October 20, 2011
How often do you get to see part of the Echoplex transformed into a theater and the stage into an eerie forest? Last night's Return of Murder Ballads was not only a great show, it was a one-of-a-kind experience. Although every performance consisted of one or two songs at the most, the night was filled with so much diversity that any music lover would have been in heaven. The 14 bands on this year's bill and the intimate sit-down setting made for a unique and creative way to get into the Halloween spirit.
Ides of Gemini opened the show with the song "Strange Fruit." Originally sung by one of the world's best jazz singers--Billie Holiday--frontwoman Sera Timms (who resembled Morticia Addams from the Addams Family) belted out the 60-year-old song about lynchings in the American South in a slow and melodic fashion. Timms and guitarist J. Bennett set the stage perfectly for a night filled with music about blood and death.
After every third or fourth performance there was a scheduled intermission, which was perfect for the 14-band lineup. The night was divided up into three acts and each act offered something different than the last. In comparison to the first act, which was filled with a little more rock and a singer dressed up as a zombie bride, the second act was filled with a little more folk and some killer solo artists. As the night continued, the banjos and harmonicas came out, as the third act was mainly country music. The people in the audience either head-bobbed like crazy in their seats or were dancing in the back.
Who knew that a night celebrating songs about murders in history could be such a fun and exciting event? Experiencing something different from the normal concert routine was fresh, and the night was a huge success.
The Crowd: Lots of musicians and people wearing hats
Critics Bias: Although country isn't really my thing, watching people rock out on the banjo is surprisingly awesome!
Overheard in the Crowd: "Don't you know anything? Jameson on the rocks is a REAL woman's drink!"
Random Notebook Dump: There was this guy who had dreadlocks all the way down to the floor and was wearing a top hat. It was a pretty snazzy way to dress up having Rapunzel length dreads!
Ides of Gemini--"Strange Fruit"
Michelle Vidal--"Henery Lee" and "Wedding Day"
Garret pierce--"Stagger Lee"
Kevin Litrow- "On the Banks of Red Roses"
Tommy Santee Klaws--"Omie Wise" and "Tom Dooley"
Gabriel Heart--"Jesse James" and "One Way to Remind"
A/J Jackson--"Little Sadie"
Tom Brosseau--"Hills of Roane County" and "Miss Otis Regrets"
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The Damselles & The TC4--"I Shot Mr. Lee" and "Leader of the Pack"
The Americans--"He is Coming to Us Dead" and Little Man Jim"
T.O.M--"Knoxville Girl" and "Blood on the Saddle"
Eastside Hayride--"Darlin Corey," "Banks of Ohio" and "Joh