Saturday, August 03, 2013

Hurray For the Riff Raff is FABULOUS at Cafe Nine...

Seinfeld Saturday night at Foxwoods with The Reet, Gene and Bonnie, so better not have a late Friday night, right? Not so fast. I'm committed to get down to Cafe Nine to hear my new favorite band, the currently buzz-worthy Hurray For the Riff Raff, who reportedly killed them at the Newport Folk Festival last week.
(Wikipedia)- Hurray for the Riff Raff is an American country/folk band from New Orleans, Louisiana. Alynda Lee Segarra is Hurray for the Riff Raff's creative force, as she writes and sings all of the band's songs. Alynda ran away from her home in the Bronx, aged 17 and then spent time crossing North America, hopping freight trains. During this time, she became a part of The Dead Man Street Orchestra, who were documented in a photo essay by Time Magazine in 2007. In February 2011, the band were featured in an article in The Times, based around the HBO TV series, Treme, with their track "Daniella" being listed in their selection of New Orleans' essential songs.
Parking, what parking?  I find a lot a couple blocks away for seven bucks, not bad, but I'm wondering how I safely return after midnight (when they let it all hang out).  The ninth square is abuzz with activity as I approach Cafe Nine.  Lots of people milling around outside, music blasting from the parking lot in the rear of the club.  It's already after nine, no band yet; it's going to be a long evening.  I grab a beer at the bar and go up near the stage.  Phone out.  Looking busy.  Finally, the opening act arrives.  Hey, I saw these guys with Chris at some record store in New London on Record Store Day!  Goodnight Blue Moon.  Liked them.
 Goodnight Blue Moon is an  indie-folk band from New Haven, Connecticut that has been playing  together since 2009. Instrumentation includes cello, violin, mandolin, guitar, banjo, upright bass, trumpet, and drums, which support rich  vocal harmonies. With songs that range from americana and bluegrass-based  traditional folk to through-composed and orchestrated pop, Goodnight Blue Moon's style is eclectic, thoughtful, and danceable at the same time.
Goodnight Blue Moon includes guitarist and singer, Erik Elligers (Pencilgrass, Mountain Movers), singer and mandolin player, Mathew Crowley (Dudley Farm String Band), Nancy Matlack Elligers on cello and banjo, Sean Elligers on trumpet and vocals, and Carl Testa (Uncertainty Music Series) on upright bass. The group recently added Vicki Wepler on violin and Nick D'Errico on drums. This latest rendition of the group may get a bit crowded on stage, but the new line-up is the most energetic and full sounding yet.
They are just four tonight, no trumpet, no drums.  Their opening acapela number is stunning, all four parties (two male, two female) harmonizing wonderfully.  The problem is, the females were never to be heard again, to our deteriment, I feel.  Well done, though.

A guy next to me wants to know if I've heard the next guy up before.  Not a dude, I inform him.  Hurray For the Riff Raff is a band, but really a chick from New Orleans.  My new BFF saws no, and points to a tall thin dark-haired gent - Frank Fairfield.  Lots of old time fiddling music, you'll love it, he says.  God damn it, I'm thinking, more waiting!  Frank is okay, in a talented, smirky, understated way, but I'm dying.  He does about a half hour.

The Musicians' Living Room is now sold out.  Nice, and I've got a good spot.  A couple Riff Raff-ters meander onto the stage, start doing stuff, so at least we're close.  I switch to apple cider, served by a woman who can pick up at dropped fiver from the floor without spilling a full tray of drinks.  Not that I'm bored or anything at this point.  Okay, WE are all on stage, tuned, in assigned positions, let's do this!  The slight, 25 year-old Alynda Segarra is surrounded by a lefty bass player, guitarist, and two others, both drummers, one female who also plays fiddle, the other male who plays guitar/harmonica.  And.....they are fantastic!

Segarra mentions seeing all the names in the dressing room of those who have played a nod to Wanda Jackson.  She works her way through some songs familiar to me (I recently bought Look Out Mama, an album of original material, and My Dearest Darkest Neighbor, a project of songs that significantly affected her music).   Look Out Mama, Ode to John and Yoko (John Lennon is her hero) are terrific. Her bandmates are solid, but never intrude - she's the show, and a really good one.  My Little Black Star is sung will a gospel feel to end the show (if I remember correctly).  No encore.  I want more!              

Setting up, finally
Bass player is a lefty
Blurry (camera, not me) view from just to the right of stage
Wrote "Ode to John and Yoko" as tribute to her hero, John Lennon
Pre-concert, gear stacked in the corner.  Says "Riff Raff" on the case.

Clip is not from last night, but so what!If you are smart, you can catch them in New London tonight!

Goodnight Blue Moon

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