Monday, July 13, 2009

concert review: abigail nolte, niilo smeds & wheels of fortune

it's funny how things happen sometimes. you meet people and stay vaguely connected. i met niilo and brianna smeds at a friend's apartment a while back, and we had rather nice conversation. i wouldn't say we hit it off, and hang out all the time. we have sat at a bar once (maybe twice) since then and had a drink, but that was more random chance than some sort of meet up. anyway, i eventually became facebook friends of them both in time, and so i see their status updates. btw, this sounds extremely creepy as i write this.

anyway, i saw a status update the other day from niilo, about an upcoming show featuring r.c. from el olio wolof and my friend abigail nolte at audie's olympic. the show was only going to be $2, so i figured i would go. at the time, i thought it was that night, which sounded great - something to do, and monticore could go as she was on vacation. a few minutes later i reread the post, and noticed that the show was actually sunday night, which ruled out monticore coming along as she was returning to work today and needed to sleep.

as the weekend went along, my excitement for the show began to lag, and on sunday i noticed that niilo had again updated, and that r.c. had canceled out. that sucks, and it pretty much put me into a spot where i figured i might not go.

then, about 8 i received a text from abigail. she wondered if i had a capo, and if i could bring it to the show. i said i did, and would. i'm glad i did.

abigail started the show off, using my capo on the second song, as well as others. abigail is a great talent, has an awesome voice, and is a good song writer. i've talked about her here before, have enjoyed her rogue shows, and so on. last night she impressed me even more by doing something that is rarely seen: she shut up a crowd of dudes talking at the bar. and she didn't just yell, "stfu!" she stunned them into silence with her voice and songs. and this happened in the first two songs. she even got two guys playing pool to stop playing, sit down, and pay attention. the rest of her set was well done and much appreciated by the crowd. and, she bought me a beer for bringing the capo.

the rest of the show was an interesting mix of stuff. basically, all the guys of wheels of fortune played solo sets, and then the band played a set as a group.

james brittain gore went first. i've seen james play a few times, and he received a lot of local press last year about this time as he was releasing his solo cd. anyway, james has a nice voice, and is an all around talent. he did four songs (i think) that were nice. btw, the drunks started talking again. i guess it pays to be an attractive female with a big voice.

dylan tidyman jones was next. he's played in a ton of local bands, and i know he does solo stuff that i've seen but i can't remember the name he uses for that solo stuff so i can't link to him. anyway, he's got a quirky voice, and had the sound guy and reverb and echo to further trip it out. i enjoyed his set, but his vocals needed to be a little louder, or guitar quieter. wait, i finally tracked down a link, he performs as succulent.

andrew carlos bunnell
is a guy i heard and met last night for the first time. honestly, i'm forgetting his set right now. ah, wait, he did songs that were a nice mix of pace, sort pop-rocky. i don't know if that's a fair assessment or not. after his first song, he said it was a cover of a swedish (?) band and he had translated it from swedish. then he said that wasn't true. pretty funny.

niilo smeds, (read a nice interview w/him from mike oz here) no longer has a myspace account. or at least he deleted the one that he had that i was going to link to. he does however have a ton of talent. i've seen him play solo, and enjoyed the show, and was sorta disappointed he only played one solo song before the whole band joined him. as a band, i don't think i'd seen this group, but maybe i had because the songs had a very familiar feel to them. maybe that was from seeing niilo solo, whatever. it's a good familiar feel, like something you've listened to a dozen times and want to keep listening to. which, if you look @ my itunes and see how often something gets played, there's a lot of 1 or 2 played songs, but only a handful of ones that get more than a dozen. i think wheels of fortune could be one of those bands for me. the band played a nice set and left me wanting to hear more.

so, where does this leave us? well, abigail nolte: see her. in fact, she hosts an open mic on mondays @ starline grill for free. wheels of fortune: see them. see them, along with the sleepover disaster & rademacher @ the post art hop show on august 6 at tokyo garden.

two final notes - i was sitting with malcolm sosa from rademacher @ one point, and he said, "club fred makes him feel old and sad." this cracked me up, and when i pressed him for why he didn't specify. however, he tweeted this which i think sums it up, "Is watching my old heroes play to an uncaring room for a two dollar cover." (you can catch rademacher @ the partisan this saturday with the sleepover disaster & downtown/union.)

later, i was sitting with vince from the sleepover disaster, and we were chilling, enjoying the show. abigail texted us both and said we make an adorable couple. i thanked her, vince texted that i was taken. you can see the sleepover disaster on tuesday night @ audie's olympic with geographer (from san fran).


sleepy v said...

good times. always good to hang out, Ed Stewart, even though you're taken!

Anonymous said...

That is one thorough-ass review. Nice.

blake said...

Nice review!
It was like reading a chapter of a book called "cool nights of Fresno music." All the people you mentioned are extreme talents. Yes, Abigail can definately grab a rooms attention-not only is she beautiful, but with that voice and those songs, she could sing behind a cardboard wall and still grab you.
Keep an eye on Andrew Bunnell--the guy's a multi-faceted performer (like most of these folks you mentioned)--they can write, play, sing --the whole shbang.
Wish I coulda been there.
I'm hoping to get to a couple shows over the next few days or so.
p.s. when he finishes it, check out the theremin playing on a couple of songs on Dylan Jones' new album---oh man, that's some rockin' theremin!