Thursday, July 1, 2010


Sometimes I marvel that any musician can perform even adequately at the Groove on Grove gig. Hordes of commuters and pedestrians pass through the space, few of them bother to listen to the music. And, a lot of people lingering and supposedly there to enjoy the music can’t stop blabbing to each other. The din from the vehicular traffic doesn’t help the situation. I had to move around to get within decent earshot and away from the compulsive chatterers, but in the end I was glad I did. Kelly Saint Patrick, who is a proprietor of Alley Cat Gallery (last seen here) was performing. Her singing deftly melds the cool with the emotional. Her voice mainly flutters along the higher register then easily shifts from the delicate to full throated brass. She was able to create and sustain a mood of melancholy romance with a female folk-rock smoothness reminiscent of the Lilith-Fair, post-Suzanne Vega, 90s iteration of the genre. The set began with an astute showcase for KSP’s voice, Cindy Lauper’s sublime Time After Time. Accompanied by a guitarist, drummer and keyboard player on a set of mainly self-penned tunes, she was able to express the emotion of love and heartbreak. Most of the numbers had a jazzy inflection and a near-lounge music lilt, although the ensemble displayed the chops to rock out. One song aptly negotiated a Bo Diddly beat, and they superbly rocked out on the Lady Antebellum hit, “Need You Now.” Groove on Grove bands often play covers, but this was the first time I could recall a current hit being reprised. Mid-set, KSP performed a mini-acoustic set, a brave move considering all the ambient noise of the GOG setting. Yet she sustained the sweetly melancholic mood against the odds. Her guitar playing was pointed, but spare. These songs had a more subtle agenda emotion-wise, exploring the oft painful ambiguities of romantic love—“I don’t know what I would do without you, all I know is that I should…” a clear-eyed notion about empowerment—survival is not without its sadness, and sadness should not be feared. The over-bearing humidity of the days prior had dissipated and the weather turned windy. I noticed a lot more people lingering at the end of the set than the beginning. I wasn’t sure of the story being told, but the emotions expressed had universal appeal and the summer breeze reminded everyone of the recently departed spring.

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