Mykal Allen - One guy with an acoustic guitar and a voice. Agreeable sounding folk music looks to be the order of the day. So what stood out? In the second song, Allen put the capo up about ten frets or so creating a series of notes pretty high on the treble clef. His playing was quite fascinating as it reminded me of the muted sounds that Robert Fripp achieved on the first King Crimson album in the quieter moments. He also had some stinging highs contrasting with this which created a great effect and was different than the basic fingerstyle patterns. His voice was fine and his approach seemed similar to Meic Stevens, although he does not quite hit Stevens' high points and intensity. A Damien Jurado cover was welcome and the originals were good enough with a few being quite good. Fortunately he was coaxed into a longer set which made sense as one act canceled tonight.
Deb Felz Band - This is the third time I have seen the Deb Felz Band and it gets better and better each time. What is really working is that they are a full-fledged band with three people that have played together for a while. Early on, it seemed more like Deb Felz with two nice players helping out when there is a big enough stage. But now, Ms. Felz tells me they are writing more as a band and playing out regularly. She is still the focal point being center stage and handling all lead vocals and a lot of the acoustic guitar. She is flanked with keyboards/backing vocals and percussion/guitar. The new material is interesting as often times it is just Felz on vocals with keyboards leading the way or the percussionist playing a bit of guitar with some nice Spanish-style moves. There are more pop and lounge feelings mixed in with the folk and it all works out quite well. This band has got a nice sound worked out, some really good songs and appears to be flexible enough to play on a lot of different bills. Hopefully their crowds will continue to grow. But you don't have to take my word for it, as they are playing at the Columbia Heights Day Festival if you want to check that out this Saturday.
Quote of the Night: "My name is Deb Felz.... Please hold the applause." achieved as much laughter (as well as the eventual applause) as some of the jokes the band later told. It is always nice to keep it fun at the Velvet Lounge as it is a cozy listening experience.