Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for March 6, 2011: "ROCK ON!"

Dude, it was totally rocking' in a knarly way last Sunday at The Salon! I don't know if I spelled knarly right…ah well…in any event, the rafters of Etcetera Etcetera were shaking last Salon, as Hey Guy (Boris Pelkh, Leo Pelekh, Tommy Shull and Daniel Jakubovic) co-hosted an evening of rock-inspired work.  They brought two guitars, an electric bass, and a percussion box with them to blast out songs of their own, and to accompany anyone who wanted to throw them into a piece.  They began by singing two tracks from their brand new CD "hey guy" - "In My Head" and "Always Wanted."  Their sound (at least with the current set up), mixed with Boris Pelkh's lead vocals, reminded me of Trent Reznor, Nirvana, and The Beatles all in one.

Raissa Katona Bennett then took the mic and, with Charlie Lindberg at the piano, swung her way effortlessly through "Make Someone Happy."  Another songstress with a classical style, Maureen Taylor, took the Carly Simon song "Coming Around Again" and artfully wrapped her silver tones around it.  Taking advantage of a familiar tune, Adam Shapiro next blasted through "Eat It!" (music by Michael Jackson, parody lyrics by Weird Al Yankovic) with Hey Guy and Mark Janas accompanying him - it was hilarious, but rocked my world at the same time!  Barb Malley then sang a beautiful folk-rock song (one I'd never heard before) entitled "Strong Woman Number" by Gretchen Cryer.  Next, another newly-becoming-a-Salon-regular Elaine St. George sweetly sang the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face."

We were then attacked by a series of singer-pianists, starting with Charles Lindberg, who created an instant singalong with "Build Me Up Buttercup" (how can you not try to sing the echo and harmony with this number?).  Throwing a touch of class into the mix, Stacey Ward MacAdams accompanied himself on the title song to Woody Allen's film "Everyone Says I Love You."  Stacey can next be seen in "Stacey Ward McAdams and Friends" at the Metropolitan Room  on March 30th at 7pm.  Next, Bill Zeffiro brought in yet another Randy Newman song, "I Want You To Hurt Like I Do."  Bill will be hosting his very own open performance venue each Tuesday night, 8-11pm, at San Martin on 49th Street!

Then, in a blatant attempt to thumb her nose at the whole proceedings, Etceterette Jan Brennan threw her arms up and defiantly belted out "I'm Singing Broadway," which...well...rocked!!!  Blogette Sierra Rein (that's me) then invited Hey Guy up to swing the pendulum back with Janis Joplin's "Move Over."  This song is from Marquee Five's show, "8-Track Throwback," which will perform at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on March 26th, 4pm, and will hopefully be a CD (pre-order and help us fund the CD at by March 31st!).  Hey Guy stayed onstage as Producer Tanya Moberly ripped through "Black Dog," a perfect song for her vocal prowess - it was sexy and absolutely rockin'.

For this week's Classical Corner, Mark invited Hey Guy and Stephen Wilde (who arrived just in time from a long plane trip) to explore how rock has been inspired by classical music over the past 50 years or so.  The Beatles, obviously, came from a classical approach, and often utilized harmonies, orchestrations (think of the string quartet in "Eleanor Rigby"), and other elements from classical origins in their rock songs.  Mark pointed out that songwriters like Barry Manilow would inspired by entire chord progressions from Classical composers like Chopin.  He played a bit of Chopin's "E minor Prelute" and then tied it into the modern rock band Radiohead.  Stephen Wilde then took the guitar and lead vocals and, with Hey Guy, sang Radiohead's "Breathe" from the film version of "Romeo and Juliet" - a song that quotes the same Chopin prelude!  It was a beautiful rendition, and closed the first half of the evening.

After the break, Hey Guy rushed the stage, grabbed their guitars, and smashed them against the piano! Nah, they didn't but they did play an excellent set of three songs. They started out with "How Long" from their new CD "hey guy." Then, Boris replaced Tommy at the piano and sang through a new song not found on the CD, "You." They completed the set with "Something's Coming" from their CD. One thing I noticed was that the guys were able to switch instruments effortlessly - Boris sang lead vocals, played guitar and piano, and Daniel and Leo switched from bass to guitar to percussion without hesitation!  You can find the CD "hey guy" on iTunes!!!

After Hey Guy, the tall and lovely Marnie Klar brought in some 80's rock/pop nostalgia with Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time," in a lovely slower piano ballad version (and Daniel jumped in on percussion right at the lyric "The drum beats out of time"- it was great!).  Marnie will showcase her work in a full set at the University Glee Club's "Afterglow" next Thursday, March 24th. After Marnie, Adam Shapiro returned with "When Will I Hold You Again?" by Barry Manilow (p.s. "soon" was Boris' answer...). Maureen Taylor, with Bill Zeffiro at the piano, sang "To Make the Boy A Man" from Goodbye Charlie, then Barb Malley (again with Mr. Zeffiro playing) sang "I Get Along Without You Very Well" by Hoagy Carmichael. Bill then stayed at the piano to sing his work, "The Final Daze," a song that should always be accompanied by something on the rocks. Stephen Wilde, again with Hey Guy backing him up, sang a full-bodied "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead

Next, the second Janis Joplin song of the evening, "Piece of My Heart," was rocked out by Elaine St. George, and Sierra Rein sang Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich's rock comedy song "Fifteen Pounds (Away From My Love)." Marnie Klar returned to vamp through Tori Amos' "Leather" (imagine Betty Boop singing Tori Amos, sexy and cute!). Hey Guy grabbed their instruments and did two final songs for the end of the evening - the first, an amazing cover of late R&B singer Aliyah's "If I Let You Go." The second, the track "Let It Out" from their CD, was a great rock anthem, and the band encouraged the audience to sing in multi-harmony with the chorus - a fabulous, huge and totally rockin' sound to end the night on!

TONIGHT! Sunday the 13th, funny jazz lady Joan Crowe and uber-jazz pianist Dan Furman will co-host the evening. The theme is "Blues in the Night" so anything having to do with the night, the moon, the color blue, having the blues, or singing in the style of the blues will be great! But remember, off-theme material is always welcome too! See you then!

Tanya Moberly - "Black Dog"
Hey Guy and Stephen Wilde
Boris and Daniel
Tommy at the piano
Leo on bass

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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