Monthly Archives: January 2017

Amazing Lineup! Adam Ray, Bobby Lee, Ali Wong, and more at The Comedy Store

Welcome to the World Famous Comedy Store on Sunset in Hollywood, CA! Adam Ray opens the night and immediately starts working the crowd.  He does his job well and  sets things up for a great night of comedy! Check out his podcast, About Last Night.

Bobby Lee tells a tale to the audience about a man who survived after being stabbed 25 times. “Wow, he must be really fat!” He imagines that after the first stab, the fat man would  say, my back itches. After the second, he would comment, I think a fly is buzzing around me. Then, Bobby says his friend tells him he would never get stabbed 25 times. “After the first one, I’d play dead!” Really? You think you could hold still after being stabbed? Bobby then conjures up a hilarious impression of his friend trying to hold still while getting stabbed.  The audience loves it! See him in the Netflix series Love.

Next up, Ali Wong is welcomed on to the stage with huge applause. Wong says she hasn’t performed much lately, since she just had a child.  Ali tells the audience that she needs to get out every once in a while or she is going to throw her baby in the trash! Now that she is successful, people ask if her husband feels insecure about earning less money. Why? Does he hate free money? Does he miss the pressure to provide for his family? The crowd is eating it up. Be sure to check out her Netflix special, Baby Cobra.

Get tickets now for The Comedy Store!

Quinn Delaney

Disaster! The Last Vig at Zephyr on Melrose (January 23, 2017)

Burt Young, who starred as Paulie in the Rocky films, is now 77 years old. He is the main character in The Last Vig. There’s just one problem. He doesn’t know his lines. So, they gave him an earpiece. Each time he has a line, we see him listen, and then repeat what he hears. This makes for an incredibly slow show. Then, there is an issue with the earpiece and they have to stop the show. It’s a small issue and things are fixed within a few minutes.

After the intermission, Burt is on stage alone at his desk. The voice on the phone starts before he picks it up. Then, he takes the phone and places it to his ear, instead of putting it in the speakerphone device. A few lines in, he forgets his line and they have to stop the play again. After 5 minutes, they come back and try again. At the exact same spot, he forgets his line again. They stop the show. On the 3rd try, he yells out that he can’t hear anything. He throws his earpiece and storms off.

He finally comes back and the audience asks him to just read the script for the rest of the play. However, when he gets up from his desk to move to the middle of the stage, he doesn’t bring the script. He has to keep walking back to his desk to read his next line.

For big fans of Burt Young’s work, it may be worth it to come and see him in person. However, maybe not as seeing him in this play might ruin the reputation he has earned from his past work. Unless, of course, disasters are something you enjoy laughing at while watching. Then, this is definitely the show for you.

The Last Vig is playing until Feb 19th.

Quinn Delaney

 

Unforgettable! The Shadowboxers at Schubas (January 20, 2017)

It was impossible not to move to the electrifying sounds of The Shadowboxers, who played at Schuba’s Tavern on Friday night. In matching white button-down, short sleeve shirts and dark pants, the group of 5 put on a show without a dull moment. It was no surprise that they were discovered by Justin Timberlake, as their vocals and energy channeled that of Mr. Timberlake’s.

However, it is clear their influence goes far beyond Timberlake’s career. Their set began with a chilling vocal harmony similar to the beginning of The Beatles’ “Because.” In the blink of an eye, the song quickly transformed into an upbeat pop-rock song, and without even missing a beat, the audience began dancing along. Swanky, light, and energized, their music was delicious as it floated from the stage into the air. Adam, Matt, and Scott began sliding back and forth across the stage in a synchronized fashion to the tune of their music, all while playing their instruments, it instilled even more enthusiasm in the crowd, and we cheered them on.

Knowing their audience, The Shadowboxers then played a cover of Chance the Rapper’s “All Night.” A catchy song to begin with, the group evolved it even further to fit their style—a 70’s pop version, if you will. Their set continued with extremely impressive vocals, reaching into the falsetto range, and upbeat, jazzy tunes. Some elements of their set were heavier and more soulful, however. At one point, Adam broke into a guitar solo. With the way he closed his eyes and moved his body to his own tune, you would think he was on a deserted planet with his guitar as his only source of entertainment. It reminded me of Jimi Hendrix, who was so in-tune with his guitar that he could play for hours and not even notice that there was anyone else in the room. The bass player, Carlos, had the same effect. Wearing sunglasses in a dark room, I’m not even confident he could see his instrument. Yet, he still laid the foundation for their music phenomenally.

Finally, The Shadowboxers played their newest release, “Build The Beat.” A song about standing up on your own two feet after being knocked down. It uses music as a metaphor to inspire and instill positivity in its listeners. With the lyrics, “I fell like we all do/ and I’ve been lost a time or two/ So I just wanna tell you/ Gotta build the beat back up.” Its message is pure and simple, yet never lacking in importance. It is my personal favorite song of theirs, enjoyment captured in a medley of instruments. Their groovy, silky sound with edgy vocals lifted everyone’s spirits beyond the roof of the building, as if our souls were transformed into clouds. We all ran marathons afterwards… Just kidding.

An encore was of course demanded of the band, and we were not disappointed. Matt, Scott, and Adam, returned to the stage and gave us an acapella tribute to the extraordinary talent that passed on this year. George Michael’s “Faith,” Prince’s “Kiss,” and even Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka’s “Pure Imagination” were all featured in a creative compilation, which also showcased the band’s variety of talents. If it wasn’t perfectly clear earlier in the night, the band has a breadth of knowledge and appreciation for various genres of music, and knows how to put it together smoothly and seamlessly.

