Friday, March 13, 2009

Jon Rae's Lucky Pinecones III

Tucked into a cozy, wood-paneled attic the cross-legged crowd sat attentively as Lucky Fonz III began to play. A solo Dutch artist, he sang simple, though well-crafted, songs through a slight accent over the strumming of his acoustic guitar. He broke out the Wurlitzer electronic organ a couple times too. Between tunes, as he fumbled with his set list trying to pick the perfect song, he chatted with the crowd in the very intimate setting. This became tense at times due to Lucky's blunt nature, but provided hilarity as well. For instance, when he asked for crowd participation and received a yelp from the audience he jokingly accused us of being hipsters- too indifferent to participate. In the end he did get us to whistle along, which sounded very lovely in the small space, as did the whole set.

Overflowing from the cubby-space were Brent Randall and his moustache, er, Pinecones. As he manned the keys of his 4 out of 10 (his rating) keyboard, Brent sang lead on songs that leaned toward indie folk pop rock (whatever that means, there was a deal of variation). Along with the charismatic guitarist they ran through a couple call & response-esque tunes, including a couple nifty guitar solos. By now the room was beyond capacity and overflowing onto the stairs, even with everyone standing (and many leaning due to the sloped ceilings.) The stoic bass player obscured my view of the therefore descriptionless drummer. Altogether though, they effectively brought up the energy of the room in anticipation of Jon Rae Fletcher.

Along with a few band members (no sign of album-artist Kathryn Calder) Jon Rae debuted some songs from his recent River-less release - Oh Maria. The title-namesake track was especially enjoyable, as Jon impressed all with his son-of-a-preacher-man voice. Though I expected things to be slightly more subdued without the River backing him, there was still plenty of gusto in the new material; including hints of gospel, blues and folk. In his shirt and tie (he'd removed those hallmark glasses) he commanded attention and received it from the throng of people crammed in the attic to see him. Nearing the end of the set the soundman added some lap steel to the mix on a couple tracks. Despite already promising an encore, Jon played his final song and during the aforementioned encore his band left him to carry on his own- first with a guitar and during the final tune he simply crooned while we nearly clapped the roof down (literally). It was a brilliant and uplifting performance to cap an excellent (and my first official) house show.

I may never attend a main floor concert again!

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