Feb 28, 2010
House of Winehouse at Underground Wonderbar 2/26/10
House of Winehouse is an Amy Winehouse tribute band fronted by the talented Dana DeLorenzo. She grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and knew she wanted to be an actress before she was 10. She began her transformation as "Amy" when she entered a halloween contest dressed as the "Rehab" queen and spoke a few words at the mic in character. She won the contest and realized that she should make the full transformation by adding her vocal talents. She began in 2007 using Karaoke as her music backing but later met Ken Hunnemeder who is a guitarist and singer and they expanded the band. They now have a 6 piece, kick-ass jazz band backing the talented Dana. Her bandmates now include Charlie Drews on bass, Patrick Gunderson on drums, Jerry Mohlman on trumpet, Jay St. Germain on bari sax, and Ellis Seigerling on trombone. So now my review: Dana does an amazing Amy (whom I saw at the Vic a couple of years back). She sounds just like her and has all the mannerisms down. She did a fantastic job of staying in character for two sets without a hitch. At this show, Ellis did his own "Bill Withers" impersonation singing "Use Me" to the delight of the audience.
The best part is you can get a seat up close and really feel that you are seeing Amy Winehouse in an intimate setting. I fooled a few people with my flip camera footage into thinking I saw the actual Amy at the Wonderbar and had front row. Dana also provides comedic commentary in-between songs referencing Amy's addictions and abusive marriage. She quips about perhaps being bi-sexual or "wha-evah". I cannot say enough about the talents of the band. They have a great sound and really know their instruments. Dana and her bandmates also hung out after the show and are the nicest group of musicians you could want to meet. Dana was extremely humble and seemed to really appreciate the well-deserving compliments we gave her and the band.
As for the venue, The Underground Wonderbar is the same great dive it always was. The waitress was a doll too. You do have to walk past the band (while they are performing) to use the restroom which is a bit awkward (but well, necessary, if you have a small bladder like mine). We got there early but cover is normally $8 to see "House" if you mention the band. Oh, and do not forget the tip jar by the stage. The band makes almost nada and could really use the tips. I was appalled to learn how little they make. When you make your trip to the restroom, that would be a good time to drop some coin in the tip jar. Assuming an interest in Amy Winehouse's music remains, this group could go far as a tribute band. Check out their new website www.houseofwinehouse.com for gig dates and more. This show gets a 5 out of 5 guitar rating!