Mia Dyson - I always give just a little bit extra respect for the musicians that come a long, long way to ply their trade. Although Mia Dyson has previously made her way to this continent, this is the first Virgina showing for the native of Torquay, Victoria, Australia. She is a veteran guitarist and probably has been playing since very young ages since her father not only plays blues guitar, but builds them as well. Her style definitely includes some blues, especially when she adds a bottle neck to her quality electric playing. She adds the requisite singer songwriter skills to her quality playing and these songs are quite lively. This is a very sharp band here as well, with a powerful rhythm section that adds that extra push that you can feel in your body as you get into the songs. The keyboardist was also pivotal with his flashy organ runs with that rich leslie sound. There is good intensity throughout this breezy 33 minute set, and not even the jet lag that affected her voice hurt her vocals enough to matter. This was a fine set fully appreciated by the big crowd.
Taylor Carson - It seems that lately, every time I come out to a weekend Iota show it is a packed house. While the club is a nice place to see a show, it also shows they are booking some quality talent from around the world and not ignoring the fine homegrown talent like Taylor Carson. He has been around a while and has no doubt pulled in a lot of people that have seen him before. But it is my first time and I am quite impressed with his effort tonight. He sings and plays acoustic guitar and has a full band with electric guitar, bass, drums, and organ. The band is a little more understated than previously, aside from the tasty electric leads and interesting patterns. They are a highly proficient bunch with nary a misplaced note or accent. The music is homespun Americana styled folk rock to some extent, but it pretty balanced and moves a bit in the direction of each song. And although some of it blended a bit too much into so much of what I have heard before, there was the occasional song that was actually quite brilliant. And one song sounded like it should be one for the top of the charts (didn't catch the title, but it was one he described someone as asking him 'you really wrote that?'). My schedule has been wearing me out (6 nights in a row, not sure when I get my next night off), so I left after an hour, but they were still going strong and cooking up some great music for the crowd, who was fully into the vibe created tonight.
Quote of the Night: from Taylor Carson... "Why can't we have a band name instead of saying my name over and over again... It's Starbucks. It's weird."