NQC 06: Afternoon Showcase
The only afternoon showcase I managed to catch was an hour with several B-list artists who didn’t make the mainstage cut (though I did glimpse a very overtanned Dino and his very overtanned Wife with Anthony Burger’s widow and step-daughter playing the commemorative Steinway in the Exhibit Lobby and leading a singalong with about a 100 people). Some quick thoughts on a few of the artists I heard:
Paid In Full: some tight and exciting ensemble work hobbled by overamped tracks (a problem that just got worse as the hour wore on), a sloppy house mix on the vocals, and even sloppier endings – the tenor, whose voice is really textured with some nice colorized tones absent in most sg tenor singers, ended both the songs the group sang way before the rest of the ensemble. I’d like to see more of the group live, get a sense of their stage presence and if their material can sustain a live audience on a large scale (“What the Storm Doesn’t Know” sells well live, and the group’s lead (Littlejohn, I think) had some really nice lower tones). From what I know of them so far (which is very little really) it’s hard to tell what’s up with them. They have the look and the appeal on stage and their latest project is well sung, but it also suffers from mediocre material and arrangements.
The Ruppes: Their latest alto is nowhere near Kim Ruppe Lord’s caliber, but the Ruppes blew everyone else out of the room. “I’m Gonna Make It” contained so many spectacular little moments – passing tones and vocal fills and other subtle ornaments and grace notes – it was thrilling to hear, as per usual when the Ruppes are around. Though honestly, I couldn’t count all the different shades of red and blonde in Brenda Ruppes hair.
LeFevre Quartet: a big disappointment, and not just because the lead singer made some really dumb crack directed at “any Muslims who might be in the room” (a feat of impercipience and blockheadedness which of course emcee Andrew Ishee seemed to feel compelled to try to top when introducing the Jody Brown Indian Family, saying that we need not “fear these Indians. They’re nice Indians and they won’t come after your scalp or anything” … yes, he actually said that). The sound was pitchy at all levels, and the material was insubstantial.
Crystal River: a young quartet that opened with a kind of hiphopified “Higher Ground,” which was courageous and inventive. Their short set was also pitchy and they seemed to be oversinging, but I suspect some of their issues might line out if they had more room to stretch and settle in to a groove.Email this Post