Steve Poltz and the Cynics
The Truckee Brothers
February 25, 2008
I always have a great time at Steve’s shows and feel inspired when I leave. He is a great songwriter and an amazing entertainer. He throws his all in to his performances- facial expressions and body contortions included. He’s gracious, funny and charming. Steve has such a loyal Indianapolis audience that I’m starting to recognize his fans and where they like to sit.
Another thing that Steve does consistently well is touring with other great musicians. I must say, I was initially disappointed when I heard that Steve was travelling with a band, Steve Poltz and the Cynics. Count me in the cynic group; I just couldn’t fathom how I would enjoy the show as much as I do when Steve plays solo. Boy was I wrong. But first Steve appeased us naysayers by starting out with a solo acoustic set.
I guess now is the point when I should admit to not taking notes during the show. I searched and searched for my little notebook before I left and could not find it (It later turned up in my bed). It didn’t occur to me to bring my computer or paper or even jot notes on a cocktail napkin. It was probably just as well; I was having too much damn fun. Maybe there is a correlation -- less writing, more concentrating on the music. Anyway, the whole point of that story is that I know he played a lot of his own great songs and did some quirky covers. The only cover song I can remember is TLC’s Chasing Waterfalls. And that might have been because of the aforementioned kiss. Just saying.
The Cynics joined Steve and I was charmed from the second the boys stepped on the stage. Actually I was pre-charmed, I heard a few songs of the opening band, The Truckee Brothers when I walked in. I enjoyed what I heard. And magically the Truckee Brothers turned in to The Cynics. They are fun as can be together, all playing off of each other marvelously. Chris played bass and guitar and Patrick played drums. They both sang harmonies. On occasion tour manager, Christopher was brought to the stage to play bass. They fit right in to the quirkiness of a Poltz show.
Sitting backstage (read the edge of the pool table) with the guys I pointed out the artwork on the wall. The very talented Cara Jean Wahlers had several pieces hanging. Patrick bought one right off of the wall. Patrick is an amazing artist, creating the album covers for the last two Steve Poltz CDs.
A seriously good time was had by all.
I had great intentions of writing about the music I saw in Ireland this week. I even took my notebook- and managed to return with it. I also took my beloved iBook and something jiggled loose and the airport is not working. Notice how calm I am? I’m hoping it is that simple, and they can do something magic at the Apple Store. A tree fell on my house while I was gone so I’m also with out Internet access at home. I’m writing this at Northside Newsstand, using my iPhone to look up Web sites and such. Newsstand Joe is going to do something mysterious to transmit this column. I think it involves squirrels. I’ll fill you in on the Ireland music next time.
I will leave you with a tantalizing tidbit: I traded a Hello Kitty Band-Aid for a great CD. More to come. Cheers.
Second Fridays for Second Helpings
The Upper Room (above the Broad Ripple Steakhouse)
Friday, March 14, 2008
From the Musical Family Tree Web site:
“Following the success of the Broad Ripple Fall Music Festival, a few of us put our heads together to try to see if we could create a series based on the kind of success we had combining music, raising money and awareness, and building new venues for music.
The Upper Room has been booking live music for some time. Jeff Sample has a long history in Indianapolis music both as a musician and songwriter, and through his bookings at Birdy’s – supporting original local music 300 days a year.
Second Helpings feeds the hungry and provides vocational opportunities in the community. Nora Spitznogle promotes original music tirelessly in Indianapolis by talking about music, going to shows, and writing for both Nuvo the Broad Ripple Gazette. She is well known in the songwriter scene since her booking and hotel services were the primary force behind CATH as a performance space.
Musical Family Tree is dedicated to building a community around Indiana music. Thousands of mp3’s are available from hundreds of bands and their work in the community promoting shows, releases and behind the scenes awareness for dozens of cultural efforts in the city and beyond.
So PJ Christie has been one of the driving forces behind the scenes on MFT since the beginning and has a long history promoting a dozen bands, songwriting and performing. The good people of Indianapolis have a lot to be thankful that these three individuals have come together to promote a monthly event called Second Fridays, Second Helpings at The Upper Room to benefit Second Helpings beginning March 13, 2008. Musical Family Tree is supporting the effort by providing access to the top performers in the area.
March 13 will feature PJ Christie, Lance Drake and Chris Haskett in a songwriter in the round type of event. Currently PJ can been seen playing bass for local favorites The Vulgar Boatmen while his own band is on hiatus. Lance is tearing up the Chicago scene in his acoustic quartet Deep Cricket Night. Chris plays with his new project, My Special Purpose and has joined Ben Justus as the drummer.
But all of them will come together to play new and old material and support each other in a once in a lifetime performance. Come out and be a part of it.”
Nora notes: I’m blushing as I read this - and honored to be tossed in the same group as Jeff and PJ. I hope to see you at the show. I’ll be there beaming- and collecting rice and pasta (we use 125 pounds a day!). Mark your calendars for second Friday for the rest of the year.