Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve Festival at The Echo

It was hard to tell what kind of turnout there'd be for The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra's Thanksgiving Eve show on Wednesday, November 26, 2008, hosted by Performer Magazine and at The Echo. My experience of holiday shows only dates back 2 years but I've never even attended a show on Thanksgiving week before, and Christmas has also been deadly, because, I assumed, everyone went out of town. So what was up Wednesday night. Everybody was there!

The place was pretty empty when I walked in, but by the end of the evening The Echo had inhaled and exhaled huge crowds for each band. Obi Best started the festivities with a lilting set of that curious, jazz-infused, calypso-beat pop music exemplified by The Bird and the Bee's Inara George. I wasn't surprised when I was told Alex Lilly has performed with them, but she brings her own style to the genre.

Backed by a terrific band, she sings twisting melodies and smart lyrics in a strong, stylish voice and has an easy stage assurance. Wendy Wang provides beautiful back up and when she and Alex blend their voices it's one sweet sound. Their set provided the perfect opening for the evening's festivities with a swooning, lyrical, highly sophisticated sound. A martini wouldn't have been out of place.

Princeton set up next as everyone moved out back and more and more familiar scenesters kept showing up. I couldn't help but reflect on the last year and all the great people I've met since I took that step from outside observer to blogger and how everything changed at that point. The welcome I've received has pretty much overwhelmed me. That's what Thanksgiving means to me this year. (That, and the fact we're getting rid of George Bush - though the damage will take decades to clean up)

Princeton played a set of their pleasant, Kinks-influenced indie pop and they had the audience hopping around. I've seen them a few times, but they have yet to bowl me over. They play well, have good stage personalities, but their songs just don't grab me. Perhaps over time I'll reconsider, as they do have some strong advocates in the community.

I was so caught up socializing out back that I missed the first number by The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, so I was surprised when I went in and saw a bunch of pilgrims and indians singing Tourbillon songs on stage. I have to admit, with her New England roots, Kelli does look like a pilgrim in her getup. But Aaron as an indian, I'm not so sure.

They played a set that included a bunch of new numbers, every one a good song, and some familiar hits. Kelli and Hunter sang wonderfully together and the whole band gave their all, ending with a couple of covers from my youth, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Reach Out".
Not exactly Thanksgiving songs, unless you're a turkey.
(Insert Sarah Palin/turkey video, here.)

Everyone was extremely festive by this time and I'm afraid I Make This Sound were sacrificed in the activity. There was so much going on outside that I couldn't pull myself back inside to see a band I really liked last time I saw them. Sorry guys, next time I'll do better.

It really was a remarkable night and I think it should become a holiday tradition. It was the highlight of my Thanksgiving 2008.


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