Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Review: Roxy Jones & Sarah Hanson @ Beauty Bar, 12/11/06

Last night was the final Poprocks! at the Beauty Bar. Tim Pyles will be heading to the Casbah come January and doing (mostly) Monday nights there. It was a good run, some nights more busy than some, but always fun. Tim was always good about giving bands a fair shake at playing there, even if they didn't necessarily appeal to him personally, which to me is huge for any promoter.

I almost cheesed out and skipped it altogether, but since I had to get catfood at the store anyway, I decided it was worth getting my ass outta the house for a free show first.

As I arrived, Sara Hanson was already on the stage. Alternating between an acoustic guitar and an electric one and accompanied by a drummer, what stood out most right off the bat was Sara's beatiful voice. I would've kinda liked to hear her do a Mindy Smith cover, just for comparison, because I believe her range would allow her to come close if not hit a match. Her songs were mostly originals and the small crowd that was there was attentive. She also played slowed down chill versions of "Stayin Alive" and "Folsom Prison" that were unique takes on both songs. I think as Sara develops, fronting a full band would serve her better than being the (almost) solo chick with the guitar so as to support her rich voice (maybe some mandolin in there) while avoiding the Jewel stigma left on pretty much any chick with a guitar hailing from San Diego.

Roxy Jones was up next. I reviewed them here a while back. Peter had read that blog and e-mailed me, thanking me for the constructive criticism. I've said I'm not here to slam anybody because I know everyone has their own range of what they like and what they don't, so maybe something that isn't for me might be the music that you relate to the most. That's all I'm sayin. I'm just one person.

That said, I enjoyed Roxy Jones this time around much more than last time. There are still the quiet moments that transition to some screaming, but the vocals felt slightly more controlled this time. Since Darren was the drummer for both performances, they seemed more comfortable onstage and engaged in some funny banter with Rodney (on sound) and Tim Pyles. When they went past 11pm, Peter assured us that he had several more "stellar" songs to play and played a few more. The vocals can still use some tightening up, they feel loose at times and he loses pitch, but it seems to me that if they've improved since the last time I saw them, they can only continue to get better. Most important, they appear to be having a good time onstage never taking themselves too seriously. At one point Peter asked the crowd, "are there people in there?" referring to the people sitting at the bar missing the show, to which he followed up by raising his voice in the mic, "I hope those drinks are good!" in the most sarcastic voice one can imagine.

I introduced myself after the set and Peter gave me a CD which I've not had the chance to sample yet but will when I catch a free second at home. I will definitely miss Poprocks...it was a guaranteed free thing to do on Mondays, and the only night I could count on going to the Beauty Bar for bands without getting tackled on the way to the bar, since the only other nights they really host bands are on Fridays and Saturdays. I expect my visits to the bar will drastically reduce without this night...in direct proportion to the increase in my visits to the Casbah. Such is the scene changing. I believe it can only get better.

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