Seville Street Blues cracked open The Vault Martini Bar in Redlands, CA on March 30, 2013. The warm weather was perfect for an impromptu outside concert as the band set up behind the bar in the movie studio-like, old school alley outside the establishment. At approximately 9:00 p.m. the band, consisting of lead singer Laura Parmenter, guitarist David Vermillion, drummer Rick Johnson and bassist Barry Radford, opened with an original song titled “Love Hurts”.
The gig quickly took on the feel of a neighborhood block party in some nondescript city on a cool summer’s eve. The band would soon kick into an assortment of originals and covers including their version of Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” and Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally” which would soon draw people into a sing-a-long. But don’t expect a detailed playlist, mmmkay?
Regular readers know that while your rather reclusive writer is perpetually penned up he made a New Year’s Resolution to un-cuff himself from his laptop and brave the real world once in awhile. So as has been the case in the past, there won’t be any song-by-song analysis because your rockin’ reviewer was attempting to actually enjoy an event rather than over-analyze it or document it in detail.
The combination of nice weather, no cover and the band’s energetic, live music soon had a noteworthy number of patrons patrolling the place. There was quite a diverse audience including rockin’ repo men, jokers, smokers and midnight tokers. Before too long the crooked little alley was fairly filled on and off with dancing dolls and sauntering seniors and the audience’s age range spanned decades.
Black and white and yellow and brown. The whole rainbow had come to get down. One could easily spot lesbians and thespians, gays and straights and couples on dates.
The group’s covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Van Morrison’s “Moondance” while perhaps less individualistic continued to carry in quite a crop of memorable music-lovers. There were over-jaunty sea captains and undercover chaplains, leather clad ladies and a stripper named Mercedes. There were skinheads and pinheads, punk rockers and dudes in Dockers. There were even bar flies and married guys hitting hard on your randy reporter’s sexy sidekick Miss Sparks.
Everyone was brought together through the efforts of Seville Street Blues whose obvious influences seemed to range from blues legends to classic rock. The group seemed to often musically read and play off of each other. Peppy Parmenter’s white wine-influenced vocals fronted Vermillion’s literally “smokin’” guitar playing solidly supported by Radford’s thrumming bass and Johnson’s backbone percussion.
They even brought on a guest artist or two including Gary James on harp and guitar. It was plain to see the band enjoys what it does. In short, this bar back-alley blues bash had an interesting, initially intimate element that made for a memorable, musical moment.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.