Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tina Schlieske at The Mint and Kristy Kruger at Genghis Cohen.

So it was like this… There's this singer with a voice as powerful as a small atom bomb. But she lives/tours in Minnesota. What are the chances she'll find her way out to L.A. And there is this woman with long hair and a kazoo who captured our attention in Austin with her unique style and who's last CD was one of my biggest and happiest surprises last year. But she lives in Dallas. What are the chances she'll find her way out to L.A. But last night Tina Schlieske was the opening act for the monthly Sin City concert at The Mint and Kristy Kruger had her CD release party at Genghis Cohen's. If that isn't a big enough coincidence, when I saw Kristy in Austin, she was one of the opening acts for a Texas version of Sin City.

Okay, here's the plan: Tina is going on at 8PM and Kristy goes on at 9PM "Sharp". An email to Shilah, who runs the Sin City shows confirms that Tina will be on no later than 8:15. The Mint is 2.5 miles from Genghis Cohen. I CAN DO THIS!

The evening started out great; finding a parking space a block from The Mint. The staff there is very friendly and obviously love the music. Stephanie, my bartender that night, was bouncing around and couldn't wait for the music to start. On Stephanie's suggestion I had the Filet Mignon Slider; a burger made with fresh ground filet mignon and piled high with, uhmmm, stuff. What a treat, and it stayed with me all night.

Sin City is a alt-country/Americana showcase and Tina Schlieske doesn't exactly fit. But man can she sing; which is probably why she was added to the show. Opening with just her singing over her guitar, the song slowly built until the whole band (which includes her sister Laura on backing vocals… Okay, it is a family thing 'cause her sister has a great voice too!) was cooking on all burners and Tina's voice was exploding on top of it. Tina's songs are rock with some white soul and a bit of country thrown in. It's a very Midwestern sound and it works well around her soaring vocals. The performance, which ran about 45 minutes, focused on music from her current CD "Slow Burn"; one of my favorite indie releases last year. For someone who has several CDs out, she seemed a bit timid when talking to the audience (called us "Ladies and Gentleman" several times), but her performance proved that the CD isn't a fluke. She's got the talent. Tina can be found at:

With one song left in Tina's show, I ran out of The Mint, , and jumped in my car for the long 2.5 mile drive down Fairfax to Genghis Cohen; . I gave myself 15 minutes, but there was plenty of traffic on Fairfax on a Friday night. Arriving only a few minutes late, I was still able to get a seat before Kristy started. The place was packed. I've never been to GC when it was filled up. The poor waitress (don't know her name, but she is always there. You can't miss her with her blond pigtails and artwork all over her back) was covering the entire room. There were 3 shows there that night, and not everyone was there to see Kristy, but they were a good and sometimes enthusiastic audience. Kristy opened with a story, actually a nightmare, about what could happen to her this night. It was a multi-part dream in which everything that you couldn't imagine would go wrong; finishing up with the sound guy cutting off the sound and calling her a bitch. Luckily for her and us, none of it came true. With her 4 piece band behind her (Upright bass, acoustic guitar, steel guitar and for the last half of the set banjo), Kristy ran through most of her new CD, (I love this title!) "Songs from a dead man's couch". She played acoustic guitar throughout, sang into a bullet for about half of the show (gives it a 40's quality) and not only pulled out a harmonica for the closer, "Gold Rush", but even got the kazoo out. Her sound is hard to pinpoint. Take a bit of the current Sam Phillips, throw in a dash of Tom Waits, it's a bit jazz with a country beat, and all singer/songwriter. The new songs seem to be about the loneliness of the road and about striving to find "gold". Kristy Kruger is young and strong. And she will need to be because she is taking the road less traveled and we are all very grateful for it. Find out more about Kristy at and you can get her new CD at .

On my way out the door I heard one of her band members say they were headed out to Largo to see Jon Brion. It was only 10pm… Hmmm…

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