I’m addicted to the open jam/song swap kind of event that bars like Lola’s often use to fill their less-busy nights. When you get a group of talented musicians away from their regular bands and just let them play whatever comes to mind, anything can happen. Some of the very best live music experiences I’ve had occurred at these shows. So when Lola’s owner Brian Forella gave Jeff Dazey the keys to the bar and told him to do a weekly free show at Lola’s, I had to check it out.
Funkytown was still a ghost town Monday night; we were on the tail end of the Icepocalypse, and smarter drivers than myself were keeping off the streets. In the main room at Lola’s was a decent-size crowd enjoying the music and watching Sarah Ayala and Jay Wilkinson work on paintings on the deck near the sound booth. The live-art experience is something Dazey wanted, and although this night there were only two painters, Dazey said he has had as many as seven show up.
On stage were Katie Robertson (keyboards, vocals) and Kenny Uptain (guitar, vocals) of Foxtrot Uniform; Buffalo Sam Anderson (guitar, vocals), Matt Mabe (percussion) and Dave Matsler (guitar, vocals) of Quaker City Night Hawks; and Kris Luther (guitar) of the Hanna Barbarians. Rounding things out was Lost Child, an incredibly talented young singer-songwriter we told you about last year around this time. Dazey says this is going to be more or less the house band from here on out for his Monday-night shows. He even jumps in on sax now and then.
When I came in, they were doing Something by the Beatles, and we got a good mix of covers and originals throughout the night. Matsler did a nice version of After Midnight by JJ Cale and covered Day of the Locusts by Bob Dylan, Anderson did a great cover of My Starter Won’t Start This Morning by Lightnin’ Hopkins and covered Twilight by the Band, and Robertson killed it with a powerful version of Do Right Woman, Do Right Man by Aretha Franklin and Lovin’ Arms by the Wood Brothers.
Kenny Uptain was great as always. I first saw Robertson at a jam like this at the dearly departed Moon bar back in 2009. She sings in a really high register, and the way she can put so much power and soul into such a high pitch has always impressed me. Her vocals and piano playing have done nothing but improve since; you owe it to yourself to see this woman perform.
The band finished up with an original tune by Lost Child at around midnight. Dazey still had a DJ or two scheduled to play, but the roads weren’t getting any better, so I decided discretion is the better part of valor. This will be a regular event, so be sure to check it out. What else do you have planned for Monday anyway?