by Brad Roberts
This won't be so much of a review, as I've reviewed most of these bands many times, as it is a photo journal. I'm having a lot of fun with a camera. Torches are seen at right.
What a show this was. Knowing there were five acts performing, and as a host, I made sure to be there at 8 to see Ceeca (below) open the show. The Venice singer/songwriter had a nice gathering of friends who came out to support her. As a pianist/singer, she displays some of her obvious influences like Carole King and Joni Mitchell and not so obvious ones like Laura Nyro in the reflective and personal nature of her lyrics. Her voice is a well trained instrument and shows great range from quietly conversational to peeling like a bell. Nice opening.
By this time a few more familiar faces began filing The Central and Fort King took their turn. Since Rob Danson was out of town and not able to join them, they were down to a band of three for this show. Though he confessed to me he was operating on only one hour of sleep, Ryan Fuller turned in a performance I've rarely seen him match. His sly and witty lyrics sat on top of an incredible chamber music trio that accented the classical influence that makes his American folk music take on a different complexion.
The combination of Jef Hogan on Upright Bass and Kaitlin Wolfberg on violin seem like the most perfect fit with Ryan on guitar. Though I missed the new addition of Rob Danson's guitar and vocals, the trio really commanded the room. The quality of Ryan's music draws people in. It's honest, touching, humorous and just plain beautiful. Familiar songs like "To The Moon", "Everything Falls Apart" and "Black Palm" took on a freshness with new orchestrations that made them even better than ever.
Torches provided more evidence why they are the hot band of the moment. This was their fourth show in one week (and the third I'd attended) and they showed no sign of fatigue, in fact each performance was top notch. The sound balance was perfect and they have put together a terrific mix of their best songs that makes their set go by in a flash. Kaitlin Wolfberg joined then with her violin for a couple of songs, including the title track from their new album, Heads Full Of Rust, and benefited from us actually being able to hear her, unlike at The Troubadour earlier in the week.
They take off on a whirlwind tour of the Northwest this week and we wish them well. Azad Cheikosman is going to do a tour diary for us.
The headliners were Radar To The Sky and they played a set with such energy and pizazz it felt like they were a whole new band. Andrew Spitzer owned the stage as he ripped through familiar hits and the whole band played with a raucous urgency and even coaxed Kate Spitzer back to the stage to sing on some songs. At this point in the evening the crowd had swelled to pack the place and it was most gratifying. And the band gave the audience just what it wanted.
The Hectors closed the evening with a set that was so impressive, that they had to come back and play an encore even. Corinne Dinner was in great voice and her wry singing style sat on top of the sparkling indie rock they play. When they finished the crowd wanted more and by the time I left the night looked like it was nowhere near done.