Posts Tagged ‘Scott Austin’

This review is split in two – no way I could put both of Friday’s shows into one column!

I wanted to make a special point to be here and see Scott Austin in an acoustic show. The last time I saw him (see review 8/13/11) it was in a much different venue, and with The Everyone’s Band backing him.  That was where I first fell in love with his poetry of word and song.

In an acoustic show, Scott has one of those voices that sits like a perfect single-malt scotch – smooth and mellow at first, following with a warm afterglow.  Velvet, silk, honey… none of those capture his voice, but somewhere in all of that is Scott. His guitar work is equally enchanting; a sweet backdrop to his picturesque lyrics.  His songs speak to everyone equally, bearing witness to the common threads in our lives.

By request, he gave us a stellar performance of “Crazy Awesome” which the audience just devoured.  Another one of my favorites, “Happy Now” was also very memorably portrayed.  Both of these are available on Scott’s debut EP album, “Into The Light” which you can find online or at the merch table of his shows.

Select covers were mixed throughout his originals, each performed in a uniquely Scott Austin fashion.  One of my favorite covers from last night was Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry” – done un-reggaed and what I call “Scott-ified.”  Just loved it! He makes every one of his covers become one of his own creations, each an original work of art in his loving care.

On many of them, like “Let It Be,” it took a few moments for the audience to figure out why a song sounded familiar – and then you’d see the collective “ahh!” as recognition dawned on us.  In a very real and personal way, it was a true collective experience.  Rarely do I see an audience, especially one in a small tavern setting, become a communal creature, but this is exactly the effect Scott has.  It is a unique talent and one we seem to have lost – I continue to be reminded of Seger, Springsteen, or even Dylan, when I watch Scott perform his magic.

He also makes a point of connecting with individuals throughout the club, grinning and cracking jokes between songs, nodding and smiling with eye-to-eye contact during a song.  I’d be hard-pressed to recommend a more mellow and perfect end to a work week.  Find Scott on FB, bandcamp, and ReverbNation so you can be sure to catch his next live show.

Scott’s set list (actually his repertoire) : 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPOTLIGHT – WestEnd Tavern, 563 West Centennial Boulevard, Springfield, OR

This little bar is tucked away in one of our ubiquitous strip malls – you might miss it at a casual glance.  But it was obvious from the nearly full house that many folks consider it worth their time and trouble to be there.  It seemed to be a friendly and warm establishment; upon walking through the doors for the first time last night we were greeted with a hearty “hi!  how are you?” from the personable lady behind the bar.  They have a nice selection of mouth-watering hot dishes and a full bar, with some nice Hop Valley on tap including the seasonal Bad Tempered Gnome, an excellent brew for those of us that love and appreciate a dark-natured ale.

For such a tiny place, the sound was absolutely lovely.  It might have something to do with the unfinished wood walls, aided by its unique floorplan – not quite an L, almost a Z-shaped layout.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and, now that we know where to find it, will be looking forward to coming again to see live local music.

We really didn’t know what to expect with either of these bands – but seeing as how we’d never been to Luckey’s for a show either, we figured all bets were on!  So without further ado, we give you…

Leaves Russell (Matthew Russell – vox/keys; Isaac Medina – bass; Thacher Schmid – strings/vox; Jackson Conrad – drums)

                       

Wow – where do I even start?!! This four-piece band from Portland blew us away… First, I have never heard or seen a band that plays progressive/alt rock that didn’t have a lead or rhythm guitarist, but Thacher’s strings are far and away some of the best lead riffs I’ve heard.  If you could put Transcending Maya with This Patch of Sky, and then add a little Forever Growing into the mix, you might see a shadow of what this band gave us.

Matt’s vocals are pure honey, with a range that goes from sultry to raw power, and his proficiency on the keyboards was simply beautiful.  Jackson’s drums alternated between pounding and a sweet, simple foundation, and Isaac’s bass (both electric and standing) was a different kind of perfection, running a steady stream of dark melodies like the undercurrent of a river that you just wanted to drown in.  And seriously?  He makes love to and with his standing bass, swaying and weaving with it – it was… hot!

Thacher’s backup vocals were perfect, blending so seamlessly with Matt’s lead vocals that you could hardly tell where one started and the other came in.  And his work on the strings (violin and what they called a “mini-guitar” – it wasn’t a dulcimer or mandolin, I’m not sure what the actual definition of that instrument is!)… I don’t know where to begin.  If I say that they were hot and bright and hard and completely amazing, that wouldn’t even come close to adequately describing it.

The combination of the vocals with the keyboards and violin was haunting, evocative of your darkest fantasy – just lovely.  Their songs run from funk to eclectic to light-hearted stomps.  I bought a CD – it’s become my new obsession!  Find them on Facebook and ReverbNation.  Truthfully – I think their live work completely outshines their studio album – check out this recent video from Portland’s Hawthorne Theatre:

Scott Austin and The Everyone’s Band (Scott Austin: acoustic guitar, lead vocals; Ben Klenz: drums; Joe Intile: bass, backing vocals; David Michael Frank: electric guitar, backing vocals; Erik Berg-Johansen: violin)

     

What a great group of guys outta Eugene!  They were lively and tight, with Scott on acoustic guitar and lead vocals.  Erik’s violin was an interesting addition to this grassroots jam band.  Folks were immediately out on the floor, struttin’ and cuttin’ moves – even the folks playing pool were bobbing and weaving.  Scott reminds me a bit of Bruce Springstein and Bob Seger – not so much in sound but just his energy, as his music comes shooting straight from the heart.  He has this magnetism that pulls you in to the party!

And it was fun to see Robert Meade (who recently opened for Floater at the WoW Hall), snapping pics and cuttin’ it up on the floor as well – got to say hi and get a hug, always a treat!  Also note – Scott’s guitar is NOT pink as it looks in the photos – not sure why the stage lights were pretty much off for their set, but his guitar is a natural blond wood, not pink!!  And me without my fedora too – man, I really shoulda worn it…

The backup vocals by David were nice, and his riffs were well done too.  I really liked Erik’s violin work with the guitars, it made for a great combination.  Scott’s lyrics are easy to understand, speaking of things that everyone can relate to, and the composition of his music is just pure fun.  I think most of his previous work has been solo, with a band backing him being a fairly recent addition.  With the addition of the Everyone’s Band, it just brought up the exponential element of his work.  We especially liked the title track from his recent EP, “Into The Light.”

And damn – he looks good in jeans and a black tee!  Find Scott here:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000696684928&sk=info; http://scottaustin.bandcamp.com/

Spotlight – Luckey’s Club Cigar (933 Olive Street, Eugene, Oregon)

This was our first visit to this venue, one of Eugene’s oldest establishments.  Walking in, it felt warm and inviting – we could still almost smell and see the blue cigar smoke haze from times past.  I think they must have the longest bar of any club I’ve ever been in!  The club is big and dark and feels very much like a place where you wanna just put your feet up and have a cold (or hot – depending on the weather) beverage.  With a full bar, you could easily spend most of an afternoon or evening perfectly content.  They have three pool tables, with tables and seating scattered throughout the club, as well as several black leather couches close to the stage and a huge dance floor area.  The house sound was excellent, and the stage, while deceptively small, has enough depth to allow folks room to move while performing onstage.  We definitely liked this club and are looking forward to coming back soon!