Honeypie, Skee, I Hate You Just Kidding, Button Willow Locomotive, Kacie Yoshida
Jan. 24, 2012
And the gold star for best performance goes to--in this critic's humble opinion--Honeypie. Simply put, they were head and shoulders above the other four bands in last night's OC Music Awards showcase for best live acoustic band.
Country musician Skee, who last year performed with a backup band called the Motion Detectors, brought a quartet of comely lasses known as the "Skeelettes" on stage with him this year. Clad in short dark dresses, the beauties served to distract from Skee's on stage capering, which was in itself distracting. He sort of comes across as a country version of Axl Rose, shimmying and kicking while belting out hackneyed lyrics such as "I'm just looking for some kind of friend. One that can last until the end."
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Before Skee was indie quintet I Hate You Just Kidding. Despite what seems to be singer Jessi Fulghum's best efforts at retreating from the glare of the stage lights to the safety of her perfectly trimmed bangs, she manages to be compelling--in a sort of a still-waters-run-deep kind of way. I just wish I could hear what she was singing. All said, her woeful demeanor blends nicely with the down tempo, folky rock played by the band, which last night made use of mandolin, guitar, a ukulele bass and sees Fulghum armed with a banjo. The band plays well together and manages to use their folky, hipster instruments with a little more subtlety than predecessors Button Willow Locomotive whose use of mandolin was ham fisted and distracting. This is an instrument that is best used for accent rather than a central focus. It shouldn't sound like a twangy yard rake.
Kicking the evening off was singer/guitar player Kacie Yoshida who was accompanied by a young man on cello. She gets top marks for working lyrics about the Santa Ana winds into her song "Broken Mind." It's a wonder this local meteorological phenomenon hasn't been sung about more. But Yoshida's voice, while competent and heartfelt, sounds like so many girls one might hear singing in a coffee shop or on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. That's not to say she doesn't have potential, but anyone who takes a stage armed with only a guitar and cello needs to bring their A Game. It's a tall order to entertain a large room with such a sparse arrangement.