|Vol. XXVI, No. 24
November 25 - December 8, 2002|
These artist reviews can also be found in the current paper
edition of Music Connection magazine.
By: Bernard Baur
John McGill: Compassionate singer/songwriter with
Contact: Pres Pak PR, 310-532-9448
The Players: John McGill, vocals, guitar; Ralph Torres,
Material: This singer/songwriter is a throwback to the
days of sensitive troubadours who sang tales of life, love and the
human condition. Part folk, part rock and all truth; John McGill is
an absorbing artist with a dynamic delivery. Along with his
songwriting partner, Ralph Torres, McGill covers everything from
subjects as serious as homelessness to silly little ditties like
“Entangled,” which he dedicated to the stage cables. Though some of
his tunes have a dated sound, most are compelling stories that
overcome any musical deficiencies. For the most part, this is a
songwriter whose material is smart, compassionate and
Musicianship: For a duo, these artists create a dynamic
soundscape. With flowing rhythms pouring from McGill and rhythmic
beats coming from Torres, this pair frequently manages to sound as
if they are a full band. Although a few tunes could benefit from
additional players to fill out the sound, the arrangements and
structures appear to be written perfectly for two –– resulting in
fully realized songs. McGill leads most of the vocals, but both
artists have expressive voices. Together, however, they really hit
paydirt, with harmonies that are golden.
Performance: McGill projected a warm, laid back
personality that drew in the patrons at this small lounge. He often
had a back-story to go with a song that gave the set a storyteller
feel. Humor laced many of his tales, like when he indicated that he
suffers from a “bad hair life.” This approach quickly got the crowd
into his songs and gave the show an intimate down-home vibe.
Summary: John McGill is a singer/songwriter who makes
simple songs seem big. Folk-rock in essence, but epic in scope,
McGill’s material is insightful, poignant and funny. Indeed, he hits
major emotions with such a skilled touch that his listeners are put
at ease and become part of his world.
By: Scott Perham
Kanary: Catchy songs brought to life by impressive
vocals and bass lines.
The Players: Leslie Knauer, vocals, guitar; Mary Kay,
bass, backup vocals; Tony Matteucci, drums.
Material: Intertwining bass-heavy songs with elemental
guitar hooks and an expressive vocal style, Kanary’s approach to
rock & roll is noticeably similar to that of the old-school rock
trio, Concrete Blonde. Though the guitar work at times appears
bland, the impressive bass lines effectively maintain the listeners’
attention during the instrumental portions of the songs. Knauer’s
raspridden voice remains in the forefront of the material, reaching
its emotional peak in the catchy chorus of the stand-out song,
Musicianship: Blending simple background beats with
intricate lead lines, Kay’s instrumental agility on bass serves as
the cornerstone of Kanary’s musical foundation. Though Knauer
presents herself as a captivating lead vocalist, her basic chord
combinations and lackluster leads don’t provide enough originality
to warrant only one guitarist in this project. Serving as the pulse
of the performance, Matteucci’s simple drum beats combine with the
basic guitar chords to form solid, stripped-down grooves.
Performance: Around the horn, each member of the band
displayed a genuine connection with the music that kept all eyes on
the stage. Grimacing into their microphones, both Knauer and Kay
sang with a conviction that fueled the set with energy. Though both
ladies could have been more physically animated, they displayed
enough bodily movement to keep the audience entertained.
Summary: Kanary present a batch of catchy songs that are
brought to life with a raw level of emotion. However, the structure
of their material screams for an additional instrument. The
incorporation of an additional lead over the current guitar and
drums could bounce off of Kay’s intricate bass lines and beef up
By: Bernard Baur
Jugulur: Pumped up, blood boiling, fundamental
Contact: Charlie Walters, Mgr., 909-875-2889
The Players: Paul DePillow, lead vocals; Ash, guitar;
Monster, bass, backup vocals; Jim Cram, drums.
Material: This Inland Empire act threw a horror-driven
metal bash, complete with skulls, crossbones and a bass player named
“Monster.” It’s as if Andrew W.K. and Alice Cooper put a silly-scary
fun-loving party band together and called it Jugulur. Musically,
this group is a throwback, with an old-school style and a
straight-up approach. But, that doesn’t make them any less effective
than the nu-metal acts currently so popular. In fact, Jugulur’s
songs pumped the crowd as hard as fists pumped the air.
Musicianship: A huge wall of sound emanates from this
band, with a large part of it being DePillow’s vocals. He screams
like he’s projecting from the depths of hell, managing to exorcise
demons as well as his pain. Monster’s bass is an imposing presence
that hammers the beats into every song, along with Cram who nails
the rhythms down with his double-bass rig. Ash adds that perfect
Seventies guitar edge, spitting out riffs that are Kiss-like in
execution, but as fast as Slayer. Tight and taut, this crew is
fundamental metal, with no excuses or compromises.
Performance: In-your-face headbangers, Jugulur know how to
rile up a room. Constantly goading their audience, they had the
crowd running in circles they were so hyped up. DePillow was not
above challenging the craziest fans to even greater heights,
resulting in some members of the audience losing all control and
going virtually nuts –– pumping the air, knocking their brains
against their skull and shouting expletives.
Summary: They’re not original, but they are entertaining
–– and on top of that, Jugulur is an excellent band. Their
traditional metal will always live and have a fan base ready to eat
it up. And, this act is a great example of what bands can do with a
simple form of music. It may not be fancy or new, but it sure gets
your blood boiling.
By: Jana Summers
Los Pinguos: Crossover, Spanish-flavored rock with a
catchy and unique style.
Contact: Los Pinguos 213-380-0413, 323-441-8733,
The Players: Jose Agote, vocals, guitar; Adrian Buono,
vocals, guitar; Enzo Buono, guitar; Juan M Leguizamon, drums,
percussion; Juan Manzur, guitar.
Material: Los Pinguos moved out to Los Angeles from
Argentina early last year and has already managed to attract a
pretty large fan base in the city of starving artists. They began
playing regular performances at the Third Street Promenade in Santa
Monica and are now able to fill the Temple. Los Pinguos plays
high-energy Latin music that appeals to a very wide range of musical
tastes. The band mixes salsa, reggae, and Caribbean rhythms into
upbeat, more than danceable songs.
Musicianship: Los Pinguos is a five-piece band with four
men playing guitar and the fifth on drums and percussion. It is
surprising that they have only been together for two years, because
they have a sound so tight it comes together like a finely tuned
instrument. They supplement their acoustic rhythms with vocal
harmonies, singing passionate poetry that pays tribute to their love
of the land and sense of humanity.
Performance: The Los Pinguos players had as much fun on
the stage as the audience did on the dance floor. They were full of
smiles and positive energy. The exchange between them was one of
camaraderie. In fact, these musicians seem to be playing for the
love of the music, not for the prospect of fame or money.
Summary: In a similar fashion to the Latin performer Manu
Chao, Los Pinguos has a catchy and unique style that appeals to more
than just a Spanish-speaking audience. While Los Pinguos draw much
inspiration from the traditional music of Argentina, they bring many
other influences into their music that makes it stand on its own.
HOW TO GET
No phone calls * No demos * No
e-mailing the office please!
Mail a package to the MC
offices Attention: Club Reviews
Please Include:Mail To:
- 1 or 2 live photos
- 1 or 2 lines describing your music
- A schedule of upcoming live shows
Music Connection Att: Club Reviews
4215 Coldwater Canyon, Studio City, CA 91604
©2002 Music Connection Inc.