Honeypie With Big Bad Wolf and Vanaprasta
April 11, 2011
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa
By 10:05 p.m. last night, Big Bad Wolf were finishing their final set preparations. Resting on speakers, monitors, and even the metal Detroit Bar logo were sprigs and vines of faux foliage and flowers lending a sweet touch to the stage.
The men of Big Bad Wolf brought the Costa Mesa crowd toward the stage with an energetic performance with powerful pitch-perfect melodies flowing from the lips of their lead singer, Paul Stewart.
More than halfway through their set, the five male musicians invited Trisha Smith, lead singer of resident band Honeypie, onstage to loan her sweet harmonies to their cynical yet upbeat hit, "1963." Jake Melham on bass shared the microphone with Smith, crooning backups to a growing audience. Two more songs and a quick break later, Melham came back in the same position, playing bass for Honeypie herself.
More than two years after the Honeypie conception and many member variations, the most recent lineup of the historically sweet folk band has taken on a new identity. With the addition of drummer Darren Carr, bassist Jake Melham and keyboardist Felipe Arroyo, guitarist Ryan Radcliff and Smith have been able to take the sound in another direction. After a few months of practicing, the five-piece was finally able to unveil a version of Honeypie that was more indie-rock than ever before. There's still a touch of blues and folk influence, but the stronger resonance of rock seems to be the persona Honeypie are striving to achieve, and is truly the sound they were meant to project all along.
With this new adaptation, Smith showcased the true talent of her vocals, while Radcliff brought a handful of admirable solos on his Gretsch guitar to impress even the most critical concertgoer. Toward the end of the groundbreaking performance, Smith invited the members of Big Bad Wolf to join her for the final song of the set, a rendition of Madonna's hit, "Borderline."
Closing out the evening of the first Honeypie residency performance was the Los Angeles- based band, Vanaprasta. Although the crowd--filled mainly with local musicians of bands intent on listening and supporting the local music scene--began to dwindle, these five technically talented men brought a heightened energy to the stage until the very end.
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Crisp, booming vocals from lead singer Steven Wilkins seemed so unreal that at times it was difficult to look away or believe that such a range of notes could be nailed so perfectly in such rapid succession. As the flickering lights faded and the final friends said their goodbyes to hostess Honeypie, Radcliff gently pulled down each piece of fake foliage from the stage, keeping it secure for the following Monday night of their monthlong residency at Detroit. Next week, Jameson and Preacher's Sons will join the list of musical supporters.
The crowd: Mainly South Orange County musicians looking to support their scene and Costa Mesa locals happy to have a good excuse to drink wine and beer and listen to music on a Monday.
Overheard: "Mmm, that wine looks really good."
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