Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Courtesans - Red Sammy -- Velvet Lounge - Feb 11 2011

Red Sammy - From Baltimore, comes this interesting folk singer/songwriter (Adam Trice). He has a full band with him which is nice. In addition to acoustic guitar/vocals, there is a dobro, drums, bass or saw and electric guitar on most songs. I have enjoyed this folk-blues style when I have heard it on recordings, but it is even more fun live--especially with a full band. The band really locks down in strong repetitive, gutsy folk-rock playing. The slide moves by the dobro player are excellent and the lead guitarist gets some intriguing tones as well. Everyone moves the music forward and I was really feeling the music at a deep level tonight. His vocals are raspy and in the direction of Mike Ness after a 90 minute Social Distortion set. He can deliver the lyrics, many of which are about his native Baltimore. Graveyard Country Rock is what they call it? Yeah, that is a good quick and dirty way of describing this quick and dirty roots music. Good high quality 45-minute set in front of 15-25 people who were nice enough to interrupt their loud conversations with applause between the songs.
photo by J. Nussbaum

The Courtesans - This my second time seeing this local power trio, and their first with a new drummer. I think I liked their previous set (and I want to treat this set on its own merits, so I won't look...ok, I'm too lazy actually). They seemed even louder and more rocking this time around. They have a formula of 7 1/2 oz. power pop, 7 1/2 oz. garage rock and 1 oz. of garage soul, but maybe they didn't level off the garage rock tonight. The crowd swelled to 25-30 people and were enjoying it. It was loud and the vocals were a bit harsh early, spending too much time in the red. The soundman picked up on that and things improved in the second half. This band is not quite there in terms of commanding attention for a full set, but with a little work on the vocals during their songwriting, they can be really good. But they are certainly good enough now for an entertaining set, which they delivered tonight.

Quote of the night: Nice joke from the Courtesans guitarist:
"Anybody like Slayer?"
"Me, too."

No comments: