Friday, July 21, 2006

The Section Quartet with Sam Phillips

I knew it was going to be one of those evenings, highs and lows, good and bad, when the asshole, I mean doorman at Largo informed us that Jessie, being underage would not be allowed to sit at the bar and that we would have to sit at a dinner table. “Since when”, I asked. “Uhmmm, since always”. Asshole. But he gave us a nice table that we shared with a very interesting couple. She was originally from Arkansas but now lives in L.A. He is a resident of New Zealand and a piano player making a CD. We had some great conversations about producers and music and… It was fun. After dinner I asked how they met. We got that immediate “looking at each other” bit, that couples sometimes do, and I knew it was going to be a cute story. They met… years ago in Yahoo’s Adrian Belew room and fell in love. How romantic is that? But talk about a long distance relationship.

Okay so after our second dinner of the night (did I mention that the doorman is an asshole?) Sam comes out with Eric (the leader of the Section Quartet) and starts to sing. I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! I still can’t believe it! She sang… You all know that I’ve been asking Sam to play it for the last two years. I even asked Eric to convince Sam to play it. And if you read my post from Sam’s last performance with her band a couple of years ago, you may remember that she had it on her set list that night and didn’t play it. Well tonight she opened with it. It being, “I Need Love”! I don’t believe she has performed it live in 10 years (someone correct me if I’m wrong). Now, back to the good and bad. Part way through the first chorus, she stopped singing and apologized. She found it foolish (I can’t remember the exact word she used) for her to be up there singing to us words like, “I need love”. And maybe that is why she hasn’t song the song in so long. Or maybe it is because she doesn’t sing notes that high anymore and she had a little trouble with them. Nevertheless, she finished up the song, which had a nice mid tempo beat and beautiful violin (it actually is that other violin like instrument that Eric plays) behind it. The song, which originally was so upbeat, still works at a slower pace. I was a very very happy camper. My daughter kept looking up at me as she was singing. She could see the big smile on my face. Jess did some great sketches of Sam and the Quartet. I will post some when she gets them scanned or redrawn for me. Sam was in a very happy/funny mood, telling a story about a woman driving with a hairdo that looked like she had a candle on her head and just basically joking around throughout the short set. The rest of her 5 song set is a blur. I was just so happy. And I swear as she started to sing “I Need Love” she looked at me and smiled. Okay, so I was just at that point where the artist may or may not be able to see me, but… The other highlight of this 5 song set was “Sister Rosetta Comes Before Us” (I may have screwed up the title… sorry). I remember hearing that one last year and it sounded good. It seems to be a bit more upbeat now and, well, it is getting me so excited about the upcoming release (it’s going to be a long wait).

As the Section Quartet was setting up on the stage, someone yelled out to the owner of Largo (who was about to introduce them), “We want more Sam”. And he says, “Stranger things have happened”. And sure enough, about half way through their set, Sam returned to perform 3 more songs. The most interesting of which was “When You’re Down”, mainly because it was now only backed with strings. The last band version of that song was so rockin’. This version was more subdued but still excellent.

The Section Quartet put on another amazing show. One of the highlights of the show was the Sex Pistols, “God Save The Queen”. When they do songs like this or “London Calling” or songs by Tool or Muse or even Iron Maiden (they did all of these last night), they rock better than most bands out there today. I’ve talked about the Section Quartet many times and I never get tired of seeing them in concert.

Sam left early so I didn’t get to talk to her, but Eric and Daphne hung around, as they always do. Eric took credit for “I Need Love”, telling me he pushed Sam into playing it. Thank you Eric! The Section have just signed with Decca and are going to put together a new CD. Meanwhile, they have released an EP on ITunes. The current work load caused Daphne to have to say “No” to Alejandro Escovedo, who asked her to join his tour. I’m sure that doesn’t happen to him a lot. Otherwise no new news from Sam. Hopefully she’ll keep playing live throughout the year.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that review, Bruce! Not much chance of Sam coming to Australia, so any reviews are doubly appreciated!

I think it's a "Stroh Violin" - the one with the horn?

Cheers - DC

Bruce Greenberg said...

Yes, a Stroh violin it is. I was too lazy to look it up. It has such a cool sound. Thanks for passing it on.

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen