Red Devil Lounge open mic 09/04/2012 – by Alan Monasch
Oh, them changes…As we entered, we found a beautiful new banquette under the
downstairs window, as the Red Devil renovation continues, and then this word from
KC: “There will be a lottery system at the open mic starting on September 18!” No
details have been released yet (well, one detail: The bar will open earlier!), and
KC asked for input. As always, there were new faces in the crowd and new performers on stage. And there were familiar faces that we have not seen here in a while, much-missed people like Will Georgantas (Thunderegg), Aaron Ford and Johnny Nash.
Highlights before the feature included Patrick McCauley’s set, a rhythmic
philosophical and sociopolitical pair of songs that quieted the crowd, who then
burst into applause and cheers, Tricia Hall’s gorgeous new song, “To The Pacific,”
Scott Alexander’s self-described “non-repetitive pop” which was creative, funny and
engaging (as was his repartee with Peter Chung in the audience) and Mario Di
Sandro’s beautiful dark long drive tune and new fingerpicking style, enhanced by
Salem’s lead-playing. Mick Shaffer, all sartorial splendor, complete with Jerry
Garcia necktie, did two effective songs to good response and Jean Marc Enriquez
teamed soulfully with Ellisa to do the argument song. Then it was Sugar Pony time;
Suzanne Kramer was her usual engaging lead-singer self and Michael McGovern played
particularly well on their two songs, one of which was by Danny Uzilevsky. (Most of
us know that Danny is recovering from an auto accident, and the Sugar Ponies, who
had not heard this news, just happened to be playing one of his songs tonight! Just
as coincidentally, bartender Josh Schiaretti reminded us that half his remarkable
band, Sage, is half of Danny’s remarkable band, Chrome Johnson!) And just before the
feature, Brent Shinn completely nailed his instrumental piece and got the crowd
buzzing about it!
Patrick McCauley (above)
Mario Di Sandro & Salem (above)
Scott Alexander (above)
Trisha Hall (above)
Mick Shaffer (above)
Rob Cox: There is something magical about Rob Cox’s music; his voice is the kind one
can listen to all day and night. Whether it’s a rousing Jackson 5 cover, as was his
first song, or one of his emotion-rich originals (“McKinley” comes quickly to mind),
you just want to hear him and hear more. As a songwriter, Rob has full command of
melody, structure and lyrics, with a sure hand and a questing heart. As a performer,
he smoothly controls his voice and his guitar to give songs their best presentation.
“Solidity,” someone in the crowd called it, and it certainly is that, but it’s
fluidity, too, and openness. Rob was open to collaborating with others; Ryan Clark
distinguished himself with his deft, sensitive rhythmic stylings on cajon and Peter
Chung contributed melodically on guitar and particularly well-executed background
vocals, and Rob thanked them frequently for their good work.
Rob Cox (above)
Rob is a genuinely likable man who makes exceedingly good music to which people
respond, and the Red Devil crowd loved having him to respond to on Tuesday night.
After the break, we were treated to the frenetic, infectious punk energy of the
newly-shorn Johnny Lawrie, who gains fans weekly. There was another fine outing on
steel-string acoustic, two really nice songs, by Salem, and Maddy’s folk-inspired
tunes in her strong, clear voice. Then Mark with a good cover and an
original tune on electric guitar, and the last performer I heard before I left to
catch the last train, Julie Mayhew, who celebrated a year since she began performing
by playing both her original songs (one of her goals from the beginning) and doing
them well, giving us particularly strong choruses on her second, newer tune, and
showing herself and us how far she has come.
Johnny Lawrie (above)
And we have come far, too, as we do every open mic night…Next week is the second
anniversary of the Red Devil Open Mic, with more of them changes: We will go until
1:30 AM. the featured set, by the wonderful and popular Jasmine Pritchard, will
start at 10:00 PM (I have the honor of accompanying Jasmine on some tunes), and
there will be three dollar beer all night. I hope you’ll be there!