June 29, 2013

Scorpios featuring Joey Cape & Jon Snodgrass @ Velvet Jones ~ June 28, 2013

photo by vintage iPhone

To All My Friends

Any opportunity to spend time with Santa Barbara rock stars in a small intimate venue is one I jump upon. Although the artists in this lineup are too humble to consider themselves “stars.”
Joey Cape is the frontman for local punk sensation Lagwagon, as well as Bad Astronaut, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.  Jon Snodgrass is the singer from Drag the River, the southern rock band out of Colorado. Together with Brian Wahlstrom, they form the acoustic act Scorpios, performing in small intimate venues nationwide to create memorable moments between fans and local musicians.
The Scorpios “To All My Friends” tour is dedicated to Tony Sly, the singer from No Use For A Name, and former bandmate to Cape, who passed away a year ago. There’s a lot of Santa Barbara history here. And a lot of local love. The guys played acoustic solo sets, and then played some songs together, trading off instruments. And true to their promise, they intermittently pulled up local rock artists to perform alongside them. All the while, Cape bantered with his friends in the crowd and harassed them as they played on stage.
photo by vintage iPhone
There was a small crowd at Velvet, which made the event that much more special. It’s always somewhat hard to write a review about a show when you are there to experience the moment. And a moment was definitely shared between friends. 

June 15, 2013

Grant Lee Phillips ~ June 14 @ SOhO

photo by p.dunkley

Soul with a Side of Stillness

Quiet, intimate, and early. It’s shows like this I really wish more people would attend, but at the same time I am really glad they don’t. It’s quite the conundrum.

Performing an acoustic set early on a Friday night, during happy hour and before the night revelry begins, Grant Lee Philips was able to be open, raw, and vulnerable in front of a small intimate gathering of fans. And funny – he was so extremely funny. He could probably be successful at stand up as well. But I digress…

The former front-man for Grant Lee Buffalo, Grant Lee Phillips, has evolved into quite the musing solo singer songwriter. His recent solo album, Walking in the Green Corn, is a recording of Phillips’ own journey into his native American heritage and contemplation of man’s tribulations. The music is reflective of all that is right and all that is wrong with life – at the same time, in the same song. His lyrics really call you out, while his sullen guitar sets the tone with a country edge and a hint of gentleness. Songs like “Mona Lisa,” Vanishing Song,” and “Fools Gold” compel you to delve into your own dark places while exploring his.

This was a quiet performance in a dark room with somber reflective songs and an attentive audience. One guy yelled out, “Play something dark!” To which Phillips joked that all his music was dark.  But I thought his music was soulful with just a hint of stillness.

For more on Grant Lee Phillips, go to http://www.grantleephillips.com/site/index.html