Deb Felz and Friends - or Deb Felz and the Big Tomato as two of the three band members wanted to call themselves tonight. Anyway, it is the same trio I have seen before with Ms. Felz singing and strumming the acoustic accompanied by a piano and hand hit percussion box. The sound was on the money tonight with everything in balance which was easy to tell for about a half a song as only Ace Elijah, myself and three other people were there. However another five friends whirled into the room and acted like the Beatles had arrived at Shea Stadium. Now normally, if a group like this was surrounding me at a sold-out 9:30 Club show, I would do my George Sanders impersonation from his role in "All About Eve". But with such a small crowd, the enthusiasm, alcohol-laced as it may be, was actually quite amusing. Otherwise this was just a quiet rehearsal. And the band passed the concentration test as it had to have been a challenge for them playing their quality emotion-laden folk songs with the equivalent of cheering metal-heads shouting out their support. I chatted with them afterward and they mentioned lots of flubs, and a couple I noticed, but mostly the spirit was there and the quality of the players was evident. This is a nice little group that I hope a few more people will check out some time.
Ace Elijah - We have the ubiquitous folksinger with acoustic guitar quickly up next. It is always interesting to see what new things I can pick out of a classic style. Well, there were some very different sounds tonight. Elijah plays finger style, but in more of a strumming style with a couple of things going on with his right hand. He plays some interesting chords and the songs are toward the complex side of things. There is some originality here. His voice is a very rich strong presence throughout. I struggled to place a comparison, which is more common for me in folk than it is in rock. I was leaning to a sound like someone in between Bobby Darin and Fred Neil, perhaps. It just did not sound like the 1960s and there was a lounge jazz feel much of the time. He provided a good clue with a cover song written in the 1930s or 40s. He was coaxed into a few more songs by the few remaining in the crowd and ended on a high note. At least there were a few people here to hear his trees falling in the forest and it was a lovely melody indeed.
Quote of the Night: From Ace Elijah early "I'm going on last, but I am really the opener as Deb got the gig." Simple enough, but it allows me to touch on something I have mentioned before. I never get tired of seeing the amount of friendship and cooperation between bands in almost every genre and size of club these days. There was so much competition and even nasty tricks evident in the scene when I was young. I still hear some of my older friends ask or tell about someone being "blown off the stage" which is something that really does not come up much(it may happen, but it is not as much a competitive goal for a band as it was then). So a quiet night tonight, but very positive nonetheless.