You’re sitting in a hipster dive bar in a strip mall so obscure that its stores haven’t been Yelped, where the anchor tenant is offering eternal life through Jesus. In the parking lot, when you got here, a tow truck was hauling away a white pickup: the BMWs don’t come this far south in Scottsdale. There’s a drink in front of you on the table, the perfume of beer in the air, and a pale light on the minimal stage.
The opener’s just finished playing. His name’s Lee Perreira (site, Reverbnation, Facebook). His deal sounds like acoustic psychedelic funk, though he describes it as a jazz-rock fusion. He has a pedigree with an indie band that toured with bigger names, and thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, he has a new EP out. At one point, his acoustic guitar stops cooperating and his backing track goes right on without him, no real musical difference. He wears a plaid shirt and a newsboy cap, which — after the photo on his web site where he’s shirtless in a tuke — seems like a good thing. If you can’t live without his music, he’ll be the last-before-the-headliner act on a four-band bill at a different bar on Tuesday.
Then the headliner comes out: it’s two guys in white shirts and vests, one with a guitar, the other with a small arsenal of gear, including a banjo. They’re singing folk-rock. You expected that on a Friday night in an earnest hipster dive bar. The singer stands there with his guitar and sings with his eyes closed — no hand-slapping, no hip-swiveling, no jumping around — and though it’s not supposed to work that way and you’ve said many times that it doesn’t work that way, he is riveting on the sheer power of his joy and confidence in his music.
He loves the music that much. Also, it’s good music.
This is Lee DeWyze (site) at Pub Rock in Scottsdale on Friday night. I was positively not a fan until my first listen to his new album, Frames (track-by-track, with carrot caramel brownies), and I’m still a bit startled that he toured this far afield from his home turf. Come with me, and I’ll tell you about this show. Read the rest of this entry »