms. Yet one thing is for certain, at this time, their music style and genre is not her to her liking. But this doesn't mean she won't review them again. With some improvements and more practice, this reviewer could one day become a fan of theirs, blogspot readers.
For more information about Hazel and The Grimms, visit http://www.reverbnation.com/hazelandthegrimms.
Until next time, support your local scene,