Feb 12, 2013

The New Standards at City Winery on February 6, 2013

The New Standards, a Minneapolis based musical "re-interpretation" trio, performed at City Winery in Chicago on February 6, 2013.  The opening act was Nora O'Connor (not reviewed here but worth seeing for sure!).  Take a look and listen to these talented and fun musicians, The New Standards, singing Crazy:

The trio is made up of John Munson as bassist and lead vocal (Trip Shakespeare/Semisonic) Chan Poling (The Suburbs) on piano and lead vocal, and Steve Roehm (Billy Goat/Electropolis) on vibes.  They have been together since 2005 with the original goal to play their favorite songs from every era. Many of their re-interpretations reveal an acoustically stripped down version of many popular songs, ranging from The Clash to Britney Spears, that one would never imagine renovated into interesting and sometimes improved upon jazz trio arrangements.  I found myself on one level duly impressed by their outstanding musicianship and on another level wondering if indeed these songs were all being made mockery of in a campy sense.  Having read information on their website (www.thenewstandards.com), it turns out that although they are at times very funny, they are truly serious about their re-workings of these songs, no campiness intended.  Vocally, they are clearly channelling a chimera of Bowie, Joe Jackson, with Neil Diamond flourish.  The musicianship was outstanding, amazing piano and bass and I have a new found deep respect for the vibes (xylophone if you prefer).  The use of double mallets was like no other.

The New Standards stated manifesto is "to keep songs alive beyond their original form".  This is delightfully accomplished, no worries.


I Will Dare (The Replacements)
London Calling (The Clash)
Sunday Morning Coming Down (The New Standards)
Hey Ya (OutKast)
Essence (Lucinda Williams)
I Scare Myself (Thomas Dolby)
The Book of Love (Peter Gabriel)
I'm Only Dancing (Bowie)
Crazy (Gnarls Barkley))
One (Harry Nielson song)
Mrs. Braintree (Trip Shakespeare)
Call Your Boyfriend (Robyn)
Toxic (Britney Spears)
Encore (Johnny Cash tune)

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