Friday, May 27, 2011

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 8, no 11 - Norapalooza

First published on the Broad Ripple Gazette

I debated about whether to write about this event or not, and come to the conclusion that the music was too amazing not to talk about. And why volunteer to write a column if you can’t talk about your own surprise birthday party, right?

Jazz Kitchen
May 15, 2011

All I was told was to be available on Sunday night and that I might want to take the next day off from work. Good advice.

I was blown away! I had little hints of things that might be happening. I’ve come to the conclusion that people really can’t keep a secret. And you all should know that even if an invitation is on facebook that does not mean that everyone can see it. I spent a good deal of time in the last month throwing my hands up yelling, ‘STOP! I don’t want to know details!’

There was a committee that planned the event and they were amazing – I can’t imagine a better lineup or show. I was taken to the Jazz Kitchen and arrive to a lovely gathering in their banquet room. Cousins from Cass County, the Lieber twins and other dear friends and family. There were cupcakes and Nora PEZ head and many other delightful touches.

At some point we were called into the main room of the Jazz Kitchen – it was full of friends and there was music! Lots of both! Dean Metcalf organized a concert that was tailor made for me. He provided the backline, extra instruments, emcee duty and stuff that I’m sure I haven’t even realized yet.

Eleven of my very favorite bands played in a three and a half hour span. It was amazing. I’m still remembering details; I was overwhelmed and a little teary the whole time. I should have taken notes!

The music started with Scott Rudicel. The way-younger set knows Scott as Ruditoonz. Rudi’s clever lyrics, great guitar playing and animated performance kept everyone from my eight year-old nephew to the seventy-somethings in the room entertained.

Cari Ray & The Loners played next. Holy cow, they are great! I love Cari’s original tunes – smart songwriting with just the right touch of twang, but her cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” just about knocked my birthday hat off. You need to get to a Cari Ray show soon – she’s already opening for the likes of Gretchen Wilson and I predict that Cari will be the headliner soon.

 Chad Mills (Ann Cothron photographer) 

I’ve made no secret of my very-appropriate love of Chad Mills and his music. His songs speak to the trials and joy in everyday life, with a dash of social justice and great hope for the future. This was the first time I’d seen him play with cellist Grover Parido. They need to do that more often!

Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, a giant Taylor’s birthday cake appeared and the Happy Birthday song was accompanied by Stasia Demos Mills playing accordion.

If you know me at all, you know that I tend toward the prudish side, even though I love a good “that’s what she said” zinger. If you know Wendy Reed at all you, know that she tends towards the delightfully bawdy side. She was dressed as a PEZ girl passing out candy cigarettes, Norapalooza brand, of course. She came to the stage and sang a blushingly beautiful birthday song. I know what the song was, but it included the words ‘birthday suit,’ and anything Wendy sings in her va-va-voom style is sexy and amazing.

As much as I was ready to hid behind a potted plant so I could soak it all in, I was kept on stage and my band mates in Alice Chalmers and The Stick a Cork in Your Jug band appeared with a new vintage typewriter for me! We played a fun set and Cari Ray joined us on spoons for a song.

The lovely ReachArounds (they really are lovely, in spite of their name) played next. Great pop driven rock preformed by some of my favorite people.

The Rough Sleepers are a fairly new band, but they sound like they’ve been playing together for years. Pretty harmonies wrapped around gorgeous music. Keith Carey sang one of my all time favorite songs, Bruce Springsteen’s, “Atlantic City.” Dean Metcalf wearing a bison hat was just icing on the cake.

As if I was not overwhelmed enough, The Strugglers performed. I’m not sure I can articulate how amazing that is. The band officially broke up in the 1985 when Stanley Smith moved to Austin. They have played a handful of times since then. I was lucky enough that Stanley was in town and they had played the night before. I’m goose-bumpy as I type this – The Strugglers played at my birthday party! Wheeeee!

I was in such a happy fog that when I saw Joey Welch in the room it never even occurred to me that The Born Again Floozies were going to play. I’m not sure that I can adequately explain their genius, so I’m going to use someone else’s phrase: orchestral stomp, and add my own, tap-dancy delight. They have a couple of shows booked this summer. Make sure that you catch them.

Yoko Moment doesn’t play out much. They are a favorite at the Tonic Ball, which Yoko Moment singer, Ken Honeywell, founded and just played the Mutt Strut. Their set for Norapalooza included cover songs from previous Tonic Balls, including songs from the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. They had folks, including mine dancing.

Next up was Brian Deer, who just stayed on the stage after his set with Yoko Moment. I’ve been a fan of Brian’s since his days with Citizens Band. I loved hearing Brian’s song, “Broken Bottles,” a long time favorite of mine. They sounded great.

Rounding out the incredible night was The Odyssey Favor. They actually wrote a song for the occasion. If you have not seen their infectiously fun video check it out. And if you have not seen them live, make sure you do. They were the perfect send-off into the next decade.

1 comment:

BookLady said...

Sounds as if it was a great bash!