Oct 1, 2013

Don't Stop Please at private house show in Wicker Park on September 29, 2013

 You know you are at the house when you find the red balloons...
The darkly lit "stage" created a chill atmosphere but hard to get quality film footage!  Very relaxing though.

I received an email from Bob, public relations guy for the Arkansas band Don't Stop Please inviting me to check out this on the rise band.  Don't Stop Please is releasing their first full length album on November 2nd.  Don't Stop Please, vetted initially through YouTube, is right up my alley.  When I get invites from managers/promoters wanting me to check out a heavy metal or punk band I have to question "have you seen my blog?".  This band is precisely what I like to see.  Don't Stop Please is in town this week performing at Heartland Cafe, Uncommon Ground, and Goose Island in a succession of nights.  Given my schedule I was free to check them out at an intimate house party in Wicker Park hosted by Kendall and Gavin, two 25+ year olds who are artsy music lovers themselves.  Gavin, also a singer-songwriter "opened" for Don't Stop Please by singing a song he wrote called "Monsters".  He was a strong and interesting vocalist and writer.   I would love to hear more from him.  Also opening was an interesting singer-songwriter, guitar and accordion playing duo called Dastardly, another local band.  The first song they performed reminded of Flight of the Conchords going out on a precarious limb to reach many falsetto notes.  Gutsy and risky but it was managed successfully.

A 3pm acoustic house show is an interesting and cozy way to hear live music.  I could not help but think that I would love for the band to play in my home too!  I can invite friends, have a party, and help promote some great talent.  The best part is a great musical experience in your home at no charge!  If I had a roof deck we'd really be set up. Food for thought.  The band set up in the living room while various friends and acquaintances of the hosts and band stopped by for a beer and a listen.  Don't Stop Please is a six member band playing a range of instruments including guitar, stand-up bass, keyboards, accordion, saxophone, banjo, ukulele and drums.  Several band members sang lead vocals and at times the entire band sang together providing lush harmonies.  Don't Stop Please performed practically in the dark in front of a draped from the ceiling sheet (providing privacy for the "bedroom" concealed behind it).  My one complaint would be not being able to see the band during the performance but this explains the dark video that will soon be attached to this blog.  The acoustics were quite nice however and the respectfully quiet audience thoroughly enjoyed the show.   Anna Horton, the only female in the band, has a fantastic soulful jazzy voice.  Having chatted with her pre-show she told me that Billie Holiday is one of her main influences.  She had not hear of Zee Avi but she reminded me of her.  Like Zee, Anna plays the ukulele and is able to sing the lyrics in a decidedly jazzy arrangement.  A true delight to listen to.  Don't Stop Please has compiled songs that range from melancholy and reflective to just plain fun.  The last song on their EP "Crowded Car" is a rap called "My Booty is so Luxurious" begging comparison to G. Love and Special Sauce due to it's clever word play.    They decided to end the set with this song which clearly had the small crowd entertained and laughing.  How could you not appreciate a lyric like "I got no aspirations but I sure got ass".

I highly recommend checking out Don't Stop Please on Facebook and YouTube.  I will be downloading personal video and photos shortly so check back!  Next time they breeze through town I hope I can book them at my house and throw a party.  I hope Bob is reading this (I promise a crowd!).

Here is a song called "Fire Palace, in the dark (due to no lights on not bad video quality). Impressive that they could play all instruments without being able to see (hence the expression "I could do ____ in my sleep it is so familiar to me").  I suggest having a good listen to the harmonies and chill sound. Maybe even light a candle!  This song is from the new full length release coming out in early November.  Get your copy!

This video is from another "house" performance really highlights Anna Horton's vocals and instantly sold me.

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