Nicky D’Agostino

Carley Tanchon at Rockwood Music Hall

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Carley Tanchon headlined Rockwood Music Hall last night. We’ve seen Carley perform three full sets, plus two shows as a background vocalist. Two of the full sets were solo acoustic and one was a full band CD Release show. Last night was a full band show, giving me an even chance to rate Carley both ways.

The voting is in (the wait wasn’t that long, right?). Carley handles herself extremely well solo. She can easily hold my attention for the entire set. Still, I have to say that she really comes alive when she’s channeling her Rocker Chick, supported by a full band. She’s such a natural rocker.

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Carley has a stunning voice (true in her acoustic sets as well), but you can feel her need to belt it out, which just feels so much more right when supported by a band. She plays the guitar well (both acoustic and electric, opting for the electric with the full band). She writes catchy songs.

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If we’re having fun being in the audience, I can only imagine how much fun it is to play with her on stage. That’s why she doesn’t seem to have any problem attracting top talent to join her. That included a new face for us as well.

Left-to-right on stage:

Andrea Longato on electric guitar. Andrea took quite a number of incredible leads. He’s a major talent. Carley’s music (including her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rihanna) lends itself to spicy rock guitar leads and Andrea delivered. We hadn’t heard of him before, but we’ll be on the lookout going forward.

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Ethan Mentzer on electric bass and light vocals (can’t find a good individual link, but Ethan is all over every mention of The Click Five). We’ve seen Ethan play bass twice before, once at the previous Carley Tanchon CD Release. So, I knew I’d enjoy his bass play, and I was correct. He also sang some harmony, the only band member who did.

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Nicky D’Agostino on drums. We’ve seen Nicky play drums twice before, with Carley and with Jesse Ruben. He was excellent at both of those shows, but I was more impressed last night, perhaps because we were up so close and personal. The only issue (I won’t say complaint) is a general Rockwood 1 thing, Nicky was quite loud (I did say we were really close to the drums, right?). In any event, he was really interesting and kept the energy at maximum level for everyone else to live up to!

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We found out after the set that Carley was sick. Amazing performance for someone who wasn’t at the top of her game. What a trooper for powering through!

To continue my theme from the previous two posts, I’ll mention that we nearly missed this show. I only found out that Carley was playing last night earlier in the week. By then, we already had dinner plans that weren’t going to end until nearly 11pm. Because of that, I didn’t put Carley in the calendar.

When we successfully moved our dinner plans, I had forgotten that Carley was playing. When I checked the Rockwood site to see who was on at 9pm (to determine whether we’d stay after Barnaby Bright, before returning for Patryk Larney at 11pm), no one was listed at 10pm at Rockwood, so I had no reminder about Carley. This was a potential disaster in the making.

Then, while I was checking out the two acts at 9pm at both stages, I liked Rebecca Pidgeon enough to decide to stick around Rockwood 1. By the time I double-checked the Rockwood site, Carley was once again listed at 10pm, which cemented my decision to catch Rebecca at 9pm.

All’s well that ends well! Smile

Jesse Ruben at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

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I’ve seen Jesse Ruben do a full set at Rockwood Music Hall once before. Lois was sick that night. I had nothing but compliments for Jesse and you can read about it in the second half of this post. Last night he played Stage 2 and had a full band.

Everything I said about Jesse in the above-linked post was true last night, but it was a significantly better set. The full band was a nice enhancement and the set was more energetic (either because of the band or because of Jesse’s choice of songs). His stage presence was exceptional (as it was the first time).

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What impressed me most was his songwriting. I said that the last time too, but I’m sure I heard new songs and if the older ones held up on second listen, that’s impressive too.

For the most part, Jesse played rhythm because he had a high-quality band behind him. On one song, he called up two special guests and sang with them without the band. He finger-picked beautifully, so he can play the guitar nicely as well!

The guests were Kyle Patrick and Karly Jurgensen. It was convenient to call them up, since Karly had the set before Jesse’s (covered here) and Kyle had the set afterward. They sang gorgeous harmony (no surprise), but Jesse was the huge star in the song, called Advice (I believe). It’s an amazing song, his guitar play was excellent, and he sang most of it without harmony either.

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Twice he put down the guitar and sang his heart out at the mic. The first time was a cover of Joe Cocker’s The Letter. Really well done. Here’s Jesse singing with more than a bit of passion:

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Supporting Jesse, left-to-right on the stage:

Greg Barbone on grand piano. We’ve seen Greg on a couple of sets, both on the same night. We were highly impressed with his play. That was true again last night on Jesse’s set.

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Nicky D’Agostino on drums. We’ve seen Nicky once before as well, and he was excellent last night, as he was the first time, supporting Carley Tanchon.

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Kyle McCammon on electric bass. Kyle played the set before with Karly, which was much more jazz oriented. He was really good on this set too, showing versatility in genre and style. He was also significantly more animated on stage during this high-energy pop/rock set. Jesse said that this was the first time Kyle played with him. That might be true, but I admit to thinking he was joking.

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Will Hensley on electric guitar. We just saw Will for the first time on July 31st at the Blues Brothers Benefit. He sounded good, but I noted that he was covered up (visually) and I couldn’t easily match what I thought was the guitar lead to Will’s hands. Last night, playing for Jesse, Will totally blew me away. He was amazing on traditional leads, and excellent with the slide as well.

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I will be thrilled to see Will play with anyone, just for his skill, until I find out he is willing to play with a dud headliner. Winking smile

Likewise, I’ll be very happy to see Jesse Ruben again.