Busker Sound Check
Review and photos by Andy ArgyrakisThere's no better time than the holidays to exercise gestures of giving, sharing and caring and it was under this premise that several local musicians congregated shortly before Christmas with the Rock For Kids charity as its benefactor. The non-profit organization provides support and assistance to young people who are homeless or less fortunate, but besides awareness of this worthwhile cause, there was plenty of jamming throughout the multi-artist marathon.
For well over three hours, this Downtown Melissa Brown Production kept the tunes flowing, sometimes yuletide in theme, other moments with familiar but non-holiday covers and occasionally with an original song. Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Jim Peterik's set fell into a couple of those categories, starting with "Santa's Vehicle" (a clever reworking of his Ides of March hit "Vehicle") complete with violin accompaniment by blues man Ruby Harris. He later strayed from the snow mode entirely to provide a rollicking return to time spent in Survivor for the classic cut "Eye of the Tiger," complete with a detailed guitar solo and several bellows from the crowd. Fellow melodic rocker Chip Z'Nuff (of E'nuff Z'Nuff fame) was also one of the marquee guests, offering up an incredibly accurate rendition of David Bowie's "Jean Genie" to an equally enjoyed reception.
As a testament to the evening's variety and spontaneity, lounge crooner Jimmy Damon (credited as "the only singer authorized by Frank Sinatra to sing his songs during his lifetime") brought some Barry Manilow into the picture playfully, teasing with a round of "Copacabana." It was certainly the guilty pleasure moment of the show, though the mood shifted yet again for the timeless John Lennon staple "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." That track was amongst the many which took advantage of collaborative talents, pitting Carma Productions' Lou Carlozo (guitar) and David Bowling (vocals) with Sonia Dada's Larry Beers (drums) and newcomer Lady Smith (background vocals).
Such a reflective sentiment carried over into an inspirational poetry reading by the city's own Shay Jones, who paid tribute to the troops serving over seas, while reminding all the real reason for the season. Aside from segments that were spoken word, the vocal diva (who contributed to many Ministry tracks in its pre-hardcore incarnation) belted out her message with radiance and warmth. Though the list of players went well into the night (including members of Busker Soundcheck and Gidget's Ga Ga) followed by an after party at The Wonder Bar, that sobering moment tied back into the engagement's theme of remembering those under strife. And thankfully the entertainment provided a catalyst for concertgoers' generosity, resulting in countless toy and financial donations to be distributed amongst the appropriate recipients around town.
Melissa Brown & Chip Z'Nuff
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