Even after spending the afternoon at the Anniversary of the Rock ’n Roll Rummage sale at Lola’s, I still had a substantial need for a live music fix. In an afternoon benefit for No Kill Fort Worth (a no-kill animal advocacy group), we got to hear Tim Platt, The Hentai Improvising Orchestra, Blake Parish and Kris Luther (of the Hanna Barbarians), and even the Dangits. But there was still something missing. That something was Son of Stan.
Son of Stan is the solo project of Fort Worth native Jordan Richardson. Jordan now lives in Los Angeles, and spent a good amount of time playing drums for Ben Harper and Ringo Starr.
But with Son of Stan, Jordan is playing his own music (solo on his CD), and the offering is sort of a modern take on ’80s pop/rock. I’d ingested some of his stuff online, but I felt compelled to see just how well he could present it live. Since this was the last show of the tour, it was now or never. I wasn’t disappointed.
On stage we had Jordan on guitar and vocals, and L.A. drummer Dan Marcellus behind the kit and running the laptop that would provide the sequenced sounds. Later in the show, we got a visit from Fort Worth’s Jeff Dazey, who blew sax for one song, and on the last song of the night, Ronnie Heart stepped up to add a second guitar.
Anyone who has followed Richardson’s career knows the man is multi-talented. While he’s earned some fame as a drummer, he filled in several sonic spaces in the Fort Worth super-group Epic Ruins. He’s a world-class drummer for sure, but he seems equally comfortable playing guitar and belting out powerful vocals.
The stage seemed almost empty through most of the set, with just Richardson in his Kevin Aldridge T-shirt and a guitar, and Marcellus sitting at the back of the stage. I’ve seen Epic Ruins crammed on this stage with at least eight people up there (including Richardson), and hearing that much sound coming from two people was almost as surreal as the lasers and theatrics of Epic Ruins. While the music on the CD has more of a vintage synthesizer component to it, the live performance was somewhat more emotive and edgy. The guitar and effects-laden vocals carried more of the heavy lifting, but without changing the overall DNA of the music.
The first song seemed almost like an endless intro – vocals and guitar building towards a crescendo that never seemed to materialize. It seemed a bit off, until I looked at the crowd forming in front of the stage. The energy in the room was building with every verse. It was brilliant.
The tension broke in the next song, and for a Sunday night, I have never seen the floor at Lola’s packed this dense. People were dancing, and the lasers were drawing interesting patterns above them in the fog from the smoke machine. Eight-piece or duo, Richardson knows how to work a crowd.
The CD is called Divorce Pop, and although I’ve only heard a couple of tracks, it has promise. The tunes have an ’80s pop nostalgic feel to them – the stuff you would hear in a TV or movie soundtrack, except somehow more creative, evolved, and less cheesy.