Monday, February 1, 2010

Lorenza @ The Living Room, Act 1

Hello from the Big Apple ... long time no talk to, huh? I hope this finds you all happy and healthy.

I've hemmed and hawed about whether or not I was going to re-start this blog -- even resorting to flipping a coin to help with my decision. In the end, I realized that I enjoyed sharing some of my crazy experiences with you all. As I have said before, I am blessed to live in NYC -- though its not without its frustrations, sacrifices and inconveniences. But this is where I choose to live. I also choose to take advantage of some of the amazing opportunities presented by living here. I won't feel guilty about it. Okay. Enough said.

So, anyway ... what's going on? Well, I'm counting down the days til I leave for Hawaii. It was up in the air for a while, but I finally got the go-ahead from my doctor. By the way, thanks for all the emails asking how I was doing. I'm on this new experimental protocol ... so far, so good. :-)

In any case, I'm very much looking forward to sticking my toes in the sand on Waikiki Beach and letting the warm waves of the ocean wash over me. Oh, and there are a couple of Jovi shows too. LOL

But, until then I'm enjoying some great music around the city. Last week, my friend and fellow wind player Peggy was in town from "out West" and we hit the 55 Bar in the West Village to hear the amazing guitar musings of Mike Stern. It was one of those magical nights when I say to myself, "yeah, THIS is why I love New York City."

This past weekend, I was able to catch Southside Johnny's show at BB King's. Its the last one for a while which makes me a bit sad ... I was getting used to seeing them just about every month. Jeff Kazee just about stole the show with his cover of the J. Geils Band's "I'm Looking for a Love." To say Jeff was electric would be an understatement -- the poor guy literally got electrocuted in the middle of the show by one of the wires on his Hammond organ. OUCH! Jeff gave me a little treat of my own - the setlist - with his GUM on it! ROFL

(And if you weren't getting Kazee's tweets during the Grammys last night, you really missed out on a good time. My personal favorite was "What About Bob?" ... which nearly made me fall off my chair with laughter. That's one funny boy, our Jeff.)

Then, tonight I was able to catch the first of three gigs Lorenza Ponce is doing at The Living Room in support of her upcoming new album. I was happy my friend Linda was able to attend with me (AND she brought me cookies from Levain ... OMG ... that's another blog post in itself!) Sorry, I digress ... (see ... some things never change LOL.)

Anyway, most of you reading this blog know of Lorenza from her work with Jon Bon Jovi and playing on the band's Lost Highway tour. And I know some of you have downloaded her current single, Casual Girl. If you haven't, I strongly encourage you to check out her solo work (I, myself, am partial to her Mystic Fiddler album.)

So, The Living Room is this small performance space/bar/club on the Lower East Side and was the perfect setting for this intimate show. The set was rather short - about 40 minutes or so - but just enough to give you a taste that makes you want to come back next week.

She opened with Casual Girl and I was immediately struck by the sound of the ensemble which included keyboards (my buddy Kazee, again), drums, bass, guitar and strings. I had been concerned that the size of the group may overwhelm the room (which probably holds about 125ish) but, actually, it was a fantastic mix of instrumentals and vocals.

I particularly liked the song "Testify" (correct me if I'm wrong - it was the 3rd song, I believe) and the rockin' "Baby Don't Go." She also did an incredible cover of a little known George Harrison song called "Let It Down" which I am now intrigued by and will investigate a bit more.

Due to a slight technical snafu, she ended up switching the order of the setlist but I thought it actually flowed better going from the introspective "I Won't Lose Faith" to the absolute edgy groove of "What Happened to You?" The set ended with "Soul Shifter", the title track of the new album (due out in late Feb/early March.) I absolutely loved this song ... and there were some awfully cool dual violin riffs, too.

To say Lorenza is wickedly talented would be an understatement. Seriously, the girl is a force to be reckoned with musically. She has an incredible voice and moves effortlessly from violin to guitar to piano to ... ukulele?! And you can't even hate her for it because she's so darn nice.

Needless to say, I'll be back to see Lorenza next week ... and if you're around NYC, you should join me.

Anyway, its late so I better go ... ya know ... "work for the working man" and all ... but I'll be back soon. Til then. Take care.