pjhstudios blog

Show #15 – Jazz Quartet at Fort Worth Library

Aug
16

Halfway through a concert a day, and Fort Worth Library’s Third Thursday Jazz concert series had the largest crowd. Easily 200, 250 plus people sat in the grand atrium, at times standing cramped against back walls. I expected a couple dozen people chilling while the standard piano, sax, bass and drum players went through jazz staples. Oh, no.

This was an event. With cookies.

The musicians enthusiastically played Duke Ellington, Herbie Hankock, Miles Davis. The drum and bass solo received shouts of “yeah!” and a swell of applause. People in Fort Worth appreciate their jazz.

In front of me sat a WWII veteran in a wheelchair. He bopped along to the rhythm of the music, and at one point yelled, “The Duke!”

photo (14)

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Show #14 – Jason Elmore at Mambo’s Cantina

Aug
14

Mambo’s Cantina is an odd little bar. Tucked away on Houston Street at the bottom of a hotel, you’d miss it walking by. Inside, the blood red walls and sparse lighting create a macabre vibe. If you’re hungry, they serve Mexican food. The jazz lounge feel and south of the border cuisine make a unique combo with a Texas blues singer songwriter on stage.

Jason Elmore played for a light but growing crowd, earning catcalls from the ladies and approving nods from the gentlemen in the room. His finger ran up and down the fretboard strumming traditional blues chords and rhythms.

My favorite line of the evening, “I asked for water/she brought me gasoline”.

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Show #13 – Leftover Cuties at Live Oak

Aug
14

It felt like 1943 at a USO dance. Jazzy, swing band, led by a velvet voiced songstress made contemporary with a ukulele and had claps. The Leftover Cuties played old time style ballads and uptempo songs. The songs were fun and warm and made you want to go buy war bonds and plant a victory garden.

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Show #12 JJ & The Lobsterdogs and Kilane at the Grotto

Aug
12

The Grotto makes the first venue I double up on as it’s the only place I’ve found thus far that has live music before 9pm on a Monday.

I caught the tail end of JJ and the Lobsterdogs’ set, and after a brief stage change, Songwriter Showcase began. First up was Kilane (I’m not sure how she spells her name), introduced as her first time performing. She could sing and play the guitar, reminiscent of Tracy Chapman with a velvet voice and bluesy vocals.

After she finished a song, she admitted she flubbed her lyrics. A regular yelled, “we don’t know that!” And another advised, “just say I nailed that shit!”

The Grotto’s crowd is definitely supportive, to say the least.

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Show #11 – Luke Wade at The Woodshed

Aug
11

I like Luke Wade and The No Civilians‘ brand of country and blues. After searching, this was the Luke Wade Trio. I missed the name of the lead singer for the day (it wasn’t Wade). I give them props for playing a noon show. Outside. I feel like I should also note that I’ve seen them on a concert bill nearly every day this month, always playing somewhere.

Luke Wade at the Woodshed

Luke Wade at the Woodshed

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Show #10 – CiCLOP at The Modern

Aug
11

CiCLOP stands for Cincinnatti Composers Laptop Orchestra Project. Saturday, at The Modern, five guys dressed in black played a surreal version of electronic music using laptop computers (and an iPad). Each member would perform using their keyboard, and in turn, their actions processed by software to create sound.

The first song, Clix, consisted of a percussive, snapping, click. As the song progressed, each member would join in, creating the aural equivalent of a fractal. The challenge with live music, at least to me, is to make the performance as engaging as the music. Usually, electronic music relies on lights or visuals to add to the show. CiCLOP did have visuals, however, I didn’t find them interesting after the first minute or so. One song, Tipping Point, processed sounds with the help of the computers motion sensor. The members twisted, bent and moved their arms to create a layered, droning soundscape.

The Modern’s theater is a hidden gem of a venue–perfect for intimate shows where sound matters to create a lush experience.

CiCLOP performs at the Modern

CiCLOP performs at the Modern

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Show #9 – The Phuss at Friday on the Green

Aug
10

This was the first show where I could not get into the band. The Phuss play loud garage rock, where the lead singer screams his lyrics. When the band jammed with only their instrumentals, they grooved pretty well. And then the screaming began anew.

The Magnolia Green was packed for a 95 degree Friday evening. Several years ago, the Green would be empty with plenty of room to spread out. Now, it’s like a mini music festival, complete with beer tents, food trucks and beach balls.

The Phuss play Friday on the Green.

The Phuss play Friday on the Green.

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Show #8 – Bobby Dade at Buttons

Aug
09

Aside from the insanity that was the Central Market parking lot, with valet parking for a Container Store preview opening, seeing some R&B sould music at Button’s was enjoyable.

Bobby Dade and his band played a mix of R&B and soul music, adding hip hop and funk elements.

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Show #7 – Kenny Upstain and David Matsler at Fred’s

Aug
07

When it’s 102 degrees on the patio, and you’re waiting for a show to start, beer does not magically remain cold. We need the brightest minds of our generation working on this, pronto.

Kenny Upstain and his partner, David Matsler, started up 20 minutes late. Fashionably late, I suppose, given the casual set up and masochistic temperature. They play a sparse version of country, strumming hard mad adding percussion by thumping the guitar.

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Show #6 – Christian Dozzler at Scat Jazz Lounge

Aug
07

Today marks the first day the concert a day challenge feels like a grind. I didn’t expect the feeling this soon, but I’ll attribute the weariness to my introverted self wanting to turn off sensory input for a little while.

At Scat Jazz Lounge I found out what Bob Ross would look like if he were still alive and a jazz pianist. Christian Dozzler sat behind a piano, wearing a Hawaiian floral print shirt and a brown haired white man’s afro. Accompanied by a drummer, the duo played jazzy numbers smoothly and enjoyably. A couple, in their seventies, stood up from their table and began swing dancing in front of the stage, smiling as they twirled and hustled.

Christian Dozzler at Scat Jazz Lounge

Christian Dozzler at Scat Jazz Lounge

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