Friday, I got a notice on the face machine that Jordan Franz was performing with her full band at Pour House in just a few hours — one of those last-minute concerts that often turn out to be magic.
I’ve heard Franz sing before, the last time being inside the Vortex sculpture outside the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. If you’ve never experienced it, it’s a 67-foot tall by 20-foot wide steel sculpture by Richard Serra that has some trippy acoustics, especially when you stuff it full of hippies beating on drums and Jordan Franz at 3 in the morning.
The chance to hear her perform with a full band was something I couldn’t resist.
When I got to Pour House, Sphynx, from Austin, was playing the last song of the set. I heard enough to know that I’ll be looking for the band to come back to Funkytown. Band members are Cory Dennis, vocal, synths; Aaron Miller, vocals, guitar; and Todd Harris, drums.
Next up, we had Franz and her band, and while they were setting up I spoke with sax player Bryan Batson (of Confusatron fame) and found out he was part of the band Booty Stew, which would be playing last. This was shaping up to be a great night.
Franz is a first class singer/songwriter — the kind of performer you see playing on her own at a coffee house on a really good night. On this night, she was joined onstage by David J. Oliver, drums; Mathew Royal Webb, bass; and Reese Bailey, sax, percussion.
There’s a certain charm and intimacy that comes with her kind of music that rarely survives the transition to a full band. But this was a happy exception. Her singing was charming and spiritual as ever,
and the band’s instrumentals were tight and balanced. The sax provided a nice contrast to organic acoustic guitar sound. Go see them, if you get a chance.
Up next, we had Booty Stew, who promptly dumped bubble machine fluid into the mixer and shorted out what limited PA they did have. Members were in costume (mostly made from aluminum foil and glow lights). This is a somewhat theatrical funk band consisting of Tom Gates, guitar, vocals; Morris Holdahl, guitar, vocals; Brad Watts, keyboard, vocals; Bill Baxter, bass; Jason Roe, drums; John Lovesick, congas, percussion; Matt Miller, trumpet; Kevin Butler, sousaphone; Bryan Batson, sax; and Chanel Smith, vocals.
With only one or two mics working (sort of), the band had to go old school and rely on stage amps, along the inherent loudness of brass instruments and percussion. Backing vocals were shouted by the band and the result was a savage, funky chaos that blew the roof off of the Pour House with nothing more than sheer force of will and some Reynolds Wrap. Everyone seemed to be feeling it and the crowd was on its feet start to finish. The brass players wound up on the dance floor among the crowd, and why not, since the mics weren’t working.