Part Two (Tomato)
When you see the same old people playing the same old tunes you perhaps begin thinking Pensacola Beach is where good music goes to get old and die. On the other hand, Pensacola Beach is where retirees go to get tanned while they listen to said music before they die, so perhaps the point is moot. Of course, my rather dry sense of humor may not translate the irony of it all.
What is surprising is when those same old tunes are done well by talented and hardworking club circuit musicians, it can be a deeply spiritual experience. Great music can move you to tears. For that matter, so can really bad music!
I hope you are laughing by now. It's not easy writing blogs that inform and educate, which also drip ire.
The point is I used to be one of those people in one of those bands. So I know exactly how it feels to work under extreme temperatures and lose 10 lbs from sweating like Niagara Falls. Some days if it wasn't for the beer I drank, I'd have nothing left in the tank (hey, that rhymes!) for the gig. [Inside scoop: Gatorade just doesn't cut it sometimes]. All those professional musicians make it look too easy. But for the rest of us working stiffs, hard work at music is still better than hard work at a dead end job. And that's why we do it. Niagara Falls and all.
When you've seen as much music and played out as much as I have [and there are seriously talented folks around here who've logged tens of thousands of gigs to my thousand], you begin thinking about bucking trends. Like twisting your master volume knob, that little voice in the back of your head keeps getting a little louder one gig after another, until it screams. "I WANNA ROCK!"
In Destin, it was the same for me. When I first came out here after college, I played "Rollin' On The River", Ike & Tina Turner style with Caroline Majure. Of course, we used simulated horns Greg hooked up to his guitar (see Roland guitar synth). And Caroline, well, let's just say her talent was unparalleled. I've never worked with someone who had so much finely tuned theatrical impact. Her moves had moves. And she sang like an angel. If you're in Destin, great catch, for sure. Go see her. Caroline made all of that Motown stuff seem so cool because she delivered the goods. There was nobody better.
But 20 years and a few thousand hours of gig time later on Pensacola Beach, we have Tomato. When I went to see "Tomato" at Paradise Bar & Grill, Rollin' on the River was the first tune I caught. And it brought back memories of Caroline. We used to open with that song. The song's locked into my memory and that's where my mind went.
Let's talk Tomato.
Keep Going When Things Go Right
Things go wrong. you can do two things. You can make a big deal out of it, or you can move on.
But when things go right, you just keep going. Enter "Tomato" a group who's worked so hard that they created a pocket they can lean back into, like the back of a comfortable chair. In the 25 second video below you'll hear what they mean when they say, "They make it look easy." They really do. Just lean back and enjoy the easy chair.
The music is well placed, vocals are on pitch and the whole band works together. The quality of sound is based on solid instrumentation and sound reenforcement. They've got it right. And they know it.
Do you hear that mix? Just wow! When I heard this band, I couldn't believe they set all this up with no sound guy! Just amazing mix. Nobody too loud, nobody too quiet. Just great. Vocals aren't boomy, and the lead vocal is brassy enough to be her own horn section. They could've used a little more bass, but I could hear high hats and everything. Very awesome, indeed.
When you come to the beach and relax, you should have great musicians to listen to. Tomato has them. The band worked very well together. Respect, for sure. Even during a mid-song guitar swap, the band kept going. Not everyone can pull this off. Me included. I've blown a string in a fair share of gigs and had to stop and restring. I tried telling jokes or add a human interest story, but I ended up sounding like an AMWAY salesman. This is why I went to a fixed bridge guitar system instead of a whammy bar system: in case I broke a string, I could still play in tune (mostly) until the next song.
Deborah Krantz is the lead singer. She definitely kept people interested in her voice. Her vocal chops were measured and well placed (judicious vocal chops are important in my opinion). And you can tell that she takes great care with her voice. That large massive throaty sound you get from the likes of Bon Jovi and Elton John these days weren't noticeable at all. That was great! But she also wasn't topping out at upper registers either. Solid, well-placed song choices done very well. And the crowd was moving to the grooving. Yep, Tomato knows their audience.
Again, I didn't feel like I was being drawn into the show. I was watching, and that was okay. Still, I want the singer to bring me in, not just by giving me vocal runs. Not saying Tomato bad, just saying my mind is polluted by Caroline Majure and so I'm biased by her stage presence. I hope to see more engaging bands as time goes by. I'll likely see some rockers pretty soon. Perhaps they could throw down some engagement.
What is engagment you ask? Here is Donny Osmand as Peacock! Donny Osmond is a prodigy, but oh, what we can learn from him.
So you've read my takes on just two of the many cover bands out here. The competition is stiff. Is there is room for an original act? Something special? Is there room out here for something nobody's seen before? Would something on the level of Michael Jackson work out here?
While I'm not sure how new music would go over, it has my curiosity. Typically, you do cover music, build a following and then do original music. I wonder what would happen if someone changed the equation a bit and just came out with a big bang!
Well, if you're still reading my blog, you know my opinion. And to actually play in a band that brings you new music is a goal I want to check off my bucket list. I can't wait to get started. I do hope to find very talented folks who can help pull it off. What fun!
And as we get going here, you'll be in on the scoop from the get go. Let's see what shakes out, huh?
What do you think? Here's a link to a new tune I'm working on.
Love & Rockets,