How does any musician celebrate his or her day of birth? By playing a kick ass show for friends and strangers alike, of course. My pal Ezekiel Jay had quite the turn out of balloons, cake, and adoration at Soda Bar on Monday night, and couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. Seriously.
Zeke, bassist Brock Smith, guest-guitarist John Langan (of Danny and The Tramp), and drummer Toby Ahrens took the stage with the enthusiasm and heart. For a girl who gorged herself on Jeff Buckley and emo stuff for years I surprise myself with how much I enjoy Ezekiel’s brand of upbeat rock. With songs like “I Feel Fabulous” and “Hummingbirds” – it’s the kind of stuff that makes you smile… and dance. Oh the dancing. Sadly, I’ve noticed a recurring theme at Soda Bar when it comes to bands having to tinker with the sound, not sure what goes on (since I’m a musical minion) but I hear the bands having to ask for a lot of changes from the sound guy. It’s a bit distracting but this group of good-natured guys seemed to take it in stride. Langan’s meandering guitar solos added flavor to Zeke’s already solid sound. Still hoping for some more backup vocals on these tunes, but overall a very good, high-energy show delivered by Ezekiel and the gang.
Next up was Not Machines. I was kinda hoping they would suck since my old ass was yawning in these waning hours of Monday night. Alas, they did not comply. An engaging set that offered powerhouse vocals and solid musicianship (is that a word?) kept me wide awake. “So Long” was the highlight for me, well-rounded with a drum beat I just can’t quit. I hate to make trite comparisons but they had an air of My Morning Jacket. Great finish to a great night of music and a birthday bash for a super great guy. PS you can pick up Not Machine’s 3 song EP “We All Want War” for $3 here. Highly recommended.
Hope to catch all these dudes again very soon.