Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Friends of the Diddlers and Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs...

March 14th, 2007

Didn't know what to expect from the Diddlers. With a band banner covering the electric keyboard I was intrigued. The vocal symmetry offered by Audra Kubat and the Lucas sisters was serene. Like the song on the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack where they sing "Go to sleep you little baby…you and me and the devil make three" all angelic and leave you in a heavenly daze.

Individually, Audra's voice hit on more than a few Chan Marshall moments. I liked that. She also made her fair share of interesting faces in the process, me overhearing it described as "…looking for the wrong note". Loretta Lucas holds a much higher timbre and thus sounds happier. Her sister Julie falls in-between the two and all together it is refreshing.

The instrumentation was varied and in constant rotation. There was a ukulele, a washboard, a shaky maraca-type thing, a few guitars and a violin. Not to forget the aforementioned keyboard and the solid Mark Craven banjo/guitar core of it all.

They covered a Dolly Parton song and that was the highlight of their set…I just can't remember what song it was. The cover of Jimmie Rodgers' "Mule Skinner Blues" was swingin' as well. And the originals weren't too shabby either. They performed flawlessly and in front of a sizeable crowd for a Wednesday night.

I've seen Holly Golightly at least five times and every time she has a slightly different band. Surprisingly, she is the epitome of consistency. Tonight found her performing as a two-piece. Lawyer Dave (usually just her bass player on US soil) had become a veritable one-man backing band. Surrounded by a plethora of guitars he was also operating a bass drum, a snare drum, a hi-hat, a cowbell and a crash cymbal(I think?) with his feet. And he sang backup too.

His execution was anything but clunky. Lawyer Dave was as fluid and reliable as any stand-alone drummer (including usual Golightly cohort Bruce Brand) could hope to be. None of this stereotypical "kick-snare-kick-snare" one-man band lameness. I was duly impressed.

The performance itself was standard low-key Golightly fare. Her comforting vocal twang paired with deft and familiar blues guitar was charming perfection. I don't think anyone left disappointed. They showcased a few songs from the new record You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying (written and recorded in four days with this band configuration and a brilliant album title to boot) that's reliably consistent with the rest of her solo back catalog.

That's refreshing too. In a way, a fan can hardly criticize an artist they appreciate for doing the same thing. Consistency in any other field…selling cars, brain surgery, mowing lawns, is lauded and strived for. In music, if you make the same album twice you'll never hear the end of it. Why is this? A band would sooner get respect for regurgitating drivel that someone ELSE did first than for repeating their own earlier work. Do painters or sculptors get flak for the same thing? I'm highly curious about this whole situation.

And do the Ramones get shit or respect for having never changed? Who else is in this category?
I think the ability to create with unwavering variation should be praised. And here's hoping that Holly has a bevy of these blues ballads still burning in her belly.

Alliteration, on the other hand, is the tool of the ignorant.


lady anne said...

Consistency in the art world is a marketing strategem. Artists who find success nearly always are ousted from art world fame as their work changes. You would be amazed at the amount of artists who just churn out the same shit over and over again to pay their bills, frequently keeping their most recent work out of their galleries to maintain the market value of their "unique style".

Mark said...

Thanks for not commenting on my singing, and for the nice review. By the way, the Dolly Parton song was Bargain Store. See you soon. Craven...