Nedelle Torrisi - This singer takes me back to my youth when you had the British Invasion, a few pop songs, and plenty of lounge and cabaret singers all filling out my listening environment. I am happy that the Rock'n'Roll Hotel brought these fascinating acts tonight to their club. Sure, an old dark and velvety supper club would be more fitting, but this will do tonight, first for this Los Angeles based singer. She actually leaves the violin at home, only occasionally playing a keyboard. She is accompanied by a pianist/organist and a drummer pops in for about four songs. This is light, airy music, yet rich in imagery and quiet drama. The three or four dozen people here made for a cozy environment and they were pulled into the music throughout the 38-minute set. Although the form may be nostalgic for me, the music was fresh and modern and it was welcome to see younger audiences getting into this.
Julia Holter - I also envision a dark slick club for Julia Holter, but she is far too adventurous for a jazz club, and too jazzy and bold for a simple nightclub. It is no surprise at all to learn that she is the daughter of musicians and has studied composition after hearing this set. These are amazing songs in that they are unique and challenging, yet so accessible to anyone with the slightest desire to expand beyond the basics. Holter has a great voice and plays keyboards. She is augmented by saxophone, drums, cello, and violin with musicians that clearly know their craft. Early on, there is a post-Tropicalia feeling that reminds me a bit of Karina Zeviani. I also hear a resemblance to a defunct band, the Sian Alice Group. There are many other post-rock bands out there that may be close, but not many are as exciting as what I heard tonight. They had me tripping in the same way that Spiritualized or Wire will pull me in. That makes me a major fan and I will certainly be back for the next tour through town.
Photo of the Night: I recently discovered that he truly is Dr. John (with Dr. Alain Toussaint and another more recognizable person).