Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fruition, The California Honeydrops, and Gipsy Moon at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, CO on 1/22/2016

Scott Morill, the co-owner of Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom celebrated his birthday by having three spirited bands perform. The party sold out the 900 capacity venue. Audiences and the musicians appreciate Morill's efforts to keep the historic building alive. It's in the old Casino Cabaret located in 5 Points that dates back to the 1930's. Everybody from Benny Goodman, James Brown, and BB King has played there. Jack Kerouac described it his book "On the Road." It reopened as Cervantes' in 2003. I am geeking out on the history because it was the first time I attended a show there.



Fruition
Fruition is a self described Folk-Rock American Soul Blues Band based out of Portland, OR.  The three singers Jay Cobb Anderson, Kellen Asebroek, and Mimi Naja took turns leading the band though a mixture of soulful originals and classic rock covers. Mimi Naja wore a backward baseball hat and a tank top that read "Don't Worry Be Yonce." (Thank goodness because I was worried. I was in 5 Points.) She played the mandolin with an impressive bluegrass style that was a perfect fit for their cover of Led Zeppelin's "Hey Hey What Can I Do." Naja seemlessly switched to electric guitar on Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good." Since they recently recorded an EP in Colorado, Fruition has many ties to the local music scene. Many of their musician friends joined them on stage throughout the night to celebrate. They ended their first set with the Colorado inspired, "Meet Me on the Mountain." I left before the second set because it was one in the morning and I am old.

The California Honeydrops
Before Fruition took the stage, The California Honeydrops set the festive atmosphere. They describe their sound as Street Corner Soul, Roots, Delta Blues, Bay Area R&B, and New Orleans Style. (These bands like long descriptions.) Lech Wierzynski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland and raised by Polish political refugees, lead the Oakland, California Band through a fun set of sexually charged songs entitled "Like You Mean It," "Pumpkin Pie," and "Ride It Like a Pony." Playing the trumpet and singing, Wierzynski was ecstatic because this was the largest Colorado Audience the band had played. Stepping out from the drum kit Johnny Bones dressed in a vintage Denver Nuggets Jersey switched to the washboard. This changed their sound to a New Orleans Style making it even more of a party. They will be opening up for Bonnie Rait in March.

Gipsy Moon

Gipsy Moon started the night's celebration by playing their haunting gypsy style of folk music. They are a local band out of Nederland, CO. Andrew Conley's cello playing made the four piece have a remarkably spacious tone.  He played standing up with only the help of a brace on his back. The last time I saw the band was when they opened for DeVotchka on Halloween dressed as the Addams Family. The band was out of costume this time, but singer Mackenzie Page did have on a witch inspired hat. Making everyday Halloween.


Photo by The Rock and Roll Princess



After Frution's first set, it was announced a Soul Train Dance Line was about to start. Security parted the crowd with a open space to start the dance line. At that point, Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. (Pretty young Thing) played over the PA.  Since the audience was either too young or too stoned to know what a Soul Train Dance Line was, they just closed up the space and danced ... badly.  That's when it was time for me to leave.

See you at the next show.