Up North Craft Bar
Material: High octane blues in all its forms is the stock and trade of the Chris Canas Band. Whether we’re talking rock, funk, country, Motown and all points in between, this band delivers on all fronts. And they seem to permeate whatever they do with the soul and spirit of the medium. From traditional shuffles like “Would You Mind” and the declarative “I’m Playing the Blues” to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and, even, Gloria Gaynor’s disco anthem “I Will Survive,” everything swings with the rawness and authenticity of said lexicon. Musicianship: From the first downbeat it is glaringly obvious that this is a road tested band, with a strong teamwork aesthetic. Canas is not only a great leader but a superb singer and lead guitarist. His blend of jazz and blues licks combined with smooth rhythms and a stellar tone is unparalleled. Cottingham handles lead and backing vocals with balanced grace and gives the group’s front line a one two punch. Nordman provides a gospel-like underpinning, with piano and organ comps and swells that give each tune melodic heft. The same can be said for the dynamic
CHRIS CANAS BAND duo of bassist Washington and drummer Scott. They can fully support any kind of groove, with a robust thump that fills the room. Performance: Canas is a consummate entertainer and he brought that skill to the table in abundance. The room shook with the energy of a Sunday morning church service where the leader urged everyone to turn to someone they didn’t know and say, “Hey!” This band played to a packed house and had everyone on their feet from the very first note. The band’s ability to segue and transition from one song to the next kept the party flowing. Highlights
included Albert King’s “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” B.B. King’s souped up “Rock Me Baby” and a seemingly endless medley of guitar and keyboard-inspired jams. Summary: The Chris Canas Band seems to play for the crowd and tailors their sets to truly capture and satisfy an audience. They can move you on the dance floor one minute, and then cast you into a pseudo-psychedelic jam-induced trance the next. This band is expanding the language of the blues, with a fresh perspective that is contemporary and uplifting. – Eric A. Harabadian
ROBBIE GENNET Hotel Café
Contact: email@example.com Web: robbiegennet.com Players: Robbie Gennet, vocals, keys, guitar, bass, drums; Kaitlin Wolfberg, violin; Emily Elkin, cello; Camille Wyatt, vocals; Robbie Danzie, vocals; Fernando Perdomo, bass; Ryan Brown, drums Material: The career of Robbie Gennet has evolved like a successive wave of theatrical 48 August 2018
Musicianship: Robbie Gennet’s artistry still encompasses some of the basic remnants of his previous projects. But those experimental phases have expanded from hard rock and jazz to his current fixation on symphonic rock. Many of the vivid characteristics of this genre can be heard through the musicality that the songwriter-producer displays on his new album. For example, “Running Away” is a dramatic composition that evokes somewhat of a rhythmic comparison to “Aquarius” from the 1969 musical Hair.
scenery. Original songs from his extensive catalog often visualize the depths of his greatest fears and the flamboyance of his creative prowess. Gennet’s past experience writing musical theater productions have undoubtedly influenced many of the compositions featured on his recent solo album, Gleams. This progressive rock album also contains elements of progressive pop and soft rock. One of the best examples of his colorful expressiveness is “Electric Skies,” an art rock song stylized similarly to “Come Sail Away” by Styx.
Performance: From the seat of his piano, Gennet orchestrated an enthralling presentation of his brand new album. The emotional sound of the Florida native’s music was bolstered by the strong presence of his back-up band featuring three background vocalists, two violinists and a drummer. Gennet’s voice echoed a vibrato reminiscent of George Harrison of The Beatles. A majority of the songs that Gennet performed carried the epic sentiment of symphonic rock, while the other musical compositions that he played were of the pop rock variety. Toward the end the performance, the artist capped his 10-song set list with a composition called “Rainbow,” a motivational piece about love, hurt, optimism and the maturation process that is life. Summary: The small performance space at Hotel Café provided an ideally intimate setting for the charismatic Robbie Gennet to pound the keys like Elton John and take us on an aesthetic dive into the depths of Gennet’s catalog. He could have thrilled us even more by displaying his ability to play five instruments. In that regard, this performer’s true capability was left to the audience’s imagination. – Miguel Costa
ERIC A. HARABADIAN
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: chriscanas.net Players: Chris Canas, lead vocals, guitars; Angela Cottingham, vocals and percussion; Chris Nordman, keyboards; Derek Washington, bass; Michael Scott, drums