Battle of the Bands
The crowd was humming in Indian Lake on Friday, May 7th, 2010 anticipating the kickoff of the second annual Battle of the Bands sponsored by the Adirondack lakes Center for the Arts and the Indian lake Theatre.
Five bands slated to compete for the coveted title of winner and defending champions the Long Lake Razz Jazz Band were determined to keep their mantle.
First up on the roster, Jason Hall, a singer-songwriter from Long Lake, NY. His band consists of his Ensoniq Keyboard and 88 keys. Jason started the evening off as solo on the Indian Lake theater stage performing a song called “Don’t Fall Awake’” written about his young son. Friday evening marked the first night Jason’s son was in the audience to watch and hear him. The lyrics of “Don’t Fall Awake’” enlist images of a father protecting his child and the haunting line “I’m with you wherever you are” showcased the connection between father and son.
After song number one concluded Jason lightened up the audience, “my band is kind of shy, it fell into my keyboard,” An audience member shouted out’ “Free the band!” and Jason did as he rocked the house with country tune about a father and son discussing the birds and the bees while fishing. Lyrics mention “have the talk that got away” Voices of Dad and son, the Dad assuring the boy, “someday you will’” A six year old in the audience, listening to the lyrics honed in on the fishing angle of the story stating “I remember when I caught my first fish, it was a sunfish” illuminating it was definitely a family friendly evening.
Jason’s final son “Someday Son’” was dedicated to Wayne Austin, a longtime Long Lake resident who recently passed away. No dry eyes in the house after that.
Jason’s songs are truly stories, his voice deep and rich also lifts up into the sky as he pours his heart out, his passion for singing and songwriting is not to be missed. Check out his facebook music page or find him on myspace.
The second band called themselves’ “Creative Differences,” and they also hailed from Long Lake. The minute the band took over the microphone you knew we were in not just a musical showcase, but a comedy routine between two brothers. One exclaiming, “I thought we were supposed to dress up for this, but you look like your going to finish yardwork” Mike Nerney quickly responding, “you like you are going to an Amish wedding’” The family band, consisting of Mike Nerney on acoustic guitar, his brother (sorry didn’t hear his name) on electric guitar, Mike’s wife Camille, tambourine and backup vocals and Long Lake high school senior, Colleen Nerney on electric bass, warmed up the crowed with “Mess ‘O Blues” The revved the crowd up with their energy and strumming. The second song, a tune by Simon and Garfunkel called “Richard Corey’” harkened back to darker days and Colleen sang a lyrical back up, showcasing the comfort this family must have, jamming out on the porch in the summer time. They take their music seriously, and definitely have fun sharing it with each other. The final song originally written by Alex Chilton and the Box Tops, covered by Joe Cocker called’ “The Letter” rounded out their energetic set.
The next group called themselves the “Traveling Blueberries” because “Wilbury was already taken’” hailed from Indian Lake and Old Forge. Three diverse acoustic guitar players kicking off their set with the Spanish flavored “Ciablo Diablo’” a long incredible instrumental introduction followed by vocals. Their second song was a crowd pleaser, “Take It Easy’” by the Eagles and the crowd joined in and sang along.
Third band up, another Long Lake export, The Yod Squad, led by Yod Crewsy, guitarist, former member of the Splat Cats, Jacklords and Dark Marbles from Buffalo NY, with Steve Signell on lead guitar, Brian Beaudin on bass and Seth Hart a student at Long Lake Central School on drums took the stage. Yod explained their first song on the roster originally appeared on a vinyl 45 and he questioned if the audience even knew what that was. The band jammed out to “Revolution” by the Beatles and got the crowd rocking. Yod sang leads and Steve Signell jumped in to do background. Seth Hart owned the drum with his “stick tricks” marinating a strong beat and big energy. One audience member commented about Yod, “I’ve never seen him in jeans before, where are his purple running shorts?”
Second song up was “Stray Cat Strut’” led by Steve Signell claiming he admired this song from the early years of MTV. Yod Crewsy harmonized.
The third song was an incredible rendition of Guns and Roses “Sweet Child of Mine,” haunting leads kicked off by Signell. Brian Beaudin, music teacher at Long Lake looks like an all-american guy, but he was definitely owning Axl Rose as he hammered out the powerful lyrics. The building was shaking and buzzing, the reverb echoing off the walls. Signell broke a string, but the show powered on. The band kicked up the competition and electrified the crowd with their own wall of sound.’
The final band, defending champions, The Long Lake Razz, gathered on the stage. The audience was definitely loaded with fans, it helps when there are at least 15 members in the band. They busted out their first song, “ Eye of the Tiger” and the six year old sitting next to me (ok my kid) put her hands over her ears and complained’ “ I heard this song everyday in the lunch room and it’s driving me insane” But the band rocked it, they were tight. Horns, sax, keyboards and drums creating their own jazzed up energy.
Mr. B (Brian) and Seth Hart of the Yod Squad also performed with the Long Lake Razz and for their second song, Mr. B changed from his Yod Squad tee-shirt into his Long Lake Razz T-shirt before he got kicked out of the band. Other songs performed by the Long Lake Razz included a medley of “Orinoco Cocoa/Rumba Latina” and the finale “Say What” ending with a powerhouse drum solo by Seth Hart.
After excellent banter by Indian Lake Theatre representative Ben Strader and Executive Director of the Arts Center, Stephen Svoboda, ballots were collected and counted and the winner was announced.
Competition was tough and the winning band, by one vote, “The Yod Squad”
It was a great evening, great talent, multi-generational, kids to grandparents, playing together. It was an opportunity to learn about cultural events coming up this summer in our region including the much anticipated Summer Theatre festival and the importance of supporting the arts with membership and participation to keep them vibrant and alive. Please donate to both organizations to keep the arts alive in the Adirondacks.
Congrats to the Yod Squad (and don’t tell them that two members of the Razz forgot to turn their votes in to count… oops)