From the first few seconds of their show, The Shadowboxers had me. A force of powerful and seductive energy, I was up for hours afterwards raving about them like I was a little girl in 1999 who just went to a Backstreet Boys concert (Sorry, Justin). Seeing The Shadowboxers was unforgettable experience that I will cherish.

Liz Lawson

Bluegrass! The Railsplitters at The Elbo Room (January 18, 2017)

This chilly, rainy Chicago winter night was not a waste if you went to Lincoln Park and saw The Railsplitters at the Elbo Room. A bluegrass band from Boulder, CO, I was expecting some soothing, easy-going music. I, however, was not expecting such soulful storytelling, which made me wish I could speak to Johnny Cash through a Ouija Board. Wherever he is, I’m sure a part of him was in that room on Wednesday night.

The Railsplitters warmed up their fingers and instruments on their tiny stage. The bar was dimly lit, with small red spotlights facing the band. Little riffs of “Oh, He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” spewed out in a joking fashion. I sat there wondering how each musician in this band was going to have enough space to jam out with each of their respective instruments. As their set began, I realized that not only did they play as one band, but they acted as though each one of them were a finger on one hand. And fingers are never spread too far apart!

Their first song was called “Everyone She Meets,” and right away, I was drawn in by lead singer/guitarist Lauren’s voice. Not only beautiful, but haunting and fleeting. Like a feather in the wind, her voice either lifted or fell to each note with grace. The song painted a picture of a girl who was a light in people’s lives—spreading positivity throughout the room.

As their set went on, each finger on the hand was introduced and found some way to display their personality. Each of the band members had a distinct and important contribution to the group, and they were definitely on the same page when it came to music. They played more songs that had the audience yelping and stomping. Another song that stuck out to me was the fiddle player, Joe’s, composition called “To Do.” He introduced the song (roughly) as “what my tiny little peanut brain thinks about the things that women have to go through on a day-to-day basis.” A melancholy tune, the instruments fused phenomenally as Lauren sang, “What’s a girl to think when every man she meets thinks he knows exactly who she should be?”. During the break of the song, the stand-up bass, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitar emphasized the downbeats in unison. This created a stomping sound, implying an almost infuriated sentiment. Even though Lauren sang the song, it was refreshing to know that this statement of empathy came from a man.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

They continued their set with a fully engaged audience. Too soon, however, we reached the end, and The Railsplitters led us out with a bang. Their last song was an old time-y foot-stomper that Dusty, the banjo player, sang along to. His voice was a country-styled holler that pumped energy throughout the bodies in the room. This one made me feel like I was dancing around a campfire in the dead of summer instead of wearing a heavy winter coat. Forgetting our sorrows, we all finished our beers and were magically less tired than we were when we entered the Elbo Room that night.

The Railsplitters have just finished recording their third album. Check them out and get excited for its release.

Liz Lawson

Joyful! Zach Deputy opening for Protoje and Iration at Ventura Theater (January 19, 2017)

Zach Deputy is a one man band that creates big noise! On stage, he holds a guitar while surrounded by looping and sampling gear.  He constructs songs that grow into dense party jams. The crowd at Venture Theater eats it up as they happily dance along to his music style. It isn’t a simple task to describe his musical genre. He declares his music as “Island-infused, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul”. It is also a dance infused jamrock  with flourishes of guitar solos. It’s evident that Deputy is a passionate musician playing on stage. The eclectic rhythm and sounds spreads to the audience making it a great set of joyful music.

zach2

Quinn Delaney

Delightful! 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti at The Broad Stage (January 19, 2017)

Two-time Tony nominee Penny Fuller is delightful as Virginia Carpolotti. Her husband, Ed, just passed away and then the secrets start to reveal themselves. She soon learns that her sweet husband has a lot of debt to a bunch of shady characters. The debt owed is far more than she has in her account.

13-things-2

Penny Fuller is only joined on stage by Paul Greenwood on piano. In one scene, she attempts to talk with him. He simply responds, “I’m not really here.” And it’s true, this is a one woman show and he is only there to play the music. Penny’s performance is graceful and joyous as she plays Virginia searching for solutions to her dilemma. Listen to the songs on Amazon or Apple Music.

Ed’s debt isn’t the only surprise in this show. Some twists and turns keep the audience at full attention for the entire show! Get tickets now for 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti through January 29th!

Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review of 1984 at the Broad Stage.

Fantastic! The New Colony Presents Pyschonaut Librarians at The Den Theatre (January 16, 2017)

[Listen to this original track by Matthew Muñiz while you read the review]

Librarians take acid and travel to the anyverse to battle the Sandman. Yes, it’s as bizarre and crazy as it sounds. This wild adventure is full of laughs and excitement.  It’s a trippy love story about a mother helping her daughter overcome her fears, in another dimension. Also, it’s a World Premier!

psychonautlibrarians-6

The actors are outstanding in this play. Matt Farabee plays Dewey fantastically as a hippy from another world. Jack McCabe plays the Sandman in a perfectly dark and creepy fashion. Morgan McNaught is delightful and hilarious as Rosemary. Carlos Olmedo plays the dorky PJ who can’t pronounce R’s to great comedic effect. Michael Peters as the strict librarian Emmerick had the audience cracking up every time he spoke. David Cerda as Hester was delightfully campy and theatrical.  And finally, Christine Mayland Perkins held it all together as Jane.

The sound design is excellent as well. The original track is “The Love Theme” by Matthew Muñiz  which sets the mood fantastically for a trippy romance. The song that plays after the curtain call is Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes. It’s a perfect fit as the crowd empties the theatre with giant smiles on their faces.

Get tickets now for Pyschonaut Librarians through February 12th!

Quinn Delaney