Thursday, November 24, 2011

Watermelon - Ramzy & the Brothers Handsome - Rich Mahogany -- Velvet Lounge - Nov 23 2011

Rich Mahogany - We have a four-piece (V/G/B/D) that appears to be local (and not the Irish band of the same name I found on line). The sound is pretty much funk-rock. The vocals are quite good and the music is solid with the expected rhythms. Very likable sounds, but a bit samey after a while. The instruments have a bit of an 'under glass' type sound as well. The pre-Holiday crowd is enjoying it and it is a sizable crowd tonight--so good to see that at this club lately. Oh, they tell us that this is their first show, ever. Well, my criticisms are certainly minor compared to their overall readiness to hit the stage for the first time. Nice set, guys, even the Ween cover went well.

Watermelon - The 'headliner' from New York is up next and has the same instrumentation, although there are male and female vocalists up front. They are locally born and bred for the most part and play here often, although this is the first time I've taken in their set. And it is also in the funk/R&B vein. There are some changes here from what I first heard tonight. First, the twin vocals work extremely well as often is the case. The female lead is the better up-front vocal with great power and control. The male voice is softer but harmonizes well, creating a really rich sound. The instrumentation breathes a bit more and the sounds are livelier. They avoid the trappings of the genre, by branching out a bit into a blues rocker, "Whipping Post"  (with a guest guitarist I think--I was way in the back and didn't see the full stage). They also did a cool cover of Led Zeppelin's "What is and What Should Never Be". This is an interesting band that is worth a listen. But if your feet want to move then don't think to hard, just check out their set.

Ramzy & the Brothers Handsome - The R&B theme continues on into the latter hours as this trio hits the stage. A keyboard/vocalist fronts this rhythm section with the bass player adding some vocals. The crowd tapered off a bit and some of the 'TSOL crowd' had left (not the violent kind, but had that enthusiasm and look if you follow my obscure reference). Still, it was a good enthusiastic crowd and this trio had a good powerful driving base to dance from. I was a little mixed with the keyboard approach. At times it sounded too much like Steely Dan for my liking. This is just a personal thing as I absolutely despise Steely Dan aside from a couple of songs. There were other songs in this set that did not distract me into those thoughts, so that was helpful as the keyboards were used to create varied sounds. It was also a bit late and with my insomnia and busy day ahead, I called it a night--a good night for that matter.

Quote of the Day: Happy holidays! Now off to get my jambalaya started.

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