There are so many sides to this city’s music scene, if you but open your eyes a bit you’ll find them. I have a thing for bands fronted by piano players, but they never seem to stick around. The Emersen Band was a great local act that appeared and then vanished and since then I’ve been looking for something to take their place. I have been wanting to see Bedford Grove play for a while now and I finally had a friday night off and they were on stage at Anthology.
When I first arrived, local hip hop act, The Upstarts, were just taking the stage. I liked the music from the all star back up band, which had apparently been put together in a day for this show as they had lost one of their emcees, and Bedford Grove, who usually backed them up wasn’t available for rehearsals on short notice. I had to rub my eyes when I saw Zach Wheeler from Scarlet Symphony and Society!! playing bass. Truly one of this town’s better bassists. Price One had some good flow and rhymes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as turned on by their slightly off pitch vocalist. I felt that she was trying to bring Arrested Development back, and not in a good way.
I wouldn’t let this sour my mood, though, the next act would be worth it! Marc Gould seems full of effortless energy when he gets on the stage. “I don’t wanna see you sittin’, here we go, cut the music”, and it began. There was an immediate rush for the dance floor and I could tell the way he bounced on his Wurlitzer that he was in the pocket out of the gate. I really liked the scat over the upbeat jams in this first number, although back up vocalist, Ms. Lauren Paul, needs to somehow make herself more present. I felt that she could be louder and more active onstage.
When the second song came on with a latin flair, it was all Sean Sobash with his afro hairstyle and his rockin’ sneaks. He could hardly sit still and that just added to the melee. I enjoyed the way he wears his bass high up like a true jazz player. “We need to get these people some beer, they’re way too calm. It’s friday night!!” And the dance floor seemed to writhe to every syncopated beat. Drew Grethel had the audience in his hands with each hit on the skins. The next tune offered an answer call format where the horns really came out to play against Marc’s glossy keys.
“Jellybean” was the first of several sexy tunes that would be thrown our way. I thought this was sultry and playful. Andrew Saunders and Matt Davies filled the evening with an early Chicago feeling from their trombone and trumpet and helped balanced out the Maroon 5 side of things throughout the set. “Fire these days, fire in my life.” Marc’s got a soulful voice that harkens back to a younger and upbeat Donald Fagen. All the while overhead we were being subjected to odd imagery that did not befit the music. It would go from live footage to a stack of cannibalized skulls and then to geese flying over a verdant coniferous forest. Weird, to say the least and a bit distracting. The psychedelic landscapes were okay though and they probably should have focused on that.
The dance floor almost blew up when they played a slow and groovy Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” which bled into “Sir Duke”. This received the biggest applause of the night and it was well earned.
“This goes out to all you lovers out there who like to do dirty things” The song “In The Car” has all the elements of a racy lover’s ode that I really wanted to sway with my girl to. My only complaint here is that in the recorded video version they don’t actually say the "F" word and live they did. I preferred the allusion rather than the direct crassness. Maybe I’m just a bit old fashioned. These crazy kids are getting out of hand! Just kidding. “Lean your head back a li’l more, see the moon smiling down.”
They played a brand new song with a funky bass intro called “Fire”, which I thought had some promise for the next record. All the while the clubs lighting kept changing to somehow mesh with the feel of the music. I wished I could be down on the floor dancing instead of up here on the balcony with my notepad and pen. Blasted!!
The last song, “Rain”, played on as overhead, Napoleon Dynamite did his well known dance layered over a nighttime city scape. This was the coolest thing shown on the screen and it made me smile. Ms. Lauren came in with a an apt vocal crescendo, and finally showed what she was made of, then the band came in again and recaptured the funk.
The stage was adorned with a gas lamp street sign depicting the corner of Bedford and Grove which is where Marc spent some time in New York after his stint in Off By One. The time there must have done him some good because he came back to San Diego with a truer style and some great songs. Get a hold of their CD “Welcome To Our Side Of Town” and come out and dance sometime soon.
- City: San Diego
- Phone: 619-595-0300
- Performance: Bedford Grove
- Name: Anthology
- Address: 1337 India Street