Hair Down and Steady Betty February 22, 2013   Leave a comment

I almost did not make it to this show. With Steady Betty set to go on at 11:30, and having to work at 9 the next morning, the numbers were against me. Knowing the sheer talent in the band, and that they would play a style of music that is out of my comfort zone, left me conflicted. Joe Adler and Samara Lark were on before them, so that was a plus. I almost faded, after a long day at work, but pulled off a last minute rally and headed to Radio Bean.

I got there just as Hair Down down was getting set to play. With my hair was already down, I got a beer, then Joe Adler and Samara Lark started up. He played a plugged in acoustic and both sang. They caught a nice groove right off and sounded great. They played a bunch of covers, including a joyous Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. At one point Samara whistled along and was pitch perfect. They played an elegant version of Atlantic City. An acoustic treatment to ’80’s pop song Sweet Dreams was very cool, and Samara drove home the vocal. They did a very casual Burning Down the House with a fun jazz/blues ending. Hungry like the Wolf started relaxed, but soared when it hit the chorus. How can you not let loose when it’s playing?

While the covers were fun, it was Joe’s songs that stole the show. One song about twirling was pretty fun. The song about the wicked witch of the west is one I need to get to know. The closer, with the tag line let’s relax for a while, was a beautiful way to wrap up their set.

During the break, I chatted a bit with Jeff and Matt from Vedora, and with Johnnie Day Durand from Wee Folkestra. It’s so great when fellow band mates show up for support!

On time, or close to it, Steady Betty, if that is their name, took the stage. Their rocksteady music was a bit slow for my taste, but the playing was so precise and the vocals so large, that I really enjoyed them. Miriam Bernardo and Kat Wright handled most of the vocals, but at times Linda Bassick and Caroline O’Connor chimed in, and their combined voice filled the room. Caroline, on bass, seemed completely locked in with Sara Grace on drums. Linda kept the rhythm on guitar and Christine Mathias was precise on sax all night long. The Caribbean music was light and fun, contrasting with the poignant lyrics about justice.

The crowd mostly filled Radio Bean and Betty had us dancing for the whole set. I was pretty tired from the beginning, but stood as long as I could. At one point my beer was empty. I looked at the clock and it was 12:35, and I knew I had to go. I slipped out the Duino! (Duende) door, and took the slow walk home. I could hear them play for about a block or so, then it just faded away. I probably shouldn’t have gone out, but I’m so glad I did.

